Metro Cafe Mt Gambier has über cool barista

We lunched at the Metro Cafe, Mt Gambier. The food and service were both great and we were impressed with the creative hairstyle of one of the staff. He explained that it was Japanese influenced.

We also walked round Valley Lake and Blue Lake. The colour difference was subtle – you be the judge.

Mt Gambier also has substantial C19 buildings of the local dolomite and a sunken garden with cave.

Meet Johnny Green, a fire engine and a house if you are poor and sober

Today we did the rest of the Burra passport, first returning to the copper mine, where we photographed Johnny Green, who has been the mine’s mascot since its inception in 1847. He now stands proudly on a chimney moved to the entrance of the Monster Mine.

The town is actually an amalgam of several mining villages and ruins abound, like these old stables.

In order to avoid rent, some of the miners chose to live in dugouts that they had made. This was fine till the river flooded and washed most away. A few have been conserved by the National Trust.

David used the passport key that we were provided with to access the police lock-up.

There was a very fine fire engine in the Bon Accord museum.

But if you were poor AND sober, you could live in one of the pretty cottages that was provided.

We ended the tour of Burra, which had a copper rush that predates Victoria’s gold rush, with a walk along the pretty pond that has been formed along the creek.


Coober Pedy opal capital of the world

We did a five-hour tour of Coober Pedy today, seeing this opal town in the desert, with its mines, underground homes and churches. They live this way for protection from the harsh elements.

We toured an opal mine and drove past the mullock heaps to colourful natural sandstone formations known as The Breakaways and out across the desert plains, with swirls of wildflowers in the slight indentations where water occasionally pooled.

Movies used to be made here and a flying saucer used in a movie called Pitch Black is in the centre of town.









Winchester is OLD – and has cute canines

We awoke to the tune of cathedral bells and sunshine. While the “new” cathedral was commenced in 1000AD, replacing the old version, and the Wolvesey Castle, home of Bishop Henry Le Bois was only a couple of hundred years younger, the pedestrian mall was thumpin’, with buskers and shoppers having coffee after returning from the farmers’ market laden with veggies. With cousin Trish as guide, we drove to the Mayfly pub inthe riverside at the village of Letchford. After a yummy lunch, David and I left Trish and headed along the South Downs Way, where the ripening wheat caught the sunlight. A letterbox remained from Queen Victoria’s days and a friendly dog watched from a stone wall above us.








Cirencester hare, Welsh saint and novel planters

We spent last night in Cirencester, where David’s grandparents lived. The signs of the March Hare festival are still evident. This town was a capital in roman times and a mosaic featuring a hare has been unearthed, hence the theme. The parish church is huge, financed by the strength of the wool trade in medieval times. Near or hotel was a building with overhanging first storey dating from the fifteenth century. We drove in the rain to the Welsh town of Abergavenny which has a wooden tomb to St Jesse in St Mary’s Priory. This afternoon we got drenched walking around the town of Llandovery, where the YMCA had plants sprouting out of stuffed denim jeans sitting on the seat outside – they were certainly getting watered! We are now round the fire in a cosy B & B.







Through the primeval forest from Steep to Hawkley

After a chance encounter (in a coffee shop) with the proprietor of a bed and breakfast at Petersfield meant that our accommodation was sorted, we checked into the tourist information office for a map,and were given a brochure on a walk called Hangers Way. We decided to tackle the 5.5km section from the villages of Steep to Hawkley. This took us through remnant oak forest complete with old farmhouses, orchids, ducks, a pretty waterfall and friendly donkey. The Hawkley publican was welcoming and we enjoyed a beer and elderberry juice to brace ourselves for the return journey. This part of Hampshire is well worth visiting for its unspoilt natural values.