Right down in the bottom left hand corner of this large continent is South Australia. The people here are proud Australians, and even prouder South Australians. Here, products are South Australian made first and foremost. If they don’t make it or grow it, then it will be Australian made.
We were a bit nervous as we had to face our first border crossing. On our map some of the crossings were marked with warning signs about fruit fly and not taking fruit and vegetables into the southern state. However, where we were crossing on the A8. There was no such warning on the map so we thought it must be a fruit fly safe zone. As we drove closer to the border, the warning signs started to appear including severe torture, incarceration and hefty fines. We took the hefty fines seriously and pulled over for lunch. As it happened, our fruit and vegie stock was down and we had intended to be doing a top up in Border Town. We consumed the last of our fruit, cooked up the vegies (six pre-packaged meal portions of potatoes ready for chips on the barbie and potato salad). The garlic and ginger I infused in olive oil for stir fries. I still had carrots and baby spinach left over after lunch but they were in sealed bags, so we thought they would be alright, but we didn’t know. I froze the last of the onion and lemon.
The next sign said we should know, and to get rid of all fruit and vegetables, so after weighing up the dire consequences and hefty instant fine, we decided to bin these in the last, final opportunity – you have been warned. At Border Town, we purchased new, fresh fruit and vegetables and topped up the rest of our supplies. We then wondered if we were caught with this fresh supply of South Australian grown produce, would we still be fined. The answer is yes. We needed to retain our dockets to prove that we had purchased these fine products in South Australia. We were left wondering how the fruit fly knows to screech to a halt at the border and not cross into South Australia.
Our stop over for the night is the little town of Mundulla. It turned out to be the A&P showgrounds and sports grounds. We needed to be out before the sports began, and car loads of giggling netballers quickly moved into our camping spot (one of the few places out from under the trees, to keep us safe from random falling of branches – apparently this can happen without wind, as the trees rot out from the inside out). The main grounds were laid out for Aussie Rules football, which is very popular down here in the South. It hasn’t taken on so much further north yet. We had thought of staying to watch the game and get an understanding of the rules, but with all the other vehicles, there wasn’t much room so we decided it was time to move on. We would learn about this game another day.
We had our first encounter with the great Murray River at Tailem Bend. We parked down near the river to eat our lunch and watch the ferry cross back and forth. The operator invited us to take a ride. There are about eight ferry’s operating on the river 24/7 smoothly shifting vehicles across the Murray avoiding the need to travel too far out of your way to cross at a bridge. The ferry’s operate on a cable system and it seems to be a very efficient way of moving traffic.
We continued up the river to Murray Bridge (yes, there’s a bridge here – the first one built on the Murray River). We stayed for a couple of nights to explore the Adelaide Hills, in particular Hahndorf Village
This is where German settlers made their home and some of the buildings still reflect the architecture and culture they brought with them. The main street is narrow and tree-lined looking splendid in her autumnal colour and reminding us very much of Arrowtown in New Zealand’s South Island. The trees also add something special to the atmosphere of the township.
Until the freeway was built, the A8 with its big trucks roared through the narrow main street. Today crossing the road is hazardous enough with drivers looking for parking. We ended up parking at the northern end of town, which worked great, walking up one side and down the other of the main street. We spent quite a bit of time in the clock shop, filled to the brim, not only of souveniers, but also parts for the beautiful clocks. Alas, one wouldn’t really work in the motorhome and we had to leave them all behind. With apple strudel and sausages in our belly’s and goodies to nibble on later, we headed back to the showgrounds camp at Murray Bridge.
It was here, we discovered we had a mouse so the first order of the day was to buy a mousetrap. This proved harder than we imagined. It turns out that with the gathering of the crops and the burning of the stubble, along with the cooler weather, Murray Bridge was under a mouse invasion and all the mousetraps had been sold. We eventually located one in the Big W, unfortunately for the mouse, it wasn’t the catch and release outside one we had intended to buy.
Now, I have to confess that I am terrified of mice. You can imagine that family and friends, knowing my fear, gave me quite a hard time about coming to Australia with all its lethal wild life. I’m not afraid of spiders or mossies, even knowing that they could do me more harm than a mouse. I know that the mouse is more scared of me than I am of it, and that it will stay out of my way. All this head knowledge doesn’t help my fear. So, I bravely worked on our blog, planning our trip around the Barossa Valley only to discover that sitting behind me (probably shaking in its wee boots) all day was the invader mouse. I just about fainted when I saw it take a flying leap from the seat I vacated about 10 minutes earlier. As it ran under the drivers seat, three baby mice came running out from under the passenger seat, and then running back as their mother sent them back to safety.
We never caught the baby mice. I don’t know if their mum moved them before we evacuated her or not, and it did disturb my sleep thinking of those poor wee babies dying of starvation. I know, I’m a very mixed up individual.
Two Kiwi's who have retired early to travel the world. Share our journey with us.