TOURING 2 CAPES ON A STORMY DAY
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
narrawong holiday park
Journey: Warrnambool, Port Fairy, Portland, Narrawong
Mileage: 14684 kms
Weather: Clear skies, 15 degrees at 10.45
Overnight: Narrawong Holiday Park- $25pn with power.
The Great Ocean Road terminates in Warrnambool, so we are back on Princes Highway and reach the quaint village of Port Fairy, with its historic buildings, cafes, galleries and beautiful beach within 30 minutes. We spent some time investigating the main street and enjoyed coffee at the beautiful East Beach after getting an impression of the town's high lights from a friendly local. On this public holiday the place was alive with people shopping, eating and just enjoying the sunshine. The story goes that the town was named after the ship "Fairy" which got caught in a wild storm in 1828 nearby!
Then it was on to Portland, a not very interesting town to look at, where we bought some delicious King George whiting with chips from a small busy shop tucked away in Short Street; Sheila asked the man in the Fishing Bait and Tackle shop for his recommendation on getting a good serve of local fish and he was spot on. Portland is a deepwater port and its fishing fleets supply 60% of Victoria’s seafood and fish; it also processes and exports huge amounts of aluminium to SE Asia and we noticed a mountain of wood chips at the port.
Also on recommendation, this time from the Visitor Information Attendant in Port Campbell, we headed back to the tiny town of Narrawong, where we were very impressed with the Holiday Park, beside the Surry River mouth and the ocean; we can’t seem to keep away from these coastal “resorts”. The proprietor explained that 600 people had left the park this morning but we were now able to choose any vacant site and there were many. As usual we got as close to the water as possible; campers tend to get close to the amenities as a priority but not us!
We did not need dinner tonight so it was snacking only, as we listened to the sound of the ocean and turned on the TV with good reception.
It rained quite heavily overnight but Tuesday cleared up and we spent a lot of time walking the beach, exploring the river and sitting in the sun. The huge cypress avenue sheltered us from the wind which whipped up later and we were serenaded by the resident magpies and enjoyed a large group of swans elegantly swimming the river mouth.
It was full moon and we tried for some pictures of the event.
With a well equipped camp kitchen, it was just the occasion to get a slow cooking beef curry on the stove for an hour+
And as the temperature dropped it was a warming dish. Quite a few of the campers were making use of the barbecues in the kitchen and had the combustion heater well stacked with wood to warm us all.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 28
Journey: Narrawong, Cape Nelson, Cape Bridgewater
Mileage: 14826 kms
Weather: cloudy, cold- 15 degrees at 10am; showers and storms through the day.
This was a scenic sight seeing day and although it remained about 15-16 degrees all day with regular showers, we managed to hop in and out of the van to witness seas whipped by gale force winds on the 24 km round trip at Cape Nelson.
Our first stop was Yellow Rock, a popular surfing beach and the board walks and steps made the beach accessible but we did not bother and listened to a group of surfers discussing the inappropriate waves for their proposed surfing adventure. The grey day merged sea and sky and you felt the danger of such huge seas. We were fascinated with the tall wind turbines set around the cape and could hear them whirring with the wind; it was a good day for generating electricity!
The Enchanted Forest was next on the tourist drive and we were encouraged to take the 3 km walk by the same surfers we had come across at the last stop. We were protective of Sheila’s injured knee but took the descending steps slowly and were met with more views of this very wild (today) coast and ocean. The Enchanted Forest was lovely and you felt part of a fairy story amid this dense pocket of forest with moss covered rocks and hanging curtains of vines.
At the end of the headland the Cape Nelson Lighthouse, built in 1883 and 32 metres tall, made a powerful impression; the winds were so strong that we struggled to complete the short walk around the base of it and across the deteriorating cliffs. The wind and sea had done their work on these crags and cliffs and today the sea spray was reaching well onto the coast, and us! You can stay here overnight in contemporary accommodation and that would be pretty exciting!
We had another cape to visit, so we drove west to Cape Bridgewater for another wild seas sight seeing tour.
First stop Bridgewater Bay Beach, 4 kms of white sand and surfing action. We watched a group of school kids take surfing lessons under the grey and drizzly skies and they were in wet suits and having fun. Another group, sooty terns stuck together close to shore searching for tit bits to eat. We made toasted sandwiches and coffee and bought a piece of walnut and cinnamon cake from the kiosk and watched the action on the beach before continuing on our tour.
At Stony Hill the cliffs reach up to 130 metres above sea level and are of course impressive. We declined the 4 km return walk to where the seals are and parked further on to see the Blowholes, totally at their best/worst in these conditions and the sea spray was so intense we had to put the camera away. But just as impressive was the area known as “The Petrified Forest”, apparently formed when sand dunes covered Moonah trees millions of years ago or………..in other words who knows? You could still see a semblance of tree trunks under the sandstone shapes.
A quick stop at the Tarragal Limestone Caves where the steep climb tested our ability and the lovely Bridgewater lakes, and because a storm had passed over us and we were almost blown away.
The storm continued as we drove along the highway to and through the Lower Glenelg National Park.
See next entry for details of overnight stop