With the sun forecast to be shining on the south coast, what better way to spend the Easter Break than on the South Australian coastline! Unlike most of our other trips to the area that are based around casual exploring and taking it easy outdoors, this time, we had been invited to go along on a four wheel drive trip through the sand dunes and along the beaches in the south-east of the state, so we had some faster-paced plans ahead of us for this trip.
Bright and early on Easter Friday, we packed the car and headed for SA, although with time not being of a concern, we took the coastal route, going past Warrnambool, Portland, Port Fairy, Nelson and then over to our beach accommodation at Eight Mile Creek.
We went inland from Geelong to Warrnambool, where the Great Ocean Road ends, although we love traveling the Great Ocean Road, it’s one of the busiest times of the year and we’ve been along there countless times, so we skipped this section. The road stops in at a bunch of small towns, so we ended up taking about half-a-dozen breaks for short walks and a bit of skateboarding.
We’re going to come back here in the second half of 2021 and set up camp in Port Fairy so that we can spend a few days exploring the area, which surely still won’t be long enough. Either way, stay tuned for when we do as we’ll have so much to share with you then!
Just as the sun was setting, we arrived at one of favourite places on earth, the shack (please get in contact if you want to book this accommodation, we’re very close with the owner and will let Mum know that you’re a friend :p ).
Hitting the dunes!
Saturday morning greeted us with calm weather and a hot sun, perfect conditions for heading into the sand dunes. We drove into Mount Gambier and met up with Chris Gazzard from Carlin & Gazzard, he was waiting in town for us, along with five other Four-wheel-drives that were ready for some action!
All six vehicles convoyed to coastline just near Millicent, then began the off-road adventure at Canunda.
We were all in this vehicle for the first time, so it took us four goes to get up the first dune, then we didn’t have much of an issue with our 4WD for the rest of the day, although only minutes after making the first climb, one of the blokes got so severely bogged that he broke his vehicles CV Joint, lost power to the front wheels and had to pull out of the rest of the trip.
The remaining five vehicles in the convoy soldiered on. It was a tricky drive, navigating our way through the dunes on the weaving tracks until we made it to South End, where we then cruised along the beach at pace for about 20 minutes until reaching Beachport where two more vehicles pulled out before the going got tough from Beachport to Nora Creina (they weren’t being totally weak, the Gambier Hotel was calling their names).
One of the guys on the trip happened to have a beach house in Beachport, so we called in there for a lunch break and then got back into it, but this next section had steeper climbs and softer sand, so we braced ourselves for a bumpy ride.
We got bogged another couple of times between Beachport and Nora Creina, but with a brand new Jeep Gladiator leading the convoy, it never took long to get dragged out of the sand. As we arrived at Nora Creina, we didn’t expect to see too many people as the whole area used to be private land and it doesn’t yet seem to be on too many radars, although it was a great little surprise when we got there and saw dozens of vehicles and lots people all over the beach.
After a quick break and a beer, it was starting to get pretty late. Instead of following the dunes to Robe, we took the bitumen and went to the Robe Pub for some dinner and live music, before heading back to Mount Gambier and calling it a day.
What an unbeatable way to see South Australia’s incredible coast line on a hot a day! Thanks so much to Chris for taking us on this adventure!
Sunday rolled around and we were still feeling quite adventurous. The last couple of times that we were in the area, we went snorkeling at Ewens Ponds, which is only a few minutes from the shack, although this time we headed towards Nelson for about 10-15 minutes and explored Piccaninnie Ponds, where we have never entered the water before.
We spent about 45 minutes in the water, just paddling around looking for Eels, we didn’t see any, but it was a lot fun taking a look at schools of small fish looking for food and floating above a huge cave that’s apparently over 100 metres deep.
Once we had thawed out and warmed up, we spent the rest of our time in South Australia back at the shack. Not long after having a hot shower, a bunch of our relatives arrived with a caravan, camper trailer trailer and a few bottles of wine. We enjoyed the rest of our Easter break with the extended family and then made our way back to Geelong via the coast.
It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend a hot few days than exploring some beaches along the rugged and sandy south-east coast of South Australia, a big thanks to all of those that provided the accommodation, vehicles and company over the long weekend!