South Australia 2017 Day 9 – Port Fairy to Robe – Tower Hill Reserve & Blue Lake

Woke up at just before 5 as K was asking for milk. Made it in the cold dark room. Other than the warmed mattress, there wasn’t any other source of heat. Quickly got back into bed to get warm and sleep.

The cold was just making everyone so lethargic. Even myself as a early bird didn’t wake up till it was over 7, couldn’t care less about the sun rise whatsoever as I didn’t like the frigid cold. Or maybe it was also fatigue that contributed to overstaying in bed.

Finally when mommy woke to start her daily routine, and I trying to complete my blog, that’s when we started to get things going and packing. The sunshine that shorn through the windows seemed to provide some heat relief to us and warmed up the rooms a bit. As we picked up on the activities, it felt a little better.

View from the patio
View from the room
Moyne river panorama

K was well asleep till almost 10, even after raising the curtains. I got most of the stuff packed and some things preloaded into the car. Mommy microwaved the pizza for breakfast and we caught a little of reality TV called Mystery Diners that was quite interesting. When K finally woke, he looked pretty well rested and was behaving nicely and walking around and playing with the rooms toys.

After a small struggle to changed K’s diapers and pyjamas into clothes to go out in, we got into the car and left at about 1030am, leaving the keys at where we found them and a Airbnb message to inform of our departure. Then we drove 30mins to Tower Hill reserve, where we could see wildlife. K had his banana flavored bread which he liked it while on the way there.

Upon reaching, we entered a single lane road that went downhill and some curves before reaching a public carpark. Immediately near to the BBQ area we saw an Emu loitering around. Went close to have a look and then proceeded to the nearby map to see what we could do. Choose a trekking circuit route, Wagon Bay circuit, that would take about 30mins and following the signs, we were off.

Tower hill map
Wild emu
Up close with the emu
Taking the wagon bay loop

Carrying K with one arm was rather tiring as we walked on dirt track damped from the morning dew. There wasn’t anything to see (or couldn’t spot anything) except for 4 emus out in the open at the beginning of the circuit near the information center. The lake view was kinda ugly and so was the surrounding near the track. Made the best of it and had K sitting on my shoulders and we were playing “crashing” into the trees that generated lots of laughter.

More wild emus in the grassland
Walking path

We didn’t take long to walk around the circuit after which we walked to the visitors center where it was stated that animals such as koalas, echidna and kangaroos could be seen too, at this crater formed park. After we were done with the visit, we left for the carpark.

View of the visitor center
View of the wagon bay
Inside the center
Lots of information on the wall

Mommy mentioned that koalas can be seen as reported online and I tried to find one myself but failed. Noticed somebody else pointing at the trees and I went over to shoot a photo of a lazing Koala before we drove back to Port Fairy.

Wild Koala
His butt view
View of the lake while leaving

30mins later, we arrived at a bakery in town, called the Village Bakehouse, that seemed crowded and went in to get a pie and chicken sandwich and a latte for about aud20. Then we drove to the end of the street where the visitors center was to use the toilet before embarking on a long 2 hrs drive to the Blue Lake at Mt Gambier.

Port Fairy visitor center
Small town of Port Fairy
Chicken pie for lunch

K started to ask for lunch and mommy fed K at the beginning of the drive. Drove smoothly and it was all good. K finished his food and 1 hr into the drive, he fell asleep. The rest of the journey was pretty smooth, roads were in good conditions and very straight most of the time. Other than the usual open fields and farms and the tall trees of forests, there weren’t exceptional interesting sights worth mentioning.

We arrived at Mt Gambier to find a sprawling town, unexpected that the lake was just next to the town and thought it would be in some hard to reach places. In fact, the lake water was being utilized by the town itself. We parked at one of the many viewpoints around the lake and just as K woke up, we got off to the viewpoint for photos. It was 2pm but due to a change in time zone, we actually saved half an hour traveling towards Adelaide.

The Blue lake was indeed blue but it was dependent on the colour of the skies above. At some point it looked slightly turquoise. Didn’t spend too much time and drove to another viewpoint that had a tower and I went alone to snap some photos while mommy and K stayed in the car.

Blue lake viewpoint
Another view of the blue lake
Observatory tower of the blue lake
Walking signs
Info board of the blue lake

There weren’t anymore attractions for the day and we drove towards Millicent at 3pm, a mid size town to visit the supermarket. It was about 30mins drive away and again K was pretty well behaved listening to his music on the handphone.

