We packed up camp after enjoying out nice plantation site for a few days and headed back into Mt-G one last time and then out north-ish on the Riddoch Highway through the vineyards of the Coonawarra trying to spot winery names we knew – not sure many sold our trusty camping wine casks at the cellar door though. We pushed on towards Naracoorte stopping at the caves which are recognised as World Heritage for their enormous fossil collection. We grabbed some lunch and did a tour through the information centre which is great for kids with mechanical creatures showing what animals used to raom the countryside. They move and growl and the boys were given torches to explore and tight tunnels had to be crawled through. Out of the centre we walked quickly through the blaring midday heat to the entrance of the “Stick Tomato Cave”. As we descended the temperature became so nice and cool and being the only people in the cave we decided to take out time and enjoy the natural air conditioning. We looped around to some other caves that had bat colonies and one that has orchestras and carols nights. Most of them were locked or you had to arrange tours but from the surface you could get a glimpse down through the entrances.
We headed into Naracoorte and the first stop was the swimming lake which is basically the size of five Olympic swimming pools all built as one big pool with little jetties and even a sandy beach. It was very nice and the adjoining school made good use of it for swimming lessons. The Big4 caravan park was next door and we were close to booking in for the night but decided to have a drive around and see what options there were. No reserves or other free camping became apparent but as we went through town we saw the showground – often a good camp in these country towns for reasonable prices. A group of caravans were in there and we drove in and got a great campsite for well less than half the price of the Big4. Nice people, lush lawns perfect for camping aand an easy walk maybe 400 metres into town. Just as we got set up the man in the nearest caravan was driving out past us and stopped to tell us his small washing machine was set up next to his van and we were welcome to use it. And that we did – instead of $3 or $4 a load in a laundromat we did two loads for free and the nice dry air dried the clothes so quickly. Nice gesture from a nice bloke. And the bean-counter had a content smile on her face.