On the final leg of my two-day trip around the Bellarine Peninsula, I wound around from Point Lonsdale to Queenscliff. There are plenty of touristy things to do here normally: historic museums, art galleries, eating places but the town had started closing down and was very quiet.
Geelong to Point Lonsdale
I left Geelong early, keen to allow as much time as possible for my first look at the east coast of the Bellarine Peninsula.
Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula
A short time ago, I had a couple of days free and I made use of them to get away from the city and into some fresher air and less noise. The Bellarine Peninsula was the best place to head to make full use of just two days.
I hadn’t been through Geelong for many years, always turning off beforehand towards the Great Ocean Road. I was very pleasantly surprised. The waterfront area in particular is just lovely.
I hadn’t realised there’s a ferry service from Geelong into Melbourne. How convenient to avoid the drive along the busy Princes Highway and the parking when you get there.
Geelong is Victoria’s second largest city, with a population of over 250,000. It’s situated on Corio Bay, just 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. It’s had its ups and downs over the years but looks pretty comfortable at the moment.
I wandered for ages around the streets, searching out the colonial buildings from its earlier days.
The theatre was closed but it’s a busy place from what I’ve heard. Billy Connolly began his final Australian tour here.
I’m sure you could make a perfectly good life in Geelong. It has everything: shopping, entertainment, sport (it’s the home of one of Australia’s premier AFL football teams, the Geelong Cats, along with many other sports) and Deakin University.
I stayed the night at Rippleside Park Motor Inn on the edge of town (a mere $88 last minute), opposite a park and a very short drive from the beach. It wasn’t new by any means but it had everything I needed. I find older motel rooms are generally bigger, even to the point of having case racks. Why don’t newer motels have case racks, even when they’ve got space?
I left first thing in the morning, heading for Portarlington on my way to Queenscliff and the car ferry across to Sorrento and home. I’ll keep that for next time.
Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Sliding down a muddy incline at a football ground on the worst day of winter and wrecking the ligaments in your foot, is not conducive to travel. A moon boot and crutches make exploring the world difficult, hence my lack of blogging for a while.
Tower Hill, Warrnambool
Not far past Warrnambool is Tower Hill Nature Reserve, nestled in the crater of a dormant volcano.
Bay of Islands to Warrnambool
I dragged myself away from The Bay of Islands here and continued to the end of The Great Ocean Road at Warrnambool. It’s a prosperous regional city of around 35,000 people, based around agriculture, in particular the dairy industry.
Revisiting Port Campbell National Park
I hadn’t been across to the west of Victoria for twenty years. The last time, I was in between houses. I had left one and had space before getting into the new one, so to fill in the time, I took the Great Ocean Road and then the Princes Highway across to Adelaide, coming back inland. It was an interesting experience: no address, no mobile phone at the time; floating free.
Years ago, I drove up to Marysville, situated in the Yarra Valley, two hours north-east of Melbourne. It was a very pretty place then, but was caught up in the devastating bush fires of February 2009. Forty-per-cent of the Murrindindi Shire, of which Marysville is part, was burned, with the loss of 101 lives, and the destruction of homes, properties, animals and wildlife. The day the fire started, 7th February, is now known as Black Saturday.
Bendigo: Atisha Centre
A little way out of Bendigo is Atisha Centre, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation and study centre.
It’s here they’re in the process of building The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, something I’d never heard of before.
Bendigo: Golden Dragon Museum
Christmas festivities over, I’ve gone back over my photos of Bendigo. An unexpected delight was the Golden Dragon Museum.