We arrived at the information center of Millicent and parked there to use the toilet and the a stop on the playground for K. There was huge wind turbine propeller on display, probably a town that had wind farms as their source of energy. K had fun at the small playground and found accomplishments in trying to scale the rope ladder by himself. It was a challenge to get him back to the car though. Just a few minutes drive down we parked in front of Woolworths but it was closed on Sunday.

Turbine blade
Firefighter statue
Playground at Millicent
Woolworth at Milicent

Change of plans and we drove to Robe, our place of stay for the night. It was about an hours drive. The drive was a little difficult at some point where the sun was shining into my face, making it hard to see the road in front. I was particularly worried about animals getting onto the road and would like to see as far as possible on a 110km/hr speed limit road but that made it impossible. Some parts of the drive there was  drizzle too. Luckily we drove out of the rain cloud (it was pretty obvious too as the flat surroundings exposed the whole sky above) when the road changed directions.

Along the way we saw a Kangeroo standing close to the forest. That was a first for this trip, after almost 10days on the road.

We entered Robe got into the parking lot of Guichen Bay motel and did a check in. The staff at the reception was very informative giving me all the details of the supermarket and the restaurants around on a map.

Guichen motel
Another bed

As it was still early, we drove around the small town for a look and saw the port where all the yachts were parked. Then we drove to the Foodland supermarket just opposite our motel to get groceries. K had fun with the trolleys and the swing gate till mommy finished her shopping.

Yacht at Robe
Foodland supermarket
Inside Woodland

Robe was just celebrating a Chinese festival thing (missed the fireworks that happened a day before) and had 2 Chinese restaurants. Interesting that to find Chinese influence here in this small town.

After putting in our barang barang into the room, we walked to the Robe Chinese restaurant next to the motel to have dinner. It was quite busy with at least 6 tables and we had to wait quite a bit as the restaurant seemed understaffed. K entertained himself walking around, playing with the bell on the table (and was later taken away from the staff who said it was disturbing the other customers), going through the ropes at the doorway to the toilets and touching the lion dance puppets. But he was famished and wanted to eat already. Unfortunately this wasn’t fast food.

When our food arrived, the fried rice, chicken omelette and clay pot tofu, we all digged in. The chef came out to apologise in Cantonese but it wasn’t his fault. K ate the fried rice and the egg and veg but was soon done with it while we gobbled the rice. The meal was about aud57.

Robe Chinese restaurant
Fried rice
Claypot vegetables

Went back to the cabin to bath and the usual night routine of watching videos and TV took place. Happy to have the aircon back to heat up the room and around 930pm we turned off the lights, since K was cranky due to a lack of nap time in the day.

Great Ocean Road 2017 Day 8 – Otway lightstation, 12 Apostles and the other rocks

Before 7 and I woke to make a bottle for K. He fell asleep soon after the milk and I sneaked out of the bed and the cabin, armed with only a jacket and my bag of lens. I was heading to the beach of Apollo Bay to check out the sunrise, happening just after 7am.

I made my way to the main entrance of the beach, passing through the visitors information center. There were a couple of people on the beach already, mad enough to be out there in the cold and getting a look at a specific moment in time. The skies weren’t very clear but at least when the sun came up, we could still see it. The fleeting moment came and gone and I returned after taking my pictures.

Sunrise at Apollo Bay
Another sunrise view
Coastal Motel in the day

Back on the bed, I completed my blog for the day before and did some packing before mommy woke up and started her routine. We would expect that K would be waking a little earlier since we slept early that night before but he woke up almost close to 9am. We got him changed and out of bed, a daily struggle everyday.

A rainbow on the morning we left

After loading everything into the car, and all suited up for the cold, I returned the key to the staff whom was busy with clearing the other rooms and bidded farewell at 945am. We continued the second part of the GOR, first stop was another lighthouse, Cape Otway lightstation.

As the road diverted inland and through the forest, I thought the worst of the winding roads was over. It was the same amount of winding as the road cut through the forest, now the Great Forest Road, and as we travelled on the 10km road towards the lightstation, it was even worse being bumpier due to poorer road conditions. Thankfully K survived that 40mins trip there.

It was drizzling and I had to retrieve the rain coat for K from the luggage when we parked at the car park. After that, we walked to the entrance to purchase 2 adult tickets for Aud19.5 each and took a map which revealed quite a few buildings that could be visited instead of just the lighthouse, and walked in.

