Lakes Entrance Victoria

The Gippsland Lakes are a network of lakes, marshes and lagoons, covering an area of around 350 square kilometres. From Bairnsdale, I followed the Princes Highway, as it snaked its way down and around a point known as Jemmy’s Point.

A view over the lakes from Jemmy’s Point.

In 1889, a wall was built to fix the position of a naturally occurring channel between the lakes and Bass Strait, to stabilise the water level, create a harbour for fishing boats and to open the lakes up to shipping. Hence the name, Lakes Entrance.

The narrow entrance to the lakes

The town lies on a narrow strip of land between Cunninghame Arm and North Arm.

Image: Wyndham Hotel Group

It was quiet while I was there but a local lady told me that at Christmas the population swells from 5000 to 50,000. I’m not sure how exact these figures are but it would account for all the holiday units, caravan parks and hotels.

Lakes Entrance fishing fleet

An avenue of Monterey Cypress trees was planted in 1924 to commemorate the 26 local men who lost their lives in World War 1. Chainsaw artist, John Brady, transformed six of the stumps into sculptures, representing scenes from the War, and spaced them along the Esplanade. It’s a lovely touch. Quite moving.

After an early night, I headed up the Esplanade to book an afternoon cruise around the lakes, before settling back in the sunshine at a cafe on the very peaceful North Arm.

Small boats bob serenely on the North Arm
A swan posed for me

The weather turned during the afternoon lakes cruise, the only time the sun deserted me. It was pretty wild and woolly out on deck but I hung in, trying to get some good photos, all to no avail. Still, I recommend the cruise, which takes you through Lake King and Lake Victoria, past the little village of Metung to the burgeoning town of Paynesville and back.

People live on a couple of the islands in the lakes, with no access to the town other than by boat. With none of the normal amenities (electricity, water, etc.) laid on, they create their own. What an interesting little community it must be.

The entrance from the boat

After another early night (the television didn’t work, even after the man fixed it), I wandered across the Cunninghame Arm bridge to 90 mile beach for  a serious dose of nature, my favourite sort – ocean and crashing waves.

Cunninghame Arm bridge
Ninety mile beach

I walked for an hour and then realised there was no way across to the town other than going all the way back to Cunninghame Bridge. A great morning’s exercise.

Should I keep going? No, I’ll turn back.

I love this photo. The pelicans were ganging up on the seagull but the gull wasn’t the least bit intimidated.

Lakes Entrance is a lovely place for a break and some rejuvenation, other than during summer, of course. I can’t imagine it being too relaxing then, though great for families.

 

 

The Lakes, South-Eastern Victoria

I decided last week I needed some R&R and some nature, so I headed down to Victoria’s lakes district on the south-east coast. I’d been promising myself I would explore the area for years but somehow hadn’t got round to it. I stopped the first night in Bairnsdale, before taking the last 38kms down to Lakes Entrance the next day.

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The Old Post Office Medieval Hall House, Tintagel, Cornwall

After my slightly disappointing visit to Tintagel Castle, I hitched a ride up the hill on the mini bus they provide (thank heavens, one less Cornwall hill to negotiate) to the village. While waiting for a bus to take me back to Port Isaac (I was never quite sure, while in Cornwall, whether or not a bus was going to come), I wandered up the main street and came to a 14th century medieval hall house. It has the most gorgeous undulating roof and walls, and I absolutely had to go in for a look.

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Tintagel Castle Cornwall

I thought, while I was in Port Isaac, I’d catch a bus out to Tintagel. There’s a castle there, or the ruins of one. It was built in the 13th century by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother of Henry 111, with an outer bailey on the cliff tops of the mainland and an inner ward with a great hall and chambers on an isolated and inhospitable rocky headland.

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‘Is This the Road to Stratford?’ Book Launch

This week, I’m launching the third book in my Planning to the ‘Nth  series. Is This the Road to Stratford? describes my trip to England in 2011. Arriving in Manchester, I crossed by train to York, where I picked up a particularly malevolent rental car and, bewildered by indecipherable road signs and massive, terrifying roundabouts, wound my way down to Oxford. From there, having with great relief disposed of the car, I caught the train to London.

The book is now available as an ebook from Amazon. To check it out, click here.

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Climbing Cornwall Cliffs

I had decided long ago, while watching the 70s version of Poldark, that I would one day walk along some Cornwall cliffs. On my first morning in Port Isaac, I had my chance.

Gazing up at the cliff, looming over the town, I took a deep breath and headed up Roscarrock Hill past the Doc’s surgery and onto the track.

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Port Isaac, Cornwall

Anyone who’s followed my blog or read my books will know I’m besotted with film locations.

I’ve been waiting for a chance to visit Cornwall ever since the seventies, when I watched the Poldark series, with its ragged cliffs, waves crashing into coves where smugglers plied their trade, windswept moors, tin and copper mines and, let’s face it, its leading man. This was my chance.

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