Since Adelaide we’ve ridden five days southward around Lake Alexandrina and Albert through interesting and changing country. We’ve been camping all the way and have escaped the wetness of the city to sunny weather with windy days and much colder nights, reminiscent of our first camping days after we left Sydney. We are much further south which explains the chill in the weather but we’d thought it would be warmer after a month of travel. The roadside Wattle Trees are yet to flower to their full yellow exuberance where as further north, in the fruit fields around Waikerie where we recently stayed with Dan, they are in full bloom.
We’re seated in the Nelson Hotel Pub in Nelson, established in 1855, after a lazy rest day having ridden only 43km from Mt Gambier to the coast. Dinner has been vegetable soups and ‘Spag Bol’ and Sausages and Mash followed by Sticky Date Pudding and Banana Fritters. Drinks were Coopers Pale Ale and a Gin and Tonic followed by a bottle of 2012 Mother of Pearl Shiraz From the Coonawarra. We can eat a lot and it’s not always pies.
The pub is full as it’s a Friday evening, lots of drinkers and fishermen, the latter down for the weekend to try their luck on the Glenelg River as it twists around the town towards the sea. Here it slows as the waters are temporarily stopped behind the beach’s sand dunes before exiting into the sea. The town is tiny. There is nothing more than the pub, a shop, an information centre and a campsite where we are staying overlooking the river’s broadening estuary as it twists into the Southern Ocean. There are holiday homes dotted along the small lane off the main road and big tall pine trees lining the shore to the river.
As we rode here we detoured to visit the Piccaninnie Ponds where underground fresh water surfaces close to the sea in crystalline ponds up to 110m deep formed by volcanic activity and local limestone geology. We pedalled down a dirt road passing fields of cattle and huge pines into dunes to the ponds which are jewel like with crystal clear waters where we could see deep into the water’s depths below. We ate sandwiches on the sands nearby, looking over the scrubby foreshore abutting the beach which was largely submerged by the high tide and big southern rollers crashing into the shore. The late afternoon sun kept coming and going, catching in the distance the sea’s spray as it hung in the air across the coastline.