Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Sandy Holiday With Friends

On Friday the 9th of March, at around 5am (we had left home at 4am) seven four wheel drive vehicles (containing 7 couples and one child) met between Werribee and Geelong for the long drive to Robe in South Australia, where we planned on spending the entire weekend sand & beach driving, before heading home again on Monday. We had great expectations for the weekend, as we had briefly sampled the delights of Robe and sand driving last year, on our way home from another trip to South Australia with our wonderful friends, Jack and Melinda.

We travelled for a total of around 8 hours, including wee and food stops, before arriving at the lovely caravan park in Robe, which we would call home for the weekend, just after lunch (Melbourne time).

We set ourselves up in our accommodation (we chose to take our camper trailer, as did Dave & Janine, and all the others shared 2 large cabins.)

Just for reference, the couples were ... Baron & Connie (that's us !), Jack & Melinda, Dave & Janine, Keith & Lyndel, Mark & Lizzie & Tory, Michael & Sue, and Terry & Di.

We went for a wander through town, stopping at the Information Centre, the Bakery for bread, and the girls visiting various other shops (including a wonderful patchwork shop ... Nothing caught my eye, so I actually came out empty handed !). I think the boys visited the pub, among other places !!!

After lunch, some of us decided to go for a quick drive out onto the sand ... Sort of a practice run, I suppose !!!

Neko was keen ...

We drove a short way out of town, into the Little Dip Conservation Park, and decided to visit a part of the beach that we had visited last year. Turns out that the beaches and dunes are constantly changing, and this spot, which wasn't too bad last year, had actually become quite difficult for some of the cars !!

Dave and Janine managed to get themselves quite bogged !! This was a lesson for us all, and from then on, we all let down our tyres quite a lot, so that this would not occur too often !!

The beaches are beautiful and rugged around this area ... Absolutely stunning.

After this excitement, we drove for a short while, then returned to camp, where we were having a group cook up for dinner, with everyone having brought along something to share !! First though, drinks and nibbles !!

It was a reasonably early night for all ... It had been a very long day !!

The next morning, we awoke bright and early, as is our norm when camping. It had been a mild night, thank goodness. There was a gorgeous sunrise over the salt lake beside the caravan park. Photo time !!!

We left camp around 9am, and headed down to Beachport, so we could spend the day driving the beaches and dunes back to Robe. By road, this is only a distance of 45km ... But by beach and dune, this was quite a bit more !!
It's quite surprising, some parts of the beach are quiet and peaceful, but others are like being in the middle of the city ... Cars everywhere ... It was quite entertaining !!

We all had orange flags on long poles on our cars, to make it easier to see us when on the dunes.

The weather was amazing, the sights were amazing ... Well, the whole day was amazing !!

We drove lots, only a couple of boggings occurred, nothing serious !!!

One beach near Nora Creina is a nudist beach ... Some of us knew this, but we were all still quite surprised when, as we were driving along the beach, minding our own business, a couple of quite elderly gentlemen were walking very close to the path we were all taking ... they were very naked (just wearing hats on their heads, and presumably lots of sunscreen!), and didn't seem to mind stopping for chats with the cars coming by !! Lizzie promptly covered Tory's young eyes, so she wouldn't be scarred for life at the sight of these wrinkly naked men !!! Very amusing !!!

We found some beautiful spots, and of course, made many stops for photos.

We found a great big open sand dune area ... Time for a play !!

(No, those donut tracks in the sand weren't from our car ... Not a good thing to do with low tyre pressures, as it is very easy to peel the tyre from the rim !)

On with the drive ...

We stopped for lunch at a lovely dune area ... I had pre-heated hot dogs in my Thermal Pot before leaking camp this morning, others brought along the bread and rolls. I love my thermal cooker, it is so very handy !!!

After lunch, more driving !!

We found some amazing dunes, which of course, the guys had to try and climb. Michael made it the highest, getting his front wheels onto the lip of the hill. Our old Nissan didn't do too badly, either !

More driving ... We were having an awesome day !! This is what we came for, and this is exactly what we were doing ... Life is amazing, this is such a gorgeous part of the world !!

This bit of beach was quite challenging for a couple of the cars .. Boggings ensued, with the men going for a jog back to those bogged to help get them moving again !! Whilst waiting on the beach, the traffic arrived ... There must have been about 30 cars waiting, once our cars were through (it is important to let one car go at a time, because it is very easy to lose control of the steering in thick sand, and sometimes the car seems to have a mind of its own !)

We found a very dead stingray on the beach ... Poor thing, looked like it had been tortured :(

Once off this beach, we did a bit more driving, before heading back to the main road, and camp ... It was getting late !!

We returned to camp, intending to go to the pub, or have pizza, or something ... We were all so tired, we just threw together whatever, and had another reasonably early night.

Next morning, we went and did a bit of exploring around Robe.

We got a group photo at the Old Gaol Ruins ...

Then headed to the Obelisk, and beautiful cliff formations.

Neko wanted to drive, but the Nissan was a bit big for him ...

We thought this was a better option ...

We got back into the cars, with the intention of heading to Kingston for some more exploring ... Some of the group had had enough of the sand at this stage, although we hadn't !! As it turned out, 4 of the cars headed to Kingston, whilst 3 of us headed back toward Robe to enter the beach at Long Beach for some more sand driving ... After all, that's why we drove all that way !!

The beach was beautiful, but the day was a bit windy. We found a lovely spot for lunch, and later on another for drinks !!

It was interesting to see speed limit signs on a beach !!

As usual, I love signs, and found this one interesting ... Although it didn't stop the guys from parking on the cliff edge anyway !!

That evening, we headed back out to the Obelisk for some sunset photos ... I took far too many, but that's the magic of digital cameras !!

We headed into town for dinner, ending up in a yummy pizza restaurant. Then back to camp, to rest, ready for the big drive home on Monday.

It was a fantastic weekend, thank you to everyone who shared it with us. I would quite happily go back to Robe anytime, and do it all over again ... There is something so special about the coastline near Robe ... In fact, this whole country is amazing, and we are very lucky to have the ability and machinery to enjoy it all !!

Thanks for reading, hope I haven't rambled on for too long.

Ta ta for now ...

Connie xxx

Location:Robe, South Australia