We Score the Trifecta

December 31

Today we scored a trifecta …run, ride and roam! We even did it in the right order too!

We had an early start because we discovered that Victor Harbor has a Parkrun, so I’d better do that while I’m here. For those not familiar, Parkrun is a 5km run or walk that’s held every Saturday morning all over the world. It was started in England and has become a worldwide event now. Not a race. Not competitive. A run, or walk if you’d prefer, with the goal to have fun, meet other folk and achieve personal goals if that’s your thing, all organised and run by volunteers. Parkruns are great! If there’s one near you, hop on the Parkrun website, register and give it a go, whether you run or stroll. All ages do it, from little tackers to older folk and dogs on leads are welcome too! We headed into Victor Harbor for the start and it was a big one! Heaps of people! The Run Director was giving the briefing at the start, explaining where to go and the pre-run info and she asked who was from Victor Harbor. A tiny smattering of hands went up. Then she asked who was from South Australia. A few more hands went up. “Who’s here from interstate?” she asked. Nearly all the hands went up and we all had a laugh. Us visitors and interlopers were swelling the numbers! “Anyone from overseas,” she asked. Yep, some hands went up for that too! I got chatting to a woman at the start who was from Victoria. “I thought I’d do this one, to get my V for the Parkrun Alphabet,” she said. She’s trying to do a Parkrun in different places that start with different letters of the alphabet to get her A-Z. A great way to experience new places! We all set off for the out and back 5km along the walking path beside the beach. It was a top place for a run, with a nice sea breeze too. There were some seriously fast people. speeding along, including the leading fella flying while pushing a pram. There were also two fellas running backwards in wetsuits! Steve wondered if there was a world record for Parkrun done in a wetsuit running backwards. I said there probably is and if there isn’t, then two fellas at Victor Harbor probably just set one! It was a bit of fun to start the day and it turned out there were 278 runners! Amazing.

All set for Parkrun and what a view along the way

Shower and breakfast and we headed back into Victor Harbor again to hire some bikes and go for a pedal along the Encounter Bikeway. When we got to the bike store, the only bikes they had to fit us, needing both a giant one and a pee-wee one, were…wait for it…e-bikes! Today we were going to join the ranks of the e-brigade! We would be humming along, like so many people who pass us! This would be an experience!

Ready for another pedal

We tootled along the path and it was a nice place for a ride. The Encounter Bikeway is on a mixture of off-road cycle / walking path and on road in quiet sections of suburban streets, so no real traffic. We had the ocean beside us and we wheeled along, getting used to a very different bike indeed. I can report, I did not bond with my bike. Very heavy. Very awkward. Yes, you could ramp up the “assistance mode” and it would power up a hill, but that just felt like riding a scooter. Yeah…nah.

Up a slope and past a McMansion e-assisted

We stopped for elevenses in Port Elliott under a Moreton Bay Fig tree that was planted in 1879. Still there. Still spreading its lovely huge roots. Still giving shade to passing folk such as us. Marvellous. We were beside the little train station and watched the Cockle Train arrive, which travels on the oldest steel railed railway in Australia. It runs as a tourist train, taking people along the coast from Victor Harbor to Goolwa and back, which is exactly where our ride was taking us.

Our spot under the fig tree
Elevenses by the train station
The Cockle Train arriving with a puff of steam
Some “olden days” charm in Port Elliott

Port Elliott was bustling with people, but people still had a smile and a “hello” as we passed, whether walkers or other people on bikes. We pedalled back up to the path and took in views along the beach and saw a bit of history in the ruins of the Harbour Master’s Cottage from 1852 and an obelisk, also from 1852, that was erected as a guide to shipping because it could be seen 10 miles out to sea and a blue flag would fly if the channel was unsafe.

Something to help the sailors
Even so, there seemed to be a lot of shipwrecks

We kept pedalling along the flat path and then passed the remains of a homestead, with some ruins still there. The remains of the dairy and a trough and the chicken shed were there. It was the remains of “Pleasant Banks”, the Basham Family farm. William Basham’s father was transported to Tasmania from England as a convict in 1813 for being in possession of a forged banknote. His family came out as free settlers and then moved from Tasmania to South Australia and moved into this homestead in 1857. I do like it when we can get some history of the places we visit. I like to learn the stories of the places we see. Shame though, once again, nothing to be seen of First Nations’ stories. It still appears as if our history only started when the British arrived, missing the 60,000 years of people’s history that pre-dated that. I’d like to be given more of those stories and that history too.

