Week 43 | Port Fairy to Aireys Inlet

Day 295 – 296: Port Fairy

We are camped by the Moyne River at Port Fairy. What an ideal spot to be. The river on one side and the ocean on the other. An idealistic location. Who would have thought the winds would be gusting at 35kph along the river. It’s slowly reaching our top temperature for today of 13 degrees and the drizzling rain is more of a nuisance factor than anything else.

I’m calling in for the monthly board meeting today and then spending the remainder of the day working. It’s Melbourne Cup Day tomorrow so we will take a quick trip down to the local IGA to pick up some groceries for a ploughmans lunch and afternoon grazing on nibblies.  Sightseeing hasn’t really happened due to the bad weather.

Cinta has had her coat on since we arrived. It’s been too cold to take it off and she’s getting “caravan fever” just like us. We haven’t been able to put the awning out due to the high winds and there has been quick walks outside to take her to the loo.

We are all snuggled up in the van for Melbourne Cup Day. The Spring Carnival is our favourite time of year to watch the races and the fashion on the fields. The heater is on and off throughout the day and we enjoy a bottle of wine and our ploughmans lunch. It’s a very relaxing day and tonight we are in bed early ready for our travel day tomorrow.

Wildlife: swans, pelicans, magpies.

Day 297: Port Fairy to Warrnambool

The winds haven’t eased at all so it’s a slow drive into Warrnambool even though it’s only 30km. At 10am when we leave it’s climbed to 16 degrees. We’re at our destination by 11am so we park up near the water to have our morning tea.

Figtree Holdiay Park is our destination as the weather forecast for the week is rain and wind. On arrival the friendly staff ask if we’d like an en-suite site. It’s $5 extra per night. We have a voucher from our friends (The Bingil Bay Bunch & Leanne & Greg) so I decide to lash out and have a little bit of luxury for a few days.

After we have set up I check out the en-suite and to my surprise they have heat lights inside. I am so excited, it has really made my day. In these awful conditions it will be so nice to have a nice warm room to shower in. I could get used to that…

We’re off to do a bit of grocery shopping and then Bunnings to see if we can find the sealant spray for the roof. No luck there. We’ve phoned every place here and can’t buy it anywhere. Guess we have to keep trying. Fortunately we haven’t had any more water inside yet.

Wildlife: swans, pelicans, magpies.

Day 298 – 299 Warrnambool

Last night plummeted to 8 degrees and the high for today is expected to be 14 degrees with rain and winds again. At this rate we are not going to see much at all.

We decide to drive out to the breakwater. The ocean is wild, crashing against the rocks and spraying all over the roadside. Middle Island is just offshore. The island is closed to people as the penguin population was diminishing. There are now Maremma dogs on the islands to protect the penguins from the foxes and people.  I brave the winds and get out of the car to take a photo as Andrew has spotted two of the Maremmas perched high on the island near the gate.

A short drive takes us out to Pickering Point which looks back over the Breakwaters and then around the corner to Thunder Point.  The wind was so wild today on the point.  I can only imagine how beautiful it would be on a warm summers day.

Today is looking a little brighter with the sun trying to poke its head through the clouds.  We are going to take full advantage of the fine weather with a walk around the main streets to see some of the street art.  Ngatanwarr Mural painted by Adnate stands tall on a corner building in the city and was painted in 2015.  It’s an amazing piece of work. I actually took this photo on the day we arrived and in between the windscreen wipers and the showers of rain I managed to snap it when Andrew took his second drive around the block for me!

Nathan Pye painted the giant fish in Patloch Lane.  The mural was part of an instalment of the Hidden Histories Laneway Festival which looked into untapping the potential of Warrnambool’s laneways.  The Wombat Mural is a chalk drawing by Jimmi Buscombe and I remember seeing a story on TV about this drawing.  One of the Warrnambool Council graffiti removal employees saw the drawing and decided to coat it with a sealant as it was too great to be removed.

In Spirit was painted by Jimmi Buscombe, stretching an impressive 32 metres, this mural features yellow-tailed black cockatoos against an azure sky.  Little Liebig laneway is now  home to many murals in Warrnambool.  The blue ocean-themed mural was painted by Jessica Meggs in 2015 and ties in with Nathan Pye’s fish mural.  There were many more murals that I photographed on the day.  I have a passion for wandering laneways and finding these amazing pieces of work.

After wandering around we went to the movies to see Ride Like a Girl.  It’s an amazing true story about Michelle Payne’s fight to be recognised in a male-dominated industry.  Her determination, passion and love for racing & her family is a credit to her. She will always be recognised in the history of racing and in particular the first female jocky to ever win the Melbourne Cup.

Our next stop was the Botanic Gardens.  Dogs are not allowed – sigh.  Andrew had to walk Cinta around the block while I went in to wander around.  The beds of ranunculas which overlooked the rotunda were really pretty and swaying madly in the breeze.  There were many ducks on the pond all waiting and wondering if I had something to feed them; sadly I didn’t.  I captured quite a few reflections on the pond before being driven away by the chilling winds.

Our next stop was Cannon Hill Lookout which is just behind the War Memorial, with panoramic views out to the Southern Ocean and foreshore area.  The wind was blowing a gale and it was freezing at the top of the hill.  The view was really picturesque, even with the rain happening on the horizon.

