Blogs from Victoria, Australia, Oceania


Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Port Fairy May 25th 2023

In the early 19th century whalers and seal hunters used the coast in this region. The crew of the sealing cutter The Fairy captained by James Wishart reportedly gave the bay its current name in 1828. Whatever its origins, the name "Port Fairy" had come into general use by 1835. In 1843 James Atkinson, a Sydney solicitor, purchased land in the town, draining the swamps, subdividing and leasing the land, and building a harbour on the Moyne River. He named the town "Belfast" after his hometown in Ireland, and the names of prominent buildings either bear the name Belfast or Irish names. The town reverted to Port Fairy in 1... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Port Campbell May 20th 2023

Last year we watched an episode of the ABC Series Back Roads, in which Heather Ewart visited Port Campbell, covering the sad loss of lives in a rescue attempt by Port Campbell Lifesavers. A father and son lost their life trying to rescue a tourist who had been caught in a rip at nearby Sherbrooke River. Despite the tragedy, it was inspiring how the small town of Port Campbell came together to support the family left behind. Port Campbell is central to the iconic cliffs of the Great Ocean Road, and it was a great place to base ourselves to explore the area. On our drive from Apollo Bay with caravan in tow, we stopped off at the famous Gibson Steps, which are bolted onto a high sandstone cliff face and lead down to the beach. ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Apollo Bay May 17th 2023

Leaving Aireys Inlet, we headed for the popular tourist town of Apollo Bay, stopping off to see a koala in a tree (along with busloads of tourists) at Kennett River, which is a known habitat for koalas. We were disappointed that the koala seemed disinterested in us, perched high up in the tree, hiding behind eucalypt leaves. Arriving at Big4 Caravan Park at Apollo Bay to check in, Kim spied what she thought might have been a large bird in a nearby eucalypt tree. On closer inspection, it was a koala, who kindly climbed down the tree to meet us at eye level. We were literally no more than half a metre away from this wild and free iconic Australian marsupial, who was happy to accommodate snaps from our camera phones, turning his head to offer ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Aireys Inlet May 13th 2023

As sorry as we were to have to leave Torquay, that sorrow was cured by another morning tea stopover at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie. Suitably nourished, we continued driving to Aireys Inlet for our next stay. After setting up, we walked 4.4 kms along the Great Ocean Road Walk to Split Point Lighthouse and return to the Caravan Park. The cliffs along this coast are just as stunning as those around Bells Beach. Many of the houses in Aireys Inlet were destroyed in the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, however, many have now been rebuilt, and it is a highly sought after location to either live or have a holiday house. We were too late to climb the lighthouse the previous day, and so we again walked back along the cliffs and proceeded with our guided ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Torquay May 9th 2023

Leaving Traralgon, we were faced with a choice of driving to Sorrento and taking the car ferry across the mouth of Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff, or driving through the centre of Melbourne and across the Westgate Bridge towing a caravan. We elected to drive through the centre of Melbourne, and despite the persistent rain, the journey to Torquay via Geelong went relatively smooth. Torquay is the start of the Great Ocean Road, and is known as the home of Australian Surfing. Ripcurl and Quiksilver were founded in Torquay, and are based here. There is a Museum of Australian Surfing in the town, along with several surf factory outlets, which we visited in order to purchase some extra warm weather clothing as we start to head into winter. After setting up at Ingenia Caravan Park, we ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Traralgon May 5th 2023

Traralgon is a town located in the east of the Latrobe Valley in the Gippsland region of Victoria. The first non-Indigenous visitors to the area of Traralgon included the party of Count Pawel Strzelecki on their journey from the Snowy Mountains in April 1840, after Strzelecki had named Australia's highest peak as Mount Kosciuszko. Charley Tarra, a Burra Burra man from the NSW town of Taralga, was the Indigenous guide for the party, which included Strzelecki, and it is thought that the city was named after Charley’s home town. In order to reach Melbourne, the party had to cross the heavily timbered mountain range, later named the Strzelecki Ranges. Part of the forest was named Tarra Valley, which was later merged into Tarra Bulga National Park. Bulga is the aboriginal name for mountain. It was to ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Lakes Entrance May 2nd 2023

It was finally time to put on our Mexican Sombreros (not to be confused with Eastern Suburbs and their salary cap) and head south of the border into Victoria. Lakes Entrance was our chosen destination, located near an artificial dredged channel that connects the Gippsland Lakes to Bass Strait. We were surprised that Bass Strait lies offshore, as we were under the impression that it lies between Melbourne and Tasmania. With the Gippsland Lakes having the largest number of inland waterways in the southern hemisphere, it is no wonder that this area is the summer playground for Victorians. On our first morning we drove to Nyerimilang Heritage Park, to visit the historic homestead and walk around the property perched on acreage high above Lakes Entrance. Our walk of 5.25 kms took in stunning views of wetlands ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria March 23rd 2023

Finally got away from Ballarat on Friday 24th March, heading down to Hamilton for our last Family visit before heading away, Lyn and Noel were waiting for us and we had a fabulous afternoon and evening with them, great country hospitality! First out to the Golf Club for the members draw and a few drinks and then back to Lyn and Noels for a BBQ dinner, delicious food with lots of laughs and a few wines. Saturday we left Hamilton before lunch and onto our spot for the next couple of days Penola just inside South Australia, a leisurely drive through scenic countryside, Penola is a pretty little town and our camp was out on the Greenrise Recreational Reserve nice little spot within walking distance of the town, a free camp with toilets, BBQ facilities and ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Point Cook March 22nd 2023

In our final couple of weeks, we have focused on a few areas not yet visited. St. Kilda’s Beach is on the south east side of the city centre and a short tram ride (assuming you get off at the right station) from the main railway station at Flinders Street. There is a nice board walk with a few restaurants and a well maintained beach. We were there mid week and the weather was “coolish” so it wasn’t busy, however, it was easy to imagine the area would be packed in prime time. The surrounding area was a little tired and disappointing. A promenade close by was lined with 2nd and 3rd tier retail shops and a carnival facility with a Ferris wheel and roller coaster was somewhat distracted from a reasonably nice waterfront location. The ... read more
St. Kilda’s Beach
Banksia Australian wild flowers (part of the Proteaceae family)
Cranbourne Botanical Gardens

Oceania » Australia » Victoria February 27th 2023

Arrived Ballarat Monday 27th, on my birthday, our beautiful daughter had us around for a yummy dinner. Greg and Ingrid arrived up as well for a couple of days with us and joined us at Lara and Lukes for dinner. The full day Greg and Ingrid were with us we had a long walk on the lake and Ballarat Botanical Gardens, it really is an oasis in the middle of the city of Ballarat. Weather cool 20 degrees but good for walking. Did some shopping and caught up with Bryce for dinner at the Grapes, it was another fabulous meal, not just pub grub really restaurant quality food. Mick and Noni arrived up on the Friday afternoon and also camped with us at the NRMA park which is great within walking distance of the CBD and ... read more

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