Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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29 June 2012 - Mannum to Goolwa
Rain began falling just after sunrise so packing up and connecting the caravan was done in intermittent rain which continued as we drove through Mannum and out on the Adelaide Road. The scene was grey and wet as we turned onto the Murray Bridge Road on the way to Goolwa. This was cropping country, mostly dry-land farming without irrigation but we did pass some irrigation spray rigs including one centre-pivot spray. Traffic was very light; a total of three or four other vehicles passed before we reached Murray Bridge.

In Murray Bridge we followed the heavy vehicle bypass around the main part of town onto the Princes Highway which took us to the South-east Freeway heading towards Adelaide. The rain had stopped by now and the sun shone as we made our way along the nearly deserted freeway to the turnoff to Strathalbyn.

South of the Freeway the road to Strathalbyn continued through mainly cropping country with an increasing number of sheep, and even a few herds of beef cattle grazing in paddocks. A dark grey and menacing bank of cloud threatened ahead and we entered it just as we reached Strathalbyn but only a little rain fell before we were through to less threatening sky. Judging by the water lying on paddocks there had been quite a lot of rain overnight; at one point a sheet of water two to three centimetres deep was running across the road.

From Strathalbyn to Goolwa land use diversified. Cattle, horses, alpacas and sheep continued but now there were olive trees in some number, enough for an olive oil plant to have been built. Vineyards also became a feature of the landscape, with associated cellar doors. Surprisingly, in this more settled area, groups of white winged coughs were fairly common foraging across the ground, including over the road. These look a little like crows or ravens but move more rapidly in more dispersed groups and have a longer tail with a longer, curved beak. The really certain identification feature is the underwing white panels exposed when they decide that running is not fast enough and take off to fly two or three metres.

Rain was falling, again, as we entered Goolwa. We drove along the shopping street then turned along the road to the selected caravan park where we checked in for four nights.

After disconnecting we drove into Goolwa for a look around. We had stayed at Port Elliot a few kilometres away some years ago and had frequently visited Goolwa so we were interested in any changes. A new shopping centre was one change. This was on the edge of town and will, inevitably, draw business away from longer established shops. Having the Post Office in the new centre, as well as several automatic teller machines, ensures residents and visitors will go to the new shops.

We collected our mail at the Post Office without incident. All mail to our home address is diverted by Australia Post to Landbase at Gosford in New South Wales. Jan at Landbase holds our mail until I e-mail her with an address (including postcode) for the mail she holds; this is care of a post office in the town we plan to reach in one or two weeks. Jan puts our mail in an envelope addressed to us with "Please Hold For Collection" clearly marked and it is collected from her office by Australia Post at about 1:30 in the afternoon. On this occasion the mail had been sent from Gosford on Monday 25 June and arrived at Goolwa on Thursday 28 June. The mail transit time for more distant parts of Australia is longer and must be taken into account when deciding where to have mail sent. Australia Post holds mail addressed C/O Post Office for 30 days; if not then collected it is returned to the sender.

Surprisingly, for many reasons, mail forwarding had been a problem while travelling. But using Landbase means we don't have to worry about our mail not being forwarded. Too often when we do get the mail it is mostly junk and goes straight into the bin without being opened. But important mail gets to us.

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