Otway lightstation entrance
Map of the lightstation
Ship wreck model

The telegram house was the first building that we saw and took shelter from the cold strong wind. Spent a bit of time there mostly to shield from the cold and see the historical exhibits on display, and K being interested to spin the yarn spinner. Then we walked to the lighthouse another 5mins walk away.

Inside the telegram building
One of the rooms
Yarn spinner in one of the rooms
Telegram building

The wind was merciless as it blew strongly. We only took refuge in the lighthouse and climbed the narrow flight of steps upwards till we reached the rotating lights that were still moving (but not lighted up). There were already some people there with the staff giving a talk on the lighthouse and we looked around and went outside for a quick walk.

Path to the Otway lighthouse
Lighthouse up front
Gloomy view from Otway lighthouse

Again the wind came and we had to move  back quickly. The lighthouse got really crowded in the narrow space and we took our leave as soon as we could. K got fussy wanting to descend the steps by himself after I carried him down.

Anchor and flags

The map that was given was a little challenging to read and as the drizzle came back, we wore the rain coat for K and walked back the same route to the entrance, which was the only route. Didn’t buy anything from the souvenir shop and drove to the next location.

The highlight of the GOR, the 12 Apostles, was an hour and 15mins away. K fell asleep soon after getting onto the car and so did mommy. I drove close to the speed limit but as the drizzle came and went, and I took caution to negotiate the bends. The road improved and became wider and better as we approached the coastline.

We arrived at about 1245 and parked at the center which was situated across the road from the coastline. Thought that there was a cafeteria to have a meal but it was just a small area with a souvenir shop and a counter selling coffee. We walked across the underpass and towards the coast and the sight that met us was really beautiful with the mighty ocean waters crashing into the standing rocks. The wind was very strong too and after we took a family selfie, mommy and K went back to take shelter at the center while I spent some time exploring the 3 viewpoints around the area. It was really difficult to steady the phone or camera for panoramic shots and had to take multiple times and settled with whatever I could muster, against the wind.

12 Apostles center
12 Apostles signage
Walk path at the 12 Apostles
12 Apostles
The other 2 at the other side

I only met up with my family back at the center, the only real shelter from the cold and wind. I got myself a Latte before we took our leave. Because of the wind conditions, we dropped the thoughts of visiting the Loch Ard Gorge 5mins from there and headed straight to Port Campbell for lunch, 13mins from there.

We arrived at a very small town center and found a parking near a nicely located restaurant, 12 rocks cafe and had our lunch there, at almost 230pm. Ordered a soup with sourdough bread and a chicken salad with Quinoa for aud34. The cashier wasn’t all too friendly and had an attitude that felt like she couldn’t care less.

12 Rocks cafe
Has a view of the foreshore
Soup with sourdough
Chicken salad
12 Rocks cafe outside

K ate his lunch and had some more cake from us, a desert that mommy bought after. He was eating well. I took some time to go the pier side to take some pictures of the waters and also flying seagulls that people were throwing feed into the air to watch them glide in the wind close to the ground. Then we changed diapers for K in the restaurant toilet that had a diaper changing facility and left.

Port Campbell foreshore
Gliding seagulls
Port Campbell shore

10mins away was the London bridge, parking at the open air carpark, it was a short walk to the viewpoints. Spent some time shooting the natural arch rock formation, again a beautiful sight that I took away by getting a selfie for myself with the camera. After returning to the car, I showed he photos to mommy as both of them wanted to avoid the cold.

London bridge Pano

Another 10mins down was Bay of Martyrs, this time the carpark was just next to the view. It was quite a sight but the sun was making the pictures dark. The final viewpoint was the Bay of Islands, 5mins away. This was also a viewpoint of a large area, not visible from the carpark. After my photo taking, we proceeded to drive to Warrnambool Coles supermarket to get groceries for the night, 40mins away.

Bay of Martyrs
Bay of Islands pano

K was not too cranky, quietly listening to the apps nursery rhymes as we drove to the huge town. While at town, I saw the APCO easy shop stations again, and as usual, they had the cheapest price of Aud1.27 per liter. Filled up to full for aud28 and left for Coles.

As the road was closed for roadworks, I had to go around and that’s when we saw Target, and mommy decided to do some shopping there. We parked at the carpark opposite and proceeded into the mall. K wanted to spend some time at the kiddy ride, mommy went shopping in Target herself, a store we knew from past travels that sell stuff at really low prices.

