Melbourne

Port Fairy to Melbourne is about 3.5 to 4 hours of driving. We had no need reach Melbourne earlier than 5 pm so we had time to spare for exploring on the way. There was no real plan beyond not revisiting places already visited on this trip unless that was unavoidable.

Breakfast was easy using the makings provided with our accommodation. We had muesli with fruit and yoghurt followed by toast with honey or marmalade along with plunger coffee. By 8:45 am we were on our way after a quick call to our host about where to leave the key. 

Of necessity the first few kilometres were back over road we drove yesterday afternoon. As I drove past the turn to the road around Tower Hill Majella noticed the sign to Koroit with mention of historic Irish village. Our turn as indicated by Maps was just ahead and also included Koroit among its listed destinations. 

We took the turn and did the necessary backtracking to reach Koroit. There were several old and interesting buildings in the main street but we saw no mention of historic or Irish. Majella found the tourist information in a local bakery but it was an unstaffed subsidiary of the one in Port Fairy. Failing to find more about the historic Irish we resumed our journey, admiring more old buildings as we left town.

As we left Port Fairy Majella had expressed interest in seeing the wool factory at Warrnambool. It was not on our itinerary and after a moment she decided that she would be going there to buy wool she did want. On our drive we were now seeing the countryside that produces the wool. 

For the next hour or so we drove through the prime grazing country of the Victorian Western District. The grass was lush green and tall enough for sheep to disappear among it. The sheep and cattle we saw looked to be well fed and many were resting since they had no need to search for food. There were many plastic wrapped rolls of hay scattered or stacked in fields. It was very different from anything we have seen recently in Queensland or New South Wales and reminded us more of New Zealand.

We passed through Woolsthorpe and Mortlake. Along the way we saw many examples of dry stone walls. Majella googled and found they were a feature of the Corangamite volcanic plains which had been scattered with rocks that provided the raw material. Building the walls required skilled labour which had a cost but the materials were free because the land needed to be cleared of rocks for farming.

Between Mortlake and Camperdown we passed through Noorat. As we drove in we saw on a sign that it was the birthplace of Alan Marshall, author of ‘I can jump puddles’. We paused briefly outside the house where he was born and read a little more detail before driving on.

By the time we reached Camperdown around 10:30 am we were in need of fuel for the car and late for our morning coffee. We bought fuel on the way into town and easily found a park in the main street. There were multiple coffee shops and we selected one attached to a bakery. To accompany our coffees Majella had an apple danish and I had a coffee scroll. Both were good, as was the coffee.

On the way back to the car Majella deviated into the Pharmacy and Shoe Shop. That seemed an odd combination but it was effective. Majella walked away with a new pair of yellow shoes with fancy cutouts.

As we drove out of Camperdown we saw a sign to Mount Leura Lookout. The drive was further than we expected and climbed up to the rim of a long extinct volcano. Unlike a typical volcano this was not a single crater or cone but a maar, which is a low volcano with smaller volcanos within it. The lookouts at either end of the carpark afforded all round views over the green countryside to the lakes.

We had decided to drive to Triplet Falls (named for the three streams that appear when there is sufficient flow) in the Great Otway National Park. It is accessed from the northern side rather than the southern part where we drove from Apollo Bay yesterday. Maps plotted a route that bypassed Colac via a shortcut but Majella wanted a look so we drove through and took a pass by the lake before going on south. As in other towns there were many interesting old buildings.

One end of the Triplet Falls loop was closed because of storm damage but the other end was open as far as the lookout. It took us a bit less than the estimated hour to walk both ways and admire the falls. The forest was tall straight eucalypts with an understory of tree ferns. The falls were impressive and there had been sufficient rain for all three streams to be running strongly.

On the way out from the falls we stopped at Otway Fly, the treetop walk and zip line experience, in search of lunch. That required a 300 m walk each way from the car park but they were out of most things so our effort was wasted. Instead we managed to find pies and soft drink at the Ferguson store near the junction with the Colac- Lavers Hill road on our way back.

From there we drove on to Melbourne. We paused at Winchelsea to change drivers so that Majella could drive into the city while I navigated. Traffic was heavy but we arrived in good time.