Thursday, January 28, 2010

South West Victoria Road Trip

This past weekend, it was time to check out the south west corner of Victoria, a place where we have never been. Despite a slightly rainy start, it turned into a pretty beautiful weekend once we got a bit west of town.

It was Australia Day on Tuesday, so many folks made a four day weekend of it. We did have some fears about crowds, but generally, this wasn't a problem.

Our first start was a random drive up Mount Rouse, which really isn't all that big, but offered a reasonable view into the countryside (at least for the effort). You could even see the Grampians from side.

Onward to Portland. I think I had high expectations for the town that just weren't met. Nearly everything in town was closed at 3pm on a Saturday. Nice enough place, but just nothing going on. So it was on to Cape Bridgewater, which was lovely.

There was a tremendous wind farm on the cape, and you could get amazingly close to the windmills. Personally, I think windmills are very cool, so this was a pretty cheap thrill for me.

At the very south end of the cape, there is a petrified forest and a set of blow holes in the sea. Both are a bit disingenuous.

The forest is not actually a petrified forest, it was formed by erosion fueled by mineral deposits. Still pretty sweet rock formations.

We didn't get a lot of action out of the blow holes. Perhaps this had something to do with tides, but it seemed to me to be largely just waves crashing on rocks. It was beautiful, but not quite what I expected.

After an aborted journey down a dirt road due to some sand issues (we were in the Corolla), we made out way to the Swan Lake campground, in the Discovery Bay Maritime Park. Upon our arrival, we were a bit concerned as there were about 100 people camped in the dune buggy club area. Despite being a bit nervous about them, they were great neighbors to the three of us in the regular camp area. The campground was waaaaay down in a dune though, and I think we would have problems in the 2wd if it was raining.

Sunday, we continued west until we hit the SA border. It was really pretty out there, in that great plains kind of way. I was really bummed that we had to turn around. Alas, life beckoned on Monday.

But, our return trip was not without scenery. We meandered through the Lower Glenelg National Park, which has a moderate sized gorge that was cut by a river. The river was a wide, lazy affair that would make a good place to take a canoe. Plenty of wallabies and birds to keep us entertained between stops.

We then opted to return via the Grampians national park, but through a section where we had never been, on the southeast side. It wasn't as scenic as the northern part of the park, but it was really pretty and really quiet. It would make for some excellent riding. We did have lunch at a lovely lake that was surrounded by mountains.

And after that, it was a straight shot home, just in time for dinner. Another successful road trip.

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