A Travellerspoint blog

The Beautiful Mornington Peninsular

sunny 26 °C

Our next stop after the great ocean road along the south coast of Australia was the Mornington Peninsular. We had read it was a beautiful area full of clear calm waters and amazing produce and it didn't disappoint. The coast line in this area is stunning, it reminded us of the Mediterranean, with its clear, still, bright blue seas.
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We spent a few days exploring and camped on the beach on a council site before Sorrento on the foreshore.
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The camp site was a little grassy patch about five steps from the beach and we enjoyed cooking on our little stove next to the beach at sunset and enjoying a nice cold beer on the sand. The sea here is amazing, shallow and still as a mill pond and the tide recedes leaving pools of warm water.
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It was so nice to enjoy the warm sea after a long drive.
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The town Mornington is also very nice, it has a beautiful harbour and a cute little town but we thought Sorrento was more beautiful.
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It has old stone buildings, small cafes and quirky shops as well as stunning seas and beaches. It reminded us a little of Europe and we enjoyed drinking coffee and eating homemade scones in a really cute cafe garden.
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Across the peninsular is Cape Schanck, here is the most spectacular lookouts of the coastline and seas and further on at the end of the Cape is a lighthouse and a nice boardwalk that takes you down the cliffs to spot for seals.
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Inland from the sea is a hive of amazing produce and wineries, beautiful rolling hills and roadside stalls. The peninsular is also the ferry point to Phillip Island which is an island with a little penguin colony on it. It is a beautiful section of the country and unbelievable how close it is to the city as it feels millions of miles away. If you don't want to drive all the way around you can also get a ferry across to Queenscliff, the start of the Great Ocean Road but we wanted to drive the length of the peninsular to take in the small towns and sights.

Posted by Chelsandliam 17:32 Archived in Australia Tagged australia sorrento mornington mornington_peninsular Comments (0)

The Amazing Great Ocean Road

its all about the views

all seasons in one day

After leaving The Grampians we drove straight down to the coast for the start of the Great Ocean Road, through dairy country, starting at a place called Warranbool. The scenery around this area is very pastoral, and we stopped at a place called Tower Hill For a picnic lunch. Here is a small park with bush walks, nature and wildlife. It was here that we saw our first wild koala nestled up a big gum tree.
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There was so much wildlife walking around, and we loved the little stripy emu babies and the big bushy adult emus waltzing through the woods.
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We had a walk before lunch, climbing to the top of a hill for a great view of the area and then sat at a picnic bench overlooking a lake to eat our sandwiches.
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After our little lunch and wildlife break we joined The Great Ocean Road, an iconic road that we had been looking forward to seeing since arriving in Melbourne. The road is actually the biggest war memorial in the world as it was built by returning veterans from WW1 in 1932 in honour of those that had lost their lives. It also has great natural beauty, national parks, marine parks, lookouts along the coast as well as Australia's most famous surf beach, Bells beach which hosts the Rip Curl Pro surfing event.

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The road hugs the coast line most of the way and you could literally stop every five minutes with all the sights to see.
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Our first sight was The Bay of Islands and London Bridge, a boardwalk and lookout which has dramatic views of the jagged coast and is a 180 degree view of cliffs and seas and an archway which looks like a bridge.
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The day had flown and we decided to find a spot to sleep and decided upon Port Campbell. This had a beautiful campsite on a tidal river and was right on the beach.
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We had a sunset stroll on the sand and a nice cold beer to cool down before retiring to our snug little tent ready for a big day tomorrow.

