We were not quite sure what to expect from this little seaside town. Driving down the main road we were able to get a feel for the place. It was quiet, very pretty, a little bit hippy/surfy with a touch of olden charm. Old mill houses were nestled in between modern mansions, there were large wide streets mixed with small one-way lanes. It was one of the most interesting little towns we have been too.
Typical us, we never book accommodation ahead (just in case we change our minds). So as we arrived in town we called the Big 4 as recommended to us, only to have them tell us they were far too wet and couldn’t risk having caravans on their sites. We called our next option who had plenty of room and not so wet. We continued driving through town to our new location, right on a river and a short stroll to the beach. JACKPOT!
It’s cold, raining and really windy, so set up was quick. We rugged the kids up and took them straight to the playground. After a few hours in the car they always need a good run around.
With the van set up, kids have run out of energy, Mum and Dad ready for a drink, we settled in for dinner and bed.
Good morning rain! We expected another cold, windy, rainy day but as usual decided to make the most of it. Packing lunches and warm clothes we headed off to explore Tower Hill, a dormant volcano with an interesting crater. Deciding to grab a bakery breakfast for us and the kids and enjoy it viewing the ocean, we were off again driving through the country side towards our destination. About 15 mins away from Tower Hill we hear Varli calling Mum very softly, then the gargle came, then the most impressive projectile vomit we have ever seen. Tom pulled the car over as quick as possible while Claire jumped out to grab Varli. We were too slow, she continued to vomit, all through the car, all over herself and now all over the ground. For a tiny little human, she sure can get it all out. Back to the van we go. Showers for her and us, clean the car, wash the car seats, wash our clothes and let her rest. The decision was made pretty quickly that Varli was not to have strawberry milk before a bumpy car trip.
After a quiet morning and lunch in the van, with Varli looking and feeling much better, we took the opportunity to head over to Tower Hill for the afternoon. We made it with no issues – Thank god! Driving down into the crater was beautiful. So green and very lush. We pulled into the first little car park along-side the road. Putting on jackets and beanies, we chose to tackle the steep track that lead right to the top of the volcano. The path was half stairs and half old stone path but it was indeed steep. We ended up carrying the kids most of the way as their poor little legs couldn’t quite handle the track. Making it to the top, we were greeted with a rainbow and a short amount of time to take a few photos before the rain hit. We were prepared though, armed with an umbrella and thankful to be walking DOWN the hill, we took off back to the car.
Further along the road we drove and came across the information centre, a quick look at the map and we chose to drive a touch further around and tackle the boardwalk. A good option in our eyes, the boardwalk was not only perfect for the kids to run along at their own pace but it was beautiful. Winding along over the wetlands and along a lake, there is so much wildlife to spot and views to take in. This has been one of our favourite walks. With the rain really settling in, we raced to the car and headed home. We will definitely be back to explore more of Tower Hill.
After a late night we decided to take our time getting ready this morning. We were not too sure exactly where we were headed today. Having a chat to the lovely staff here at The Gardens Port Fairy, they told us about Budj Bim, a national park not too far from Port Fairy. We decided to take a chance and drive out to see the forest. An easy drive and not too far found us at the parks quarters. Unfortunately, the ranger wasn’t there, so we checked out the map and decided to wing it. We drove the quick lap to view the lake from up top, no need for long walking. The view was amazing, so many ducks swimming in the lake, and the whole area was filled with wildflowers.
It was time to check out some of the other tracks through the park. Driving along a grassy track, the scenery changed constantly. From forest to wide open farmland, we felt like we drove through it all today. The track was barely there in some places, we moved tree branches and navigated the car over rock stacks and muddy ditches. Following the map, we picked a track that went right around the lake... at least that’s what we though. After navigating the worst section of the track (after losing the track too) we came to a fence, sure it was open but there was a great big black sign “private property – NO TRESSPASSING”
That was it for us, we had no other option but to turn around and make our way back the way we came. We completely lucked out today but we are glad the drive itself was pretty.
A quick detour to view “The Crags” along the coast, we made it home.
A long day in the car means the kids deserve some playground time before dinner.
It’s movie time and a Thai dinner for us. New adventures in the morning.
It was such a beautiful morning and no rain about, so we decided to take our chance and walk out to the light house on Griffiths Island. We are so thankful for a decent day to truly see what Port Fairy is about. The walk to the light house was spectacular. With a concrete path sitting just above the waterline, we strolled and watched the clear blue water in hopes to see some hidden marine life. It took us about an hour to get to the light house, we promise that’s not normal, it’s just our kids needed to jump in every single puddle there possibly was on the way there. The path was winding around the island and we started to capture glimpses of the lighthouse. Tall, white and a bright red door, this lighthouse sure stands out. We spent a little time looking, watching surfers and taking some photos once we arrived at the house. Trying to spot some seals, but we were unlucky. Time to turn around and head back to the mainland for some lunch before our afternoon adventures.
With lunch done, we packed the car with some warm things and headed to Warrnambool, we had a light show to go see. Our first stop was to try and spot some whales from Logan’s whale viewing platform. Varli fell asleep on the way so Tom and Claire took turns in taking Halen up to run along the platform and watch the ocean. No whales in site, we have been unlucky here this whale season.
Wanting to see a little more of Warrnambool, we drove through the town to check out the sites, only to stumble across a huge playground complete with a maze. Of course, we couldn’t resist stopping and letting the kids burn their energy before tonight’s show. Deciding it was best to eat dinner before we go in, we set off to find a place to eat. Realising that most places in Warrnambool don’t open until 6pm we final got in to a tiny little, dull looking pub. We were greeted with the friendliest publican, and seated at our table by an equally friendly waitress. Instantly feeling welcome and relaxed. We ordered our meals and received some of the most delicious food we have had in a long time. For a tiny little, not appealing at all pub, they pulled out all the stops and impressed us big time. If ever going back to Warrnambool, it will be one of our first stops.
After dinner we made our way over to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum to collect our tickets and head to the light show. We had no idea what to expect as this wasn’t something we would normally book ourselves, especially with our little ones, but with Claire looking after the Visit The Great Ocean Road Instagram account they supplied us with some tickets. We waited until 7pm when our host came out and collected a handful of us. We walked through a room full of floating tv’s, watched a short film about whaling and headed outside. We collected a lantern each and started our walk through an old whaling/maritime town. The cobble stone streets were just beautiful, as we made our way around a small lake to a small outdoor amphitheatre. We took our seats, rugged up with a blanket and got set to watch a short film all about whaling and the ship wrecks along the south coastline. To our surprise, a fountain in the middle of the lake formed a wall of water, then the images started to appear through the water. It was incredible. The story was so intriguing and they told it so well. It was quite dramatic and slightly dark in some parts but the kids could not stop watching. For something we knew nothing about and we didn’t know what to expect from the night, we had an absolute ball. It also made us realise the kids are just old enough to enjoy some shows like this.
It was a long night for us all. A simple drive home and we were all rugged up in bed in no time. Moving on in the morning.
Want to see a quick itinerary option? Click HERE
Images of whales were projected onto water during the light show.