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
Cliff Young Still Making News
Beechworth potato farmer, Cliff Young captured the imagination of the Australian public in 1983 when at the age of 61 he won the inaugural Sydney to Melbourne marathon, now some 30 years later the ABC have produced a movie entitled “Cliffy” which details the life of this very unassuming man. The movie will be premiered at the Colac theatre on the 24th of May and will be screen on the ABC on the 26th of May (2013)
The 1983, the Sydney-to-Melbourne marathon was run over 875 kilometers (544 miles) and the runners were expected to take six or seven days to complete the course. A first prize of $10,000 was on offer and it attracted a strong field of professional marathoners with corporate backing.
Cliffy showed up on the morning of the race with holes cut in his pants for ventilation, and with no teeth. (Young said his false teeth rattled when he ran.) however five days later Cliffy crossed the finishing line some 10 hours in front of his nearest rival and had destroyed the field of professional runners in this gruelling 875 kilometer event.
Young took his $10,000 prize and then doled it out to the other finishers, keeping none for himself.
The entire nation responded to Cliffy triumph and for some time the media tried to capitalise on his achievements and despite his very humble upbringing he managed to maintain his dignity despite being thrust into the spotlight
Cliffy went of to compete in a number of other ultra marathons during the 1980’s and then disappeared from the media spotlight for a number of years. In 1997 Cliffy regained prominence when he attempted to become the oldest man to run the 16,000 kilometers around Australia, which he had to abandon due to his lone crew member becoming seriously ill.
In subsequent years he moved to Queensland where he lived with his former manager Helen Powers and her twin daughters Bridgette and Paula. He enjoyed walks along the beach and tended a vegetable garden at his new home until ill-health struck him in 2003 when he suffered several strokes. He died in November 2003 at the age of 81
The ABC movie is expected to create some interest in the region especially the town of Beech Forest, where Cliffy was born and raised. The small township of Beech Forest is located between Colac and Apollo Bay and in the centre of the Otways rain forest region of Victoria. There is a small memorial to Cliff Young in the centre of the town (pictured above) which is single gum boot and relates to the fact the Cliff Young would train by running around their property herding sheep in gum boots. This was quickly seized on by the media and Cliffy’s distinctive running style was branded the Gum Boot Shuffle
Photos supplied by mattinbgn
Early Start to the Whale Season The whale watching season seems to be off to an early start with the sighting of a humpback whale in Lady Bay on Sunday (31st March) and the first reported sighting of a Southern Right whale occurring in Portland last Tuesday (2nd April) and the whale watching centre in Victor Harbour(South Australia ) has also reported an early sightings of a Southern Right whale close to Boomer beach near Port Elliot.
Locally there hasn't been much to see at the Logan's beach whale lookout but that hasn't detered visitor from spending time at this popular lookout.
Photo above - Sunny conditions at the Logan's beach whale lookout over the weekend
Apollo Bay The township of Apollo Bay is built around a single main street which runs parallel to the beach with shops and restaurants on one side and a grassed park on the opposite side and the beach just behind a row on sand dunes. Apollo Bay has a number of Motels, B&B’s and backpacker style accommodation but the main accommodation in the town is two and three bedroom holiday rentals houses. This has been the result of the buoyant economic conditions of the last 20 years and the overcrowding in places like Lorne and Torquay. Large numbers of Melbourne investors were enticed into building holiday homes in the less crowded town of Apollo Bay. This has created something of an investment boom in the town and also revived the rest of the accommodation industry in the region. It has also created something of a set of different circumstances for accommodation bookings. Because of the large number of absentee landlords and the task of servicing accommodation for a short stay being difficult, and it is not unusual to see 7 night minimum bookings for houses in and around Apollo Bay. For more information on Apollo Bay click here
Photo above- The main beach at Apollo Bay is protected by a breakwater / marina and provides safe swimming on the western end of the beach
Port Fairy Port Fairy is one of the oldest towns in the region with its history dating back to 1835 and the first settlement of Victoria. It also has a personality of its own and possibly best described as a very Arts and Crafts feel. There are numerous antique stores around the town and the town holds a number of related functions during the year including book fairs, antique exhibitions with the most famous being the Port Fairy Folk Festival which is staged on the Labour day weekend in March each year. The main town shopping centre is located about 2 kilometres away from the beach and like many other towns in the region there is virtually accommodation “right on the beach” ( apart from a handful of tightly held private properties with very old titles)
The main beach (East Beach) is a wide strip of sand that runs almost to Warrnambool and one of Port Fairies main summertime attractionsFor more information on Port Fairy click here
Photo above- The Moyne river provides safe mooring for a number of boat owners across the region as well as a small fleet of fishing boats. This is a popular picnic spot at virtually any time of year
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
The whales are on their way and although it will be about 6 to 8 weeks before they arrive in Warrnambool, we have already started to prepare for their arrival. The Whale page has been updated and we will keep the page updated with news and sightings as they come to hand
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.