Peninsular’s and Playgroups

Having left the picturesque Robe behind us we headed north hoping for some warmer weather. We decided to base ourselves at Strathalbyn to explore the Fleurieu Peninsular region south of Adelaide.

Touring the entire region in one day was a challenge, so despite the long drive and poor weather we made a few stops to get a feel for the area.

One of the highlights for us was ‘The Whale Centre’ at Victor Harbour. This was one of the first museums the children had ever been to, so what made it for us was the fact that it was an interactive exhibition. One of the most striking features was the massive, and very colourful mural that took up an entire wall for two levels in the main room. We had fun identifying the various fish and other marine life represented in this piece. Kids looking at shells

There were so many senses to use and displays to explore. You could see the pictures and artifacts, touch the shells, sea rocks and corals, hear the recordings of whales and dolphins, and even smell the oils still lingering in the old whale bones. Considering most children have very short attention spans, this exhibition held their interest long enough for us to learn and enjoy it ourselves.

The best bit towards the end was digging for fossils. Each child was given a bucket, spade and brush, and a picture of whale and sea related fossils to ‘excavate’ in the sandpit. This was cleverly situated next to a very interesting shark exhibition and documentary. Although we thought the looping soundtrack of Orbital and The Prodigy didn’t really fit with the seventies shark documentaries.

So this first museum experience now has me looking for the word ‘interactive’ and every museum brochure I have come across for Adelaide.

Speaking of which, our next stop was the capital of the Festival State. Mike and I have only visited Adelaide once before, very briefly and without the children. This time round we stayed at the beautiful Adelaide Shores Big 4 caravan park. It’s situated right next to the beach, and is probably the best caravan park I have ever been to.

We took a bus into Adelaide city centre from the bus stop just outside the caravan park, which took around 40 minutes. The beauty of being in a big city is there is loads to do. We wandered around the Rundle Street Mall for a while, where the children enjoyed the pig statues.Rundle Mall PigI window-shopped. We then took are short walk to the Museum of South Australia, where we enjoyed the animal displays. They had a great interactive Australian Marine section, which held the children’s interest for ages. We also liked the opalised fossils section, which was something uniquely South Australian, and very different to anything we had seen before.

Adelaide also saw our first Playgroup visit to the Dunbar Terrace Kindergarten Playgroup. You can read all about our visit here.

Coby and Rhys on Moonta trainAfter a few days in the state capital, we were off to discover the Yorke Peninsula. For anyone who has young children, they very often get excited by trains, mostly care of Thomas the Tank engine, and Chuggington. Rhys is a huge fan, but has actually has not been on a train since he was a baby. So our arrival in Moonta was well timed as the Moonta Mine train was about to leave on a one hour ride around the old copper mine. This was certainly one of the first trip highlights for Rhys, as the train chugged through tunnels and across the historic precipitation site.

Just a bit of interesting trivia for you; the Moonta mine was registered in 1868, and the yield of copper was around 25% for the first few years. These days, mining companies get excited about any ore that contains more than 1% copper.

Gap Beach

We bush-camped in a place called ‘The Gap’, a free bush/beach camp around 15 km outside of Moonta. Believe it or not, this was our firstKids playing in the sea Australian sunset over water, ever. We packed up the truck and found a nice little spot on an already virtually deserted beach and set up for the evening.

Mike managed to catch an Australian salmon (which was thrown back) while the kids played. With the dinner table set up, we watched the sunset with a BBQ dinner. I took way too many photo’s, trying out different settings on my camera. It was the first of many, I hope.

First Beach Sunset

Unfortunately, we hit our first snag on the road. We had travelled along a lot of unsealed roads throughout the York Peninsula, and somewhere we picked up a old, blunt nail in one of the tyres. Fortunately, we discovered it early, and Mike got the job of changing it for the spare. We got it patched up in Moonta before we headed off up the coast.

So off to Port Augusta, where we will start heading ever westward, starting off with the Eyre Peninsula.

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