South West Victoria On Line A
travelogue of South West Victoria - independent and impartial travel
advice for the Southwest of Victoria and the Southeast of South
featuring the towns of Warrnambool,
Port Fairy, Port Campbell, Apollo Bay, Robe, Halls Gap, Lorne, Torquay,
Robe and Mt Gambier
$50 Million Upgrade to Ocean Road 23nd August 2013
Last week, during his election campaign, opposition leader Tony Abbott promised to contribute $25 million toward a $50 million upgrade to the Great Ocean Road.
This announcement comes on the heels of a land slide which closed one lane of the scenic road about two weeks ago. The lane has remained closed and speed limits of 40 km/h have been imposed around the area, which has caused annoying delays to traffic during this period.
Funding for road works has been a contentious issue for some years with a number of rock falls and land slides which have resulted in a series of temporary closures in the last few years.
This has also raised the profile for repairs to the coastal road and has become an issue in the upcoming federal election between Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson and Labor MP, Darren Cheeseman. The sitting Labour member MP Darren Cheeseman holds the marginal Corangamite electorate by just 0.3 per cent.
The Great Ocean Road was built over a 14 year period during the 1920's and 30's and was primarily built to connect Geelong (and Melbourne) to the small coastal villages of Apollo Bay and Lorne who up until then had to rely of coastal shipping. It was never intended to carrry the huge amount of tourist traffic that now traverses this road on a daily basis.
A majority of the road still has a 60 km/h speed limit, due to both the twisting nature of the terrain, and the increasing number of residential properties along the road.
No longer a rugged isolated coastline, the Great Ocean Road
is now busy and well populated region of Victoria.
Whale Season Nearly Over 27th September August 2013
Despite the past few days of cold and windy weather, the local whale seasons is going along famously with with near record sightings from various locations along the south west coast. Warrnambool has had near record numbers, with recorded sightings on 87 of the last 90 days
At present the local whale season is in a transitional phase where the mothers and calves are beginning to prepare for their migration back to the Antarctic and they do this by taking excursions out to sea which start with short trips and then get progressively longer over a period of several weeks.
Although this part of the season does not produce reliable whale sightings, it does produce the most spectacular viewing conditions as the whales are much more active and visitors are more likely to see whales ( especially Southern Right whales) breaching and engaging in other more exuberant activities.
Photo above - Gale force winds and rain kept both visitors and whales from making an appearance at Logan's beach yersteday - but with better weather on the way the visitors (and whales ) will be back.
Hopkins Falls Bubbling Over 24th August 2013 Although only ranked 10th of Victoria's most noteworthy waterfalls, the Hopkins Falls would ( or should) be ranked at the top of the states most accessible waterfalls, with most of the states other waterfalls located off the beaten track and in some cases requiring an hour long hike just to see them.
Hopkins Falls is located 15 kilometres from Warrnambool and there is a car park just 20 metres from the top of the falls. This year, following excellent winter rains the falls are at their most spectacular for the last decade and are attracting large numbers of visitors, even locals are paying a visit to the falls.
It is possibly stating the obvious, the falls are at their best during September and October and depending on spring rains will determine the water flows during late spring and summer months. The local council has recently upgraded the car parking and improved the walking tracks around the falls, plus have upgraded the barbecue facilities.
Photo above- Sunshine and blue skies at Hopkins Falls, possibly a sign of upcoming spring weather
Sheepvention The Hamilton Sheepvention is one of Australia's largest sheep and wool related conventions and is staged annually by the Hamilton Pastoral and Agricultural Society
The convention attracts over 25,000 visitors to the city with people coming from all over Australlia to attend. The Sheepvention is a stimulating mix of competitions and events include the Ram Sale which buyers pay jaw dropping amounts for the best breding stock in the country, Sheep Show, Ewe Weaner Competition, Farm Dogs Competition, Alpaca Show, Inventions Competition and the highlight of the show is the Wool Fashion Parade which features some of Australias best fashion designers . The 2013 Sheepvention will be held on 5th and 6th August at the Hamilton Showgrounds.
Photo above- The tree lined main street in Hamilton and the many grand buildings are the hallmarks of the city and is an indication that you are at the heart of the South West's grazing empires. Both sheep and wheat have bought considerable wealth into the town over the years, and although the fortunes may have waned in recent times, Hamilton is still a thriving community.