Every year Southern Right Whales and blue whales migrate from Victoria seeking warmer temperatures.  Logan’s Beach Whale Nursery is where you can spot female whales nursing their young during the months from June through to September.  I particularly loved this spot for the azure blue and aqua colours of the ocean.

While the weather was so good we took another drive out to Pickering Point and Thunder Point to take in the panoramic views of the ocean.  Spectacular coastal shorelines.

Wildlife: ducks, seagulls, water hens.

Day 300: Warrnambool to Maregno

Today marks another milestone of our journey.  300 days on the road.  It sounds so surreal.  It’s hard to believe that we have been travelling that long, it still feels like we only left home yesterday.  We are heading for the Great Ocean Road and its 9.40am and 12 degrees.

Our first stop is the Bay of islands.  The temperature has dropped to 8 degrees. It’s very overcast with a light drizzle happening and the winds are ferocious.  The Bay of Islands is situated near Peterborough.  There are two different viewing areas to see the towering limestone stacks.

Back on the road and the next stop is the Grotto.  Dogs are not permitted as most of the Great Ocean Road is a National Park.  Andrew waits patiently in the car with Cinta.  I take the 750m walk in to view the Grotto.  It’s drizzly, so for some of the walk, I’m slowly jogging.  Yes, you can believe it, I managed a jog!  I didn’t do all the steps down to the bottom as I was conscious of the weather turning sour.

The Bay of Martyrs is our next stop.  It’s 2.5 kilometers long and within the bay are two smaller bays, Crofts Bay and Massacre Bay.  The stacked rocks that rest lazily in the crashing waters are said to be the guardians of the area, limestone pillars that soar up to 10 metres high.  I took a short video here and posted it to Facebook, it was blowing an absolute gale at the lookout.

The Twelve Apostles is our next stop.  There’s a visitor centre and coffee shop here and a very large carpark.  There’s a small section for long vehicles and caravans.  We can’t believe the stupidity of some people travelling in cars that park in the long vehicle section when there is ample room for cars.  We manage to get the last long vehicle park.  Cinta is put into the van so that we can both take the underpass out to the viewing platform.  There are many tourists of every nationality, some who are particularly rude and pushy.

We are almost stopped in our tracks by the ferocious winds.  We can’t believe how hard it is to walk the pathway.  Out on the viewing platform, it’s almost impossible to stand up, let alone take a photo.  We watched 3 helicopters flying over the stacks.  There was no way we would be interested in a helicopter ride with winds that strong.  I’m determined to take a live video out on the platform.  Here it is!

Situated in the Port Campbell National Park, the massive limestone structures tower 45 metres above the Southern Ocean.  They are mesmerising.  There are now only eight remaining stacks as five have fallen since they were first discovered.  I managed to only get a couple of photos out there and I had to straighten them when I viewed them as they were on a 45 degree angle!

We’ve arrived at Maregno late after lunch.  It’s been a long winding road for Andrew to drive.  Maregno has had 3 inches of rain over the past few days and the park owner lets us go in to choose one of only 3 sites left for the night.  Most people ask for an ocean view but given the windy conditions we’re happy to be parked up by a thick hedge out of the wind and rain.  We manage to get a quick walk along the beach, but there’s no taking our shoes off and dipping our feet in the ocean today.

Wildlife: cattle, sheep, corellas, alpacas, seagulls.

Day 301: Maregno to Aireys Inlet

After a cool night we are packed up and ready to go by 9.40am.  It’s 13 degrees and overcast again.  We are getting a bit tired of the overcast, windy and drizzly weather.  The journey today is only 67km, however, the road is meandering around the coastline.

There are spectacular views around every corner and on the approach to Moggs Creek I snapped the structure pictured above leading out from a house perched on the hill.  What a sight!  We arrived at the Aireys Inlet Holiday Park just after lunch, it was a slow drive today.  They give a 10% discount for mentioning Wikicamps which is the first park we have found to do that.

After we have set up we take a drive out to see the Lighthouse.  Split Point Lighthouse stands 34 metres high. It was constructed in 1890 and illuminated in 1891 at a cost of 8057 pounds, 18 shillings and five pence. (About $20,000 today.) The lighthouse has been unmanned since 1919.

There are several cliff top walks within proximity of the lighthouse.  We take the 100 metre walk down to the beach.  There is 132 steps in total to reach the beach.  Yes, we both did it.  It was much harder coming back up the steps let me tell you.  You realise exactly how unfit you are.  The view of the limestone cliffs from the bottom is spectacular.

Back at the park, time to sit back and relax under the awning.  Cinta is having a nice time on the grass and enjoying being outside as much as we are.  We’ve packed quite a bit in this week given the extreme arctic blast that has hit the coastline. Sunday is budget day and blog day and my job is now done.  Tomorrow we will be heading into Melbourne for 2 nights before boarding the Spirit of Tasmania.  We are both really excited about the next leg of our journey.  Make sure you come back again next week to see how we faired on the ship.

Wildlife: Rabbits, cockatoos, rosellas, corellas, seagulls.

Week 43 total expenses: $535.15 – great to be under budget!

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That’s a wrap for Week 43 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

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