Remains of the homestead

We kept pedalling along the path, reached the end at Goolwa and turned around to pedal back, still enjoying the views along the coast, the sea air and being gobsmacked at the enormous size of the McMansions that lined the path, looking out to sea. Location. Location. Location for sure. We returned the bikes after our very pleasant 32km ride, but I am certainly not an e-bike convert. Maybe one day, if I absolutely have to, but I much rather my normal little bike. I’ll cancel my membership of Team-e after just the one outing thank you.

Goolwa beach

We drove back into Goolwa for a better look and to pick up some lunch. A little bakery had a lot of vegan options, so we treated ourselves to a vegan pie and even a vegan donut, just to push the boat out and sat down at the wharf for some shade and a cool breeze.

Lunch in the sun…
…watching the boats sail by

We roamed around the historic wharf and discovered the paddle steamer Oscar W, that also had a story to tell. In 1885, an 18 year old Swedish chap, named Frans Oscar Wallin jumped ship in Sydney and headed west to avoid the authorities. He was trained in the Royal Swedish Navy, so put his skills to good use finding work on the streamers that carried cargo along the River Murray. He became a steamer captain and then began buying his own boats and accumulated his own fleet of cargo paddle steamers. In 1897 he married Diana and they had a son, Oscar William. In 1908, the paddle steamer Oscar W was launched down the slip way, named after his son and Frans captained her. In 1914, as we know, World War broke out and young Oscar joined up. Then…tragedy. Oscar was killed in 1917 at the battle of Polygon Wood. So here sits still, the paddle steamer that still bears his name. It was a little poignant because my grandfather’s battalion fought at Polygon Wood and Steve and I visited there on the bikes when we were cycling through Belgium. There’s a cemetery and memorial there for the Australian and New Zealand troops that fought there in WWI.

The Oscar W

After a stroll along the wharf, we hopped back in the car and drove over the bridge to Hindmarsh Island where we went up to the Mouth of the Murray, where the river meets the sea. They’re dredging to clear the sand because drought has meant reduced flow of the river and sand has built up. If the Murray Mouth closes, it will hugely affect the Coorong and its environment, estuary and wetlands and the birdlife and fish species that live there. We walked along the lovely warm sand and looked out at the water. It was actually a bit moving, just looking at it, this vast stretch of water that’s so important and yet needs saving.

Taking a paddle at the Mouth of the Murray

Our last tootle in the car was to another piece of water, as we headed inland to Hindmarsh Falls. It was the first time we drove into a car park and had it to ourselves, no one else there. It was just a short walk down to the falls and they were…well…sort of mini falls I suppose. Not exactly a raging cascade shouting “look at me, look at me, aren’t I grand”, it was more of a small, quiet achiever. The humble little waterfall at the party. It was still nice though and a peaceful spot to stand and listen to the water tumble down, even if there was no real waterfall fanfare.

Only a little one but still nice

So that was that. Another day down, with some places explored, some stories told and history learned. A day of the complete trio…a nice run…followed by a pleasant ride and then an interesting roam here and there. Terrific. Tomorrow we move on. Don’t know where yet, but heading East as we make our way back towards Melbourne, so we can catch our ferry later in the week. It’ll be another freestylin’ day, which are often the best. What’s life without the element of surprise!

Oh, and I found out why Victor Harbor is spelled without an ‘our’. Apparently is was all because of a spelling mistake from an early Surveyor General! Darn trickster spelling…it can catch out anyone!

4 thoughts on “We Score the Trifecta

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  1. What a great day! I’d never heard of those runs. I am sure a 5 km is all I could ever do now and that would take me a while. As to the ebikr – I get it but…. I’m there for the exercise. Seems like great views and a lovely ride. That cow was cool. The waterfalls…. we stopped at a stream in the Snowy Mountains expecting cold mtn water. NOPE!!
    I have been to many cemeteries in Belgium but not that one. I looked it but to be certain. I am enjoying your trip!!

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    1. Parkruns are all over the place, I reckon there’d have to be one near you. They’ve just got such a nice, casual, encouraging vibe. I totally agree on e-bikes, they’re great for getting people out and about, I just struggled with it! But then…I never have been good with change! I would have expected cold, crisp water in the Snowy Mountains too. How strange! That’s somewhere we haven’t been and I’d love to go to. So glad you’re enjoying the trip, it’s always great to have you along for the ride!

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  2. Today’s forecast was for damaging winds, hale and heavy rain. Instead we had a near perfect day at 26 degrees. Hope you can pick up some of the forecast cool south west change. Enjoying the posts dialogue and photographic coverage. The SA Tourism Dept should put you on the payroll, Stay well, M&D.

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