Our second day on the road was totally epic. We started by calling at Loch And Gorge, another amazing lookout of the eroding cliffs where you can actually walk down to the beach and see the cliffs up close.
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It was a rainy but our spirits were high and the sights were beautiful.
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A little further on is the main reason why people come and see the Great Ocean Road, The Twelve Apostles. This is a series of eroded pillars which have broken away from the mainland and form a line of jagged cliffs down the coast.
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The view is breathtakingly beautiful, and in the rain and wind we could see why the coast was so heavily eroded.
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You can see for miles and it is backed by beautiful heath land and a boardwalk with viewpoints. Around this area every few kilometer is a sign for a lookout and it is hard not to call off at them all. We decided to take it slow and called at most of them for another dramatic view every time. Some you can walk down to the beach, others you peer down from the cliffs but everyone is not disappointing.
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This stretch of coast comes to a point at Cape Otway, here is a protected area of national park and is a great place for koala spotting. We took the drive slow to spot the furry cuddly marsupials and saw quite a lot but they were mostly curled up tight high in the trees.
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Here we were shocked by the amount of dead trees. Lots of the trees were bare and silver and we read a plaque that said it was unknown how the trees were dying but it meant the koalas had less and less liveable space. This area also has a rainforest walk. This is a pocket of landscape that has a different climate and so grows a pocket of rainforest. There is a boardwalk through it and the trees are totally different.
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It is bright green and wet, covered in miss and vines and lots of the trees are unbelievably tall. It is only a short circuit walk but it's like stepping tiny another little planet.
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We decided to call it a day when we got to Kennett River, a very small town which has a little campsite. This was our favourite campsite so far. It was very friendly and has nice grassy patches just a short walk across the road to a beautiful beach.
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The campsite is also home to lots of koalas and just next to our tent was one awake in the trees.
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It was the first time we had seen one so close and we even saw it climb down and run along the ground to another tree.
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It is also full of wild birds, parrots and cockatoos and you can buy bird seed to feed them but even without it they are very friendly and land on you to say hello.
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Also if you are not staying at the campsite just down the road behind it are lots of koalas hanging out in the trees but you won't be alone viewing them as it was always busy while we were staying here.

The next day was our last day on The Great Ocean Road and our first stop was Lorne. This is a well to do beach town with lots of trendy cafes and shops. We had a walk on the beach, a nice coffee and called at the bakery for a bit of something for breakfast. It s a nice town to have a walk around and the beach is also very nice but we preferred the more rugged, natural beauty of other spots along the road than manicured Lorne.

Just past here is the Memorial Arch which commemorates the soldiers who lost their lives and the veterans who actually built the road and it leads to another stunning white beach.
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Another beautiful spot of natural beauty along this coast is Aireys Inlet.
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Here you can walk up to the lighthouse for lovely views of the coast and the inlet has calm waters and white sands to relax by. It's a really pretty spot especially on a nice sunny day.
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This end of the road is more about the beach lifestyle than the dramatic cliffs and Anglesey, bells beach and Torquay all have really nice beaches and clear seas. We stayed our last night at Torquay and enjoyed drinking cold beers on the seafront and eating fish and chips out of the paper.
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The Great Ocean Road has it all, it is a dramatic and beautiful spot where the road hugs the coast for gorgeous views. It passes through lovely little towns and stunning beaches and bumping into Australian wildlife along the way is the icing on the cake. Our only advice is don't try and do it in one day. Lots of people try and do it in one day from Melbourne but we think it deserves so much more time and there is so much to see to fully enjoy it.

Posted by Chelsandliam 23:49 Archived in Australia Tagged great_ocean_road cape_otway australia torquay lorne apollo_bay port_campbell kennett_river aireys_inlet Comments (0)

Camping in the Grampians

stargazing, mountain climbing and meeting our first kangaroo.

sunny 25 °C

With our new camping supplies purchased and packed into our new car, Bruce we were on the road ready for our first Australian adventure. We decided to drive up to the Grampians National Park, an area not too far away in Victoria. We only drove for a short time and had already left the city behind and could see farmlands, wineries and countryside. It was a lovely easy drive. We arrived by the afternoon and stopped at the visitor centre for information and to book and pay for a piece of grass for a few nights. There are a few campsites to choose from but we opted for Wannon Crossing Campground. It had a compost toilet, a fire pit and was in a lovely spot and was only $12.30 A night. We collected some leaflets of things to do in the area and set of for our campsite.

It was a beautiful secluded spot, with one other tent. It was shaded by giant gum trees and it was so relaxing after living in the city for three months.

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We pitched up our tiny little tent and decided we would walk up Mt William that evening in time to see the sunset.

You can drive most of the way up the mountain and then you walk the last 3.6km.

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It is a steep climb but it is so worth it when you get to the top.

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There are jar dropping 360 degree views that look over the national park from 1167m high, Hills of bright green trees, flat plains and mountains as far as you can see.

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It is beautiful. We admired the view for a long time but decided to come back down before it was dark as we had not brought a torch to the top with us.

When we got back to our campsite we made some dinner on our tiny stove and as it went dark we were greeted with the most spectacular night sky either of us had ever seen.

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With no light pollution around the sky in the Grampians is amazing, there is more stars than we have ever seen in our whole lives.

The next day we decided to get back out and do some more walking. We drove to a starting point and walked up The Piccaninny Trail. It was a gentle 2.4km climb to the top of a ridge but the route was really pleasant. The landscape was totally new to us and there were lots of Australia grass trees and big gum trees.

