Thursday, April 26, 2012

Penola and Naracoorte

Temporarily leaving Mount Gambier behind we ventured north to Penola, the gateway to the Coonawarra Wine Region of South Australia. The Coonawarra region produces superb red wine grapes, some say the best in the world. This is due to Terra-Rossa soil type and the semi arid cool climate. Gary and Ann Trotter, "prick-relations" of ours have a winery in the region called "The Blok", only 2.5 km north of Penola. We managed to secure o dozen of the most delightful 'Reds' you could imagine. Pity the caravan park experience was a complete let down. This caravan park is not at all representative of the town of Penola or the area at large.

While in the area we ventured north to Naracoorte, a neighbouring town, that is home to an Heritage Listed Underground Cave System. We took a guided tour through the "Victoria Cave", which in fact is only a very small part of the entire cave system. What we did discover though were fossils from ancient animals that had become trapped in the caves during the period 500,000 through to 230,000 years ago. We were also able to partake in a self guided tour of 'The Wet Cave'.

Our plan now is to return to Mount Gambier where we have the caravan booked-in with the Jayco Dealer for some small maintenance procedures.

There are many sink-holes throughout the limestone region of South East South Australia but the sink-holes in this area open into a vast underground cavern.

This is the interior of the "Wet Cave".

Still in the "Wet Cave" the area is large enough that you could easily live down there.

Apparently this is one of the animals that once roamed this area. Now he/she is stationary in the Picnic Area. Needn't fear this one it's only a leaf eater.

This is the Information Centre for the Naracoorte Caves Conservation Park.

The Guided Tour of 'Victoria Cave' was divided into two distinct zones. The first section was all 'Stalactites' and 'Stalagmites' in vast array of formations. This is just one of the many we were shown.

The second section of the Victoria Cave was much deeper and is the resting place of at least 100 different species of ancient fossilised remains that are complete and in very good condition as you can see by this skeleton of a Marsupial Lion.

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