Road trip across Australia -Day 7 Mt Gambier

We left Adelaide, but didn’t travel too far – about 15 minutes from Hawthorndene to Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.
We were in Hahndorf to visit the Lions Hearing Dog training Centre, to see where Tyson, our daughter’s Lions hearing Dog was trained, and to visit Mary, Tyson’s trainer, with whom we have become friends.
Mary met us as soon as we arrived, and Tyson recognised her straight away – after all she spent about nine months training him, so there were plenty of licks from him.
It was great to visit the place where Tyson was trained because he has had such a fantastic impact on my daughter’s life. The Centre has a large training room where groups are invited to see hearing dogs in training and to learn about the role of the hearing dog and the type of tasks that they carry out for hearing impaired people.
We were taken into another part of the centre, which is set up as a house, so that the hearing dogs can become familiar with the various rooms of a house, and their functions, particular with regard to how they can make their owners aware of what is happening in the house by responding to the noises that are made (such as doorbells, oven timers, smoke alarms, door knocking, etc.).
We also saw the dogs’ kennels and their play areas and were impressed by the conditions under which the Lions Hearing Dogs live during their training.
Following our visit to the Centre we had a look at the town of Hahndorf, which has many historic buildings, lots of restaurants, and interesting shops plus an excellent bakery where we just had to purchase delicious pastries for later in the day.
From Hahndorf, we headed to the town of Keith, about two hours southeast of Adelaide.
We wanted to visit Keith simply because that is out son’s name, and we thought we should send a postcard to Keith from Keith. The town of Keith seems to be a fairly prosperous rural town, but it was in mourning the day we arrived as a local man and his three children had been killed in a road accident near the town of Padthaway, which was next on out travels.
Our overnight destination was to be Mt Gambier, about a two hour drive from Keith, and just over half way we did pass through Padthaway, but saw no signs of the accident there.
Padthaway is a well-known wine growing region, and we seemed to drive passed many hundreds of hectares of vines, with the vineyards carrying the names of some of Australia’s best known wineries: Lindeman’s Penfolds, Seppelts and Orlando.
The next major town we arrived at was Penola, which was closer to South Australia’s Limestone Coast.
This too is a great wine region, and we drove past dozens of wineries, some of which were well known brands.
However, the best known brand to come out of Penola was Saint Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first saint. She was based on Penola for a few years where she began her own order of nuns called the Sisters of St Joseph. There are a lot of hotels in Penola as the town attracts about equal numbers of wine lovers and pilgrims following the St Mary MacKillop Trail.
By the time we left Penola it was getting quite dark and a storm was brewing.
Admittedly it is winter, but there is something dark and gloomy about Mt Gambier. In fact, occupying a prime position on the hill overlooking Mt Gambier is an eyesore of a dilapidated multi-storey building which, I assume, is a disused hospital. It’s as if they’ve left Norman Bates, of Psycho fame, in charge of public buildings, so he’s made them as gloomy as he possibly can.
I’ve been there a few times, but have never seen it on a sunny day. We did find a good motel, though, which h was warm and cosy despite the cold rainy night.

1 comment to Road trip across Australia -Day 7 Mt Gambier

  • Thank you for your comments about my motel.
    The best time of year to visit Mount Gambier is February and March. The Blue lake is at it’s very best. What is not so well known is we also have the “Little Blue Lake”.
    It is located about 20Km South of Mount Gambier and turns blue just like the famous Blue Lake, but unlike it’s well known counterpart, because the Little Blue Lake is not a source for fresh water for the local residents, you can actually walk right up to the edge and dip your toes in it if you want.

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