11. East SA

Lake George

After leaving the town of Robe, I continued on along the Princes Highway to Beachport. Along the way I stopped to take a look at the Woakwine Cutting. It is a 1km long cutting through a hill that a farmer made in order to drain a swamp. Initially I wondered how it would be worth it, but on looking further up the road, you can see a vast plain of fertile soil.

The area around Lake George is mainly farming country, with a slightly scrubby coastal feel. One surprising find I made was an access onto the beach at lake George. The lake level was low at the time, and had left a large plain of hard compacted sand.

Cattle, Lake George
Beach, Lake George


Beachport was a surprise for me. On entering the town it was all rather unassuming and just a small coastal town. There's a beach on the way in, and a jetty, but the main attraction is over the far side of the town. From the lighthouse onward, there is a more rugged rock coastline with a number of beaches and bays. A marked “tourist drive” passes near most of the attractions, and in good weather it is worthy of spending some time there.

Out past the lighthouse, the walking track extends out to the sandhills. Beyond that there is clear-looking ocean water, indicating a fairly shallow and sandy bottom. That, together with the islands, makes for a picturesque scene.

Following the coast around to the West, there are a number of beaches and rock outcrops. At this one ,there were a number of plants just managing to survive among the red rock.

Just over the rise is this rather alien looking landscape. The blue of the water in the cove and abrupt shape of the dunes makes for unique scene.

After spending all the time at Beachport, I was again running behind schedule, and so just stayed with the main road on to Mt Gambier. It is a fair detour out to the coast in this region, but the map shows places with “rocks” and “caves” in the names, so it sounds like it could be kind of interesting.

Mt Gambier

I really didn't have much of an idea of what to expect at Mt Gambier. I was just expecting a presence of the trucking industry and somewhere a prominent mountain. Well, the trucking industry was in evidence, but I didn't really come across a real mountain of Mt Gambier. What I did find though, is this: the Blue Lake.

Blue Lake, Mt Gambier
I've been to places before that have been advertised as a “blue lake”, and generally been rather underwhelmed. Granted, this can vary a lot depending on the sky, but this blue lake was indeed something out of the ordinary.

It is the result of geologically fairly recent volcanic activity, leaving a deep crater that fills with water. I had clear skies for my visit, and that blue was a real jump-in-your-face kind of blue.

Mt Gambier also has some other interesting things going on, like a sinkhole right in the middle of the town, and some caves that can be visited.

The coastal area around the border of South Australia and Victoria is full of pine plantations. There are lots and lots of these carbon sinks growing up for people to cut up into little bits and make things like houses out of them. Or, as I suspect is more the case, grind up into a pulp and make toilet paper. Before coming to the plantations I saw a Kimberly-Clark factory right in the middle of nowhere, and wondered, “what is that doing there”, but after the plantations appeared, it all fell into place.