Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dartmoor 19-22nd March 2010

 We had planned to move to the Showgrounds at Warrnambool but the morning we left it was raining so Lynn suggested we keep going.
 We stopped for morning tea at Port Fairy where the rain eased but it was still quite cool. We were initially parked down near the port or wharf area but as we wanted to look around more we parked the rig near the Information Centre where there was plenty of room and several other rigs were parked there too. It made for easy access to the main  shopping area. Before we left town we drove around the Tourist route on the sea side , where the coastline was typical of the whole region of the limestone coast. Craggy rocks of sandstone/limestone and lovely little coves of sand with some good surf in places but most of it inaccessable. The other thing that took my eye was the lovely bluestone buildings in the town particularly the old churches.

 Once we had left the area and were nearing Portland we were looking for a lunch spot and came across Yambuk Lake . The picnic area is beside a river that runs out of the lake to the sea. There is only a few farms and a couple of houses in the community but there is a caravan park with a lovely outlook over the river and to get to the picnic area you drive through the Park.

 An unusual feature of the picnic area was a large slide which looked like it would be just as much fun for adults  as children.  This area was at the back of the beach which could be acessed easily via tracks over  the sand hills.

At Dartmoor we found a lovely camping area with lots of great people at the end of the main street where the post office and general store were. The town has a great history. It also had a defunct forestry industry . There are lots of plantations in the area that were part of the Great Southern forest scheme and were processed at Dartmoor.

 The things that most people remember the town for are the carved trees that line the main street.
 They were done with a chainsaw  and were old rotten pine trees that had been planted at the end of WW1.As these trees were now a hazard they were carved with permission of the families that had originally planted them.

The Fairy Tale Tree

 The trees nearest the camping reserve  had smalll animals and Children's fairy tale characters  carved into them. However further up the main street was a series of carvings all related to WW1, and outside the RSL was a lovely carving of Gallipoli Cove. All carvings were done with the chainsaw.

The other side of the tree

Horses drinking from trough

 The Nurse   statue 1

The story board

 The Servicemen

The Scout

 Reflection made this difficult to photograph

 At the top end of the street was an interesting cafe come craft /gift shop which had a series of  amusing set of embroidered pictures of old ladies.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Great Ocean Road Part 2

Grand Pacific Hotel
  While we were at Lake Colac we decide to use it as base to see some of the Great Ocean Road.  So we set off one morning early and went through  Birregurra and continued down a back road till we came over the Otways and into the back of Lorne. We had lovely weather and it was warm enough that many of the locals were going for a swim.  Of course it was too cold for us to go swimming.We just enjoyed the sunshine and had morning tea in a nice seaside park. We then drove up past the Grand Pacific Hotel and checked out an historic jetty. We noted the prices in the local Fish co-op of $ 75/ kg for cray fish which was way too much for us.

 Great Ocean Road Scenic Drive
 As we wandered down the road through the small  seaside places in lovely little nooks we both reminiced about  a previous trip we did over 25 years ago and how the roads had improved and the places were so much bigger and busier.

 Cape Otway Lighthouse as seen from Point Franklin
 After lunching on fish and chips at the harbour at Apollo Bay we continued on to Cape Otway with a view to seeing the Lighthouse. On the way we passed a board that said there was a fee to tour the Lighthouse but we were very dissappointed that there was no way of seeing the lighthouse unless we paid $ 16.50 ea . Instead we found a track that took s to a beach which allowed us a distant view after an easy walk for about 10 minutes.

 From here  we returned to Lake Colac via Laver's hill and Johanna beach which we checked out as we planned to move to here the next day ,so we could continue our Great Ocean saga.  part of the Camping area at Johanna Beach

 After packing up at Lake Colac we moved here and again had another lovely day and met lots of nice people who invited us to have a drink wiht them. We were a large group of about 12 people from different states etc.
 On our way to Johanna Beach we stopped for morning tea at Gellibrand where there was lovely park and it had an interesting  cutout shape of the Otways and surrounding area. 
Park at Gellibrand with cutout of Otways

 From Johanna Beach we ontinued up and over the Otways at Lavers Hill and then on to the better known features of the Great Ocean Road.
 Our first stop on this section was to see the Twelve Apostles . This involved aprking  at the Information centre ans walking under the mani road. The walk was very pleasant with diiferent information and lots of nice boardwalks that provided access to everyone. There was also plenty of lookouts to view the Apostles.Lynn at the Apostles lookout

Our main problem was getting into some of the carparks as with the big van if there was already a number of cars and motorhomes there was no room for us to park or turn .
 From the Twelve Apostles we visited  Loch Ard  Gorge which had several interesting walks with different views of there area.
 The most outstanding feature is the layers of sandstone and  the erosion from the waves. Nearly all the rock stacks and other formations had these features, just some were clearer than others.Loch Ard Gorge   Typical Sandstone formation showing layers and erosion from the waves

 The Bay of  Martyrs was another interesting stop with lots of stacks in a big bay. Here some of the cliffs were a lovely shade of red wiht iron oxide or similar in the soil.Childers Cove

When we were looking for a lunch stop I noted this cove on the map and we were very pleasantly surprised to find at the cove next door that there was a huge grassed area wiht picnic tables and toilets. It was on the walk to Childers cove that I saw a snake making a beeline for the scrub as he could obviously here me coming on the path.

 This was the end of our wanderings along the Great Ocean Road as that night we stopped at Warrnambool . We had made arrangements to have the computer part of the washing machine changed over here in the hope that it would fix the problem of not pumping out the water after washing.

Great Ocean Road part 1

 After leaving Cowes we had a fairly stressful trip into Melbourne as the GPS took us up Exhibition st before sending us up Victoria Rd and out via Sydney Rd to Campbellfield where we had planned to see the Traveller Manufacturers to try and rectify a few problems we have had with the van. the most pressing one of course was getting the washing machine fixed.

 After wasting several hours and many phone calls it was decided that Dometic would deal witt the problem and ring us the next day to try to establish what the source of the problem was. So we left there and headed to the Big 4 Caravan park at Coburg as we were planning to see Mama Mia that night. We left the park early catching a bus and then the tram into the city.

 It was lucky that we went early as the booking we thought we had made had not gone through but there was enough seats that we were given front row upstairs seats. Prior to the show we had a quick meal across the raod at a Chinese place that was specialising  in theatre goers. We really enjoyed the show but not the long walk back to the park as we had to catch a different tram and there was no connecting bus. With Lynn's sore leg and back it was a  very long walk for him especially as it was about 1130pm.

 The next day we went into Melbourne after making arrangements wiht Dometic to get the washing machine done in Warrnambool as that was the direction we were heading in. We became quite experts at catching the trams to get around. We had wanted to check out the DFO at the Southern Cross station but due to a very severe storm the weekend before there was so much damage that most of the stores were closed.

 We were very pleased to get out of Melbourne but it took us a while as Suzy wong ( GPS) didn't have updated information on  lot of the new roads so we had to work it out for ourselves and eventually got on the Geelong road. After a quick morning tea stop near Avalon, we headed for Lake Colac and Meredith Park .

 It was a lovely spot  even though the Lake didn't have much water in it.  While we were here Lynn took the opportunity to tidy up the boxes and re-arrange the items on the back. We were also able to ue the fire pot and cook outside using some wood we had carted from Paradice Beach.

 While we were there we had a nasty fright as a dog from the camp next door want to have a go at me as I tried to get past their camp on the way to the amenities block. Luckily Lynn and Brett another camper saw what was happening and rescued me.