23rd – 30th March 2017: Meredith to Port Fairy

Departing Stawell around 9.45am, we drove through Ararat, surrounded by farmlands dotted with sheep and cattle, very pretty countryside.  Through Beaufort to Lake Burrumbeet, our planned stopped for the next few nights.  The first warning bells started ringing when we noticed all the tyre re-treads littering the road verge, then the copious amounts of rubber laid along the entry road to the site.  Lake Burrumbeet itself is quite picturesque, but also quite isolated and the road in very obviously used as a racetrack and burn out site for the locals.

Back on the road we drove through Lake Clear, and Buninyong still surrounded by farms, alpaca, sheep and cattle.  We stopped for lunch in a roadside rest area then continued on to the small town of Meredith about 40 kilometres north of Geelong.  In the centre of town alongside the sporting ground is Pioneer Park, natural bushland with a kid’s playground, exercise equipment and a designated free camp area.  Perfect!  We set-up and settled in.

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Early the following morning a lady from the nearby farm knocked on our door. She welcomed us, then gave us a run down on the town and surrounds, what to do and where to go.  We walked this very pretty town, met and spoke with some of the friendly locals and shopkeepers, then stopped for morning tea at the Back Creek Café.  This café is a training centre for students of a Geelong Christian College.  The students also stay and work at the Back Creek Farm learning the processes of food from farm to plate.  Our morning tea was delicious and the students polite, friendly and very informative about the Back Creek Project and their experiences.

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The stand out of our next day’s drive was the amount of dry-stone walling around paddocks and homesteads.  Very old world and lovely to see!

Next stop Barwon Heads; the Caravan Park and location used for the ABC’s ‘Sea Change’ series.  The caravan park is located on the beach side of the Barwon River mouth, very close to town and we thought very family orientated with friendly staff.  We’d stay there again.  We walked along the foreshore boardwalk; identifying the ‘Sea Change’ properties Diver Dan’s Boatshed, Laura’s Beach House, Kev’s Caravan Park and Kev and Trev’s Spot.  It was fun reminiscing the series, although photos weren’t always possible as most of the buildings were tenanted.

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Day 2 we visited historic Queenscliff, the Fort, Black and White Lighthouses and the main street of town.

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Then on to Port Lonsdale, the lighthouse, and the canon bunkers of which only remnants remain.

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The day we departed Barwon Heads the weather was glorious, sunny and a warm 29°.  As we drew ever closer to our destination Lake Colac, the wind kicked in growing stronger by the minute.  By the time we had set-up the wind was howling and the black clouds were rolling in.  The storm lasted a couple of hours but by 4pm the wind had dropped to a light breeze and the sun was shining.  What a beautiful spot, massive lake, no fish but lots of very happy campers parked up along the grassy banks.

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Day 2 we visited the Red Rock Lookout, which has glorious views over farmland, the town and what looks like undulating hills but are in fact dormant volcano craters.  We also visited the town of Colac wandered their shops and purchased some ‘bargains’.

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Next Stop, Port Fairy another of our favourites.  The drive was through quite green pastures dotted with sheep, cows, deer and horses.  Some beautifully preserved homes with magnificent rose gardens; I’m sure there must be a garden competition in this area and the competition would be fierce.  Our camp being, Gum Tree Caravan Park about 4 kilometres east of Port Fairy.  A small park privately owned by the very friendly and helpful, Viv and Peter.  The weather was a bit unpredictable the day we visited Port Fairy and our walk around Griffiths Island cut short by pounding seas, wind and heavy rain.  Never mind we walked the town’s main streets, checking out the sales and op shops for bargains, none of which we found. Then headed to The Stump for a home cooked lunch.  Me roast of the day and Derick Korma Lamb, it was yum.

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The afternoon weather was fine, cold and sunny so we visited the wharf area, walked along the boardwalk and soaked up the ambience of this very pretty town.  The town lookout was also the site of cannon bunkers during the early settlement years with picturesque views over the Tasman Sea.

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