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The gum trees are beautiful. The barks strips down naturally to form a sort of naked tree. The different types of gum trees have different colours, some look camouflaged while others look like creamy naked skin and they stand hugely tall.

At the top we were greeted with another beautiful view of Mount Abupt and the surrounding pastoral landscape and we sat in the quiet for a long time just enjoying it.

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Whilst been in the Grampians we have also seen our first Australian Wildlife. We have seen Cockatoos and wallabies and a one point in the middle of the night a big animal leaned on our tent and sat on Liam's head, we are assuming it was a wallaby but we didn't get out to check as we could hear a lot of movement going on out there and a little growling.

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We have also seen our first wild emus, a family with adult and small babies running in the fields next to the road which was amazing.

The rest of our time in the Grampians has been spent just enjoying the time outside. The landscape is an Australian landscape we expected, long roads and bush lands, kangaroos very little people around.

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We have relaxed by our tent a lot and we visited one of the tiny local towns for supplies. It is a really beautiful part of Victoria and have absolutely loved our time here.

Posted by Chelsandliam 01:58 Archived in Australia Tagged australia grampians grampians_national_park Comments (1)

Our Melbourne Favourites

Three months working in the amazing city of Melbourne

all seasons in one day

We arrived on our working holiday visa in Melbourne in the middle of September on a 9 degree, drizzly day, cold and tired, sharing a 6 bed dorm, wondering why did we fly to the other side of the world to be in a grey city that looks like England. Melbourne...... We realised was a grower, which we grew to absolutely adore!

Within a few days we had cafe jobs, had found a beautiful CBD apartment room to rent and had started to explore the city. It turns out Melbourne is pretty special and is an amazing place to live for a while, these were our favourite things about the city and its surroundings.

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There is always something to do, no matter what time of day of night you can always find something fun to do. Within walking distance you have world class restaurants, shopping, cute cafes, quirky bars, nightclubs, rooftop terraces, street food, outdoor entertainment, galleries and museums. Everywhere is vibrant and modern, shops and cafes are pushing the boundaries, there are amazing art installations, protests and buskers, there is always something exciting to see or do.

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The War memorial
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A picnic at the botanical gardens
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The street art is out of this world.

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Everywhere within the city, the graffiti art has been embraced and is now a huge draw point for the city. It's a real adventure to seek it out, down lane ways and alleys.

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The lane ways themselves are beautiful. The tiny shops and cafes, the architecture and the cobbles are charming. There is always a secret place to find in Melbourne's lane ways.

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St Kilda is a tram away from the city and it has its own hidden gem.

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It is a charming seaside town with a beautiful white sand beach, ice cold sea and a lovely wooden Boardwalk to stroll down, calling and beachfront bars of cafes.

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It has its own pier with a cafe at the end with a great view of the nearby CBD. The charm in St Kildas crown however arrives at sunset. St Kilda has its own colony of little penguins, the smallest penguin in the penguin family which nests in the rocks off the pier. At sunset the adults return from sea to feed there babies which are snuggled in the rocks. It is the cutest and least expected thing to do when visiting Melbourne.

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These tiny little penguins are the most wonderful little things and to see them in the wild is such an honour. If your visiting Melbourne seeing these little guys is a must do for anyone of any age.

Also close by, a bus ride away is Brighton. This is a lovely curve of beach lined with famous colourful beach huts.

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From here you can walk all the way down to St Kilda on a coastal walk which is an easy and very pleasant beach stroll.

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Another great point of Melbourne is Victoria Markets. This is a permanent market just outside the CBD which offers hand made goods, fresh fruit and veg, a huge deli, meat, fish as well as cafes and a food court.

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It is absolutely vast and the quality and diversity of what is on offer is amazing. Also during the summer months the market open on a Wednesday night for one of the best night markets we have been to. There are countless food and drink stalls, live music and gifts to buy. It is a world class market that any food lover should attend.

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And last but not least the diversity. Melbourne has the biggest population of Greeks outside Greece and the biggest Chinatown outside China, as well as countless other backgrounds and ethnicities.

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This makes for a huge melting pot of traditions. China town has some of the best and cheapest food in Melbourne and every corner offers a new cuisine to try.

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As you can tell we grew to absolutely love Melbourne and can hundred percent see why it was voted the worlds most liveable city.

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We decided to say here and work for three months before moving on to see more of Australia. There was just one downside to living in the city....... We missed seeing the stars, which is why as soon as we left we decided to go straight into the countryside, into our first bush camping adventure.... The Grampians.

Posted by Chelsandliam 16:00 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne australia st_kilda brighton victoria_markets Comments (0)

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