Robe Robe is often ( and appropriately) described as a historic seaside holiday village with a wonderful holiday feel to it, but its one drawback is is is just a bit far away from the major population centres. In recent times when the economy was a little more upbeat then everything in Robe was fine but recently Robe ( like everyone else) is feeling the pinch. Robe's history dates back to the establishment of South Australia itself, and with over 80 buildings listed on the state historic buildings register ( all carefully preserved) the town is a veritable treasure trove of fascinating places to explore.
Robe's beaches are excellent and offer a variety of swimming and surfing conditions plus at present accommodation prices in Robe are quite competitive For more information on Robe click here
Photo above- Robe town beach which is located direct across the road from the Post Office and one of the more popular family beaches in the town
Grampians For those who don't care for seaside holidays, there are a number of holiday and accommodation options within the Grampians National Park. The wine regions around Moyston on the Eastern side of the Grampians are quite popular , along with historic gold mining towns of Ararat and Stawell. The good seasonal rains in the last 12 months have managed to resupply Lake Bellfield and after almost a decade, boating has now returned to the lake. The traditional accommodation centres of Halls Gap and Dunkeld are favoured destinations of those who enjoy the Aussie bush in the middle in summer.
Despite its inland location and summer temperatures, the Grampians is actually quite a popular summer holiday destination, so don't expect any bargains as there is still enough visitor numbers to keep prices to levels similar to some of the coastal resorts, in addition the practice of demanding two and three night minimum stays over the holiday periods is widespread so a bit of pre planning is worthwhile if you intend to visit the Grampians. All this notwithstanding, the Grampians is still a very pleasant place to visit and has a similar appeal to places like the Lakes District in England where hiking and bush walking are the most popular pursuits. The Grampians is also filled with most of Australia's native flora and fauna and popular with overseas visitors looking to see Australia's wild life in one location. Not to mention the Grampians is one of better wine growing regions and so attracts many wine and food buffs..For more information on the Gramopians click here
Photo above- main street Halls Gap - to the left is the car park and on the right, is the Supermarket, Post Office and set back rom the road are the "Stoney Creek" group of souvenir and take away food shops
Fish and Chips
if your 'e looking for a secluded rural getaway close to the Otway's rain forest then our latest property listing might be just what your 'e looking for.
To find out more about
Kookaburra's Rest click the photo below
Warrnambool's whale season is in full swing with three mothers and calves in the bay at Logan's beach ( about 5 kms from the centre of the city) With better weather on its way this is the ideal time to visit Warrnambool and see Southern Right whales in their natural environment.
The South West coast is also famous for the quality of its fish and chips and there are dozens of restaurants and take away's that serve good fish and chips. We've listed six of our favourites fish and chip shops - Click the photo to see our choices
Port Campbell This small village has a resident population of about 450, but attracts a huge number of visitors, due in no small part to its proximity to the coastal scenery at the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge. The town has one pub and a couple of restaurants and several takeaway food vendors who cater to the passing parade of tourists and quite a few accommodation options ranging from backpackers through to motels and self contained apartments. The township is situated at the edge of a small square bay with most of the townships businesses located along a 200 metre section of the main street. The accommodation properties are spread arcoss the whole township with some having views across the bay ( these are generally the most expensive ) and the rest basically priced accoring to the view and quality of accomodation. The main tourist attraction - 12 Apostles and Loch Ard etc. are located about 7 − 12 kilometres away, so it is worth keeping in mind, that despite the fact that every accommodation property has pictures of the 12 Apostles in their advertising brochures, you won’t see them from your room.
Port Campbell is quite small so just about everything is within walking distance and the beach at Port Campbell is quite sheltered and offers a safe swimming location
For more information on Port Campbell Click Here
Photo above- The small bay at Port Campbell taken during November - In the next few weeks the beach will be quite crowded as the number of visitors to Port Campbell increases.
In This Issue Whale Watching The local whale season is now in full swing with with six to eight whales sighted at Logan's beach last weekend. With spring on it way the sightings will only get better More....... Warrnambool
The largest town in the South West but is it too big?. and has it lost its personal touch? - we look at these questions and - More.... Hopkins river in full flow Following recent winter rains, Hopkins Falls are at their most spectacular in the last 15 years. Recent upgrades to the car parking and tracks around the falls make this local attraction even more tourist friendly More..... Apollo Bay Bustling and busy and full of Melbourne visitors wanting to escape the rush of the city - can you have a quiet holiday in Apollo Bay? More..... Summer Holidays December to March is the busy holiday season along the South West Coast with many seaside towns increasing the population by as much as 600%.
Booking Inquiry Service
Instead of searching dozens of web sites - fill in the form below and we will contact all of our accommodation providers and get them to contact you directly with their best deals