Target at Warrnambool
Target inside the Mall

K had fun spinning the coin into a charity collection point and running up and down a straight stepless escalator until mommy was done with shopping. Then there was a walk through to Coles on the other side of the road that we took and visited one pharmacy, Artz + Kay to get some nasal decongestant. Went around the huge Coles to get the foodstuff and water and then I went to get the car to drive into the huge open space carpark to allow for easier transfer for the stuff that we bought into the car.

Artz + Kay pharmacy
Coles supermarket
Inside Coles

Then it was another 30 mins drive to our Airbnb at Port Fairy. K fell asleep as we arrived at the cottage. The landlord left the keys at a location and I found it with the help of my iPhone light as it was very dark. Went into the cottage alone to turn on all the lights and it was huge! There were 4 bedrooms, a huge kitchen, huge living room, a playroom and 2 toilets. It fell a little scary though. But the problem was also that there wasn’t a aircon unit to warm up the place. There were only a few air warmers that didn’t do much and it was just cold throughout. There was a central fireplace but I didn’t know how to set up. I didn’t want to smoke out the place.

Master bedroom
Guest room 1
Kitchen with dining room
Guestroom 2
Toilet 2
Living room

Mommy cooked fried rice for everyone and we had the dinner in the living room. K was playing with the new Paw Petrol toy that mommy bought from Target and with crayons that we bought along. He also played with some of the toys in the playroom but there weren’t much toys there to begin with.

We proceeded to bath in the bathroom where it seemed to be the warmest place in the house. K had stayed in the bathroom for a while due to constipation and after bathing and getting dressed there, I quickly put him onto the bed as there was internal mattress heating which I already set up to warm up the bed.

As K watched his YouTube on our data plan, as there weren’t any Wifi, we bathed and got ready for bed. Turned the heat to low to prevent being too hot under the sheets, we turned off the lights at about 11pm. It was a cold night.

Escape to Victoria & South Australia April 2017

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Victoria & South Australia 2017:

Total duration 16D15N
Melbourne is 2hrs ahead of Singapore. Flight time is 7hrs 25mins on Scoot from Singapore to Melbourne.
Adelaide is 1.5hrs ahead of Singapore. Return is 7hrs on Singapore Airlines from Adelaide to Singapore.

Flight from Singapore to Melbourne at 115am, arriving at 1040am in Melbourne. Return flight from Adelaide to Singapore is at 910am and touching down in Singapore at 310pm.

Day 0-1 – Arrival in Melbourne and R&R
Day 2 – Victoria Market, Federation Square and Newquay promenade
Day 3 – Melbourne to Belgrave, Puffing Billy train ride
Day 4 – Belgrave to Squeaky beach and overnight at Phillip Island
Day 5 – Inverloch, the Caves beach and Penguin Parade
Day 6 – From Phillip Island to Queenscliff Big4 Beacon Resort
Day 7 – Coogoorah Park, Split Point lighthouse and Koala spotting
Day 8 – Otway lightstation, 12 Apostles and the other rocks
Day 9 – Port Fairy to Robe – Tower Hill Reserve and the Blue Lake
Day 10 – Robe to Victor Harbour – Kingston Lobster, Meningie and Victor Central
Day 11 – From Victor Habour to Kangaroo Island Emu bay – R&R
Day 12 – Flinders Chase National Park and Vivonne bay
Day 13 – Raptor Domain and Seal bay
Day 14 – Arrival in Glenelg, harbour town outlet shopping and Beachouse
Day 15 – Botanic Gardens and Rundle Mall
Day 16 – Home Sweet Home

This trip was planned to as one of our annual trip for 2017. There were 2 days of public holiday in May and therefore to maximize the usage of our leave, we chose to do it at this time of the year. Torn between the choices of going to Central Europe and South Australia, we ended up with SA because of the ease of logistics arrangements.

Budget – Not cheap.

Costs of food were expensive since food court was not usual in towns outside the main cities. Costs of accommodation were not cheap either especially when we need a kitchen to cook. Fuel was thankfully way cheaper than Singapore and with the not too bad exchange rate, costs were balanced out.

Complexity – Easy with GPS downloaded into the phone in a car

The initial traveling plan was to drive around with a data enabled phone but since we could actually download the google map onto the phone, we didn’t need data at all! Paved roads most of the time was easy to drive though some of them were a little bumpy for an Elantra. Signboards were everywhere. Since attractions were far from one place to another, driving would be the best option for a family traveling from one spot to another.