Page 123: Torquay
|Moving on east to torquay and the end of the great ocean road.|
|Which would you choose, this picture showing the
Split Point Lighthouse near Torquay with the old blacksmith's
shop, or the picture below? We couldn't decide so we included both. The blacksmith's shop is now a café.
|Split Point Lighthouse, Aireys Inlet, near Torquay.|
|The lighthouse boasted its own 'apostle' and its carpark had a most peculiar sign. Ever seen this road sign?|
At Pam's request we called at Bells Beach on the way to see the Split Point Lighthouse. She tells me that Bells Beach is a world renowned surf beach where international competitions are held. According to one Internet site, the waves can reach five metres but average three to four metres. We stood on a viewing platform high above the beach and froze in the biting wind so we could get these pictures, just for you. Here's four of about fifty, mostly the same.
|There were six of them out there but the one riding the wave seemed to be the only one with much skill.|
|He raced down the wave face . . .|
|. . . curved round and headed up the almost vertical wall of water and . . .|
|. . . lost his board and became airborne.|
The Great Ocean Road terminates in Torquay. This incredible road is, for much of its length, cut out of steep cliffs above the ocean. It was built by men with picks and shovels a great many years ago. What a feat! It's a bitch to tow a heavy caravan along if the road is busy, but credit to the road builders, it's a marvel. It's also pretty scary; signs warned us to drive carefully because of falling rocks. If a rock is destined to land on your car or caravan, does it matter how carefully you drive? And anybody who doesn't drive carefully all the time on this particular road is asking for trouble. Note to navigators: Don't keep saying "Look at that!" to the driver.
We were lucky in that we travelled on a quiet Tuesday in winter and nothing caught us up for about sixty kilometres so we didn't have to accommodate any overtakers.
Anyway, here we are in Torquay and, truth be told, we're not especially fond of the place. The weather and the caravan park undoubtedly have a bearing on that.
The weather we just have to accept, but the caravan park shower block has buttons outside each shower stall which, when pressed, allows the hot water to flow for four minutes, then cuts off abruptly leaving the cold water running! Signs tell us that the button must only be pressed once per shower. In your dreams, Mr. Park Owner.
There's also a "Dump Point" which is locked! For the benefit of those unfortunate enough not to have enjoyed the delights of caravan life, the dump point is where we empty our caravan toilet's waste tank. Many caravanners use chemicals in their flush tanks and waste tanks, hence the need for a special disposal.
This particular park dump point has a lid which is secured with a large padlock; should we want to use it we have go to the park office and request the key, returning it afterwards. Not a great nuisance but an irritation never-the-less. What does the management think is worth stealing in an underground tank full of . . . well, you can imagine?
But enough bitching, the staff here are lovely and very friendly. The south side of the park looks straight onto the beach. The north side has a pub across the road. What more could we want? Sunshine, perhaps. Pam could use some in the photo below.
|Pam trying out Torquay's Analemmatic Sundial - without
To Pam's friends: She used the "Paintshop Pro 9" weight loss programme.
On this sundial you stand on the current month which is written on the slightly raised platform (called the 'analemma' and shaped like the soul of a large shoe). Your shadow then points to the time. Pam is actually facing in the opposite direction in the picture. The sundial is beautifully made of mosaic tiles and includes images of the land, sea and sky. Embossed native fauna stand out from the mosaic. The analemma platform forms the body of a large eagle, its wings depicted in mosaic tiles.
|Had the sun been good enough to shine we could have demonstrated the time. Can you make out the fish, birds and mammals? Reptiles too, perhaps.|
Local artists worked on the mosaic designs and Ian Sells, also of Torquay, calculated the angles and measurements. The sundial is accurate to within a few minutes. I wonder how many hours of painstaking work went into the construction of this beautiful artefact which is made up of over 120,000 glass tiles, or tesserae? It deserves better recognition than it seems to be getting. We learned of it from the Tourist Information Centre and knew where to look but even so we had difficulty in finding it.
|Yet another lighthouse. Point Lonsdale Lighthouse
isn't just a relic. It bristles with antennae
and has two rotating radar scanners. Adjacent is a building housing a foghorn.
|This is one serious foghorn! It is powered by a
Gardner diesel driving a compressor which pressurises two enormous air tanks.
The horn can be heard for over 12 kilometres and is synchronised with the light on the lighthouse so any mariner hearing it in fog can identify it as coming from Point Lonsdale. The inset sign speaks for itself. But . . . the foghorn is now decommissioned. Shame.
|You trust me, don't you? Pam won't believe that this is a fossilised whale.|
|That's the trouble with unbelievers,
they can't see what's in front of their eyes. Try telling these two kids
that a perfectly
camouflaged sea monster was about to pounce and they would think you were mad. A sudden dart and it's all over.
Another second and she'll be swallowed whole . . . and the lad will turn around and wonder what happened to her.
|In the distance we could see the car ferries crossing the entrance to Port Phillip Bay from Sorrento to Queenscliff, totally oblivious to the drama being played out near the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, so Pam made me swallow two Sane Pills and we hopped into the car and went for a closer look.|
|We watched the ferry "Queenscliff" complete
loading, close her bow doors and reverse - sorry, go astern.
To avoid driving all around Port Phillip Bay, including through Geelong and Melbourne, you just drive onto a ferry.