Albert and Annie Say:

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. ~ Maya Angelou.

     

      Pam's Journal For August 2010

     
  Sunday 1st August 2010  
 

We awoke to pouring rain, so . . . do we go or stay? The decision was made and we got ready between showers. We were finally ready to hit the road at 10.20am so it wasn’t too bad. We had a very short journey and arrived at Port Fairy in plenty of time to set up camp before lunch. It would seem we brought the rain with us as not long after lunch the heavens opened and it poured down. Now we discover the front window is leaking big time and water has poured in, finding its way into the cupboards. Well, I did say I wanted to start cleaning out cupboards and drawers.

 
     
  Monday 2nd August 2010  
 

Not much happened here in rainy old Port Fairy. The caravan park is very nice as are the people running the park. Everything is sparkling clean and well maintained. In the afternoon we went into town for a look around and found the port area with some very large fishing boats moored. I wish the government would stop putting up “No Entry” signs. It is Pete Mate’s new hobby to ignore these signs and find out why he should not be there.

We called in at the information centre and found out a few more things about Port Fairy. As the weather was not the best we decided to return home to our nice warm cosy caravan.

 
     
  Tuesday 3rd August 2010  
 

The sun was trying to shine through so we decided to go and have a look at Tower Hill Reserve then the towns of Koroit and Warrnambool.

Tower Hill was most impressive with its lush vegetation and rock formations. Tower Hill is the result of a volcanic explosion; we were told we could drive into the crater but we could not find our way in. We did however do the circuit around the rim, before travelling on to Koroit which is a very old town with buildings to match. We were not overly impressed however; possibly a lot to do with the weather.

Warrnambool is a very large town, again with some very nice old buildings. But as I said before, nothing looks good in the rain so once again we made for home.

 
     
  Wednesday 4th August 2010  
 

It is another average day, weather wise, so we didn’t feel like doing much. Late afternoon we went into town for one or two things. Port Fairy is a nice little town with some lovely old buildings. I feel we are just not doing it justice but what can one do about the weather? If it is not raining it is so damn cold you can’t wait to jump back into the warm car.

 
     
  Thursday 5th August 2010  
 

There is always a good side to everything; we have grumbled about the weather but we have seen some magnificent rainbows. Today was no exception - they bring the child out in me and I want reach out and touch them.

We returned to Tower Hill and found the entrance into the park; the signposts are either absent or so small we miss them. We drove down into the crater and, apart from the rock formations, we were enthralled by so many Wattle trees in bloom, the yellow of their blossom was striking. It was quite amazing to drive in and around the crater and again we saw the lushness of the undergrowth and trees. It was an amazing feat to have planted 300,000 trees.

Once we left the park we headed into Warrnambool to place our votes for the upcoming Federal Election. We are allowed to vote early as we are not in our home state. Once that was out of the way we found a shopping mall where we had lunch. From there we went present shopping; we bought ourselves an iPod and speakers for our wedding anniversary. I want to load all our CDs on to it so we can have continuous music playing. The staff at Harvey Norman were really helpful and assisted us to choose an ideal iPod for our requirements. The computer section also helped Pete Mate out with a few queries we have with our laptops. The only thing left to do was the supermarket shopping before heading home for happy hour and a play with our new toy.

 
     
  Friday 6th August 2010  
 

It is toy time in the Ransons' caravan. The only thing I achieved last night was to charge the iPod and get it to talk to me in a foreign language. Today we put both our heads together and worked it out, so now we have music playing constantly without having to get up and change the CD. How neat is that? I will be transferring our CDs for some time yet as we have so many. This exercise seemed to take up the whole day apart from a quick trip into town to collect the mail. As all the mail arrived we have decided to leave Port Fairy on Sunday for Port Campbell.

 
     
  Saturday 7th August 2010  
 

Get ready day today; washing and cleaning are on the agenda but more importantly I have some more ‘iPodding’ to do. I am so thrilled with this set up, I wish we had done it before. Pete Mate did a few chores, one being a beard and haircut. It was the funniest thing to see a magpie strolling between his feet, collecting his hair for her nest. I raced inside for my camera but by then the magpie had decided to go walkabout so I had to quietly chase it all over the park.

 
     
   
  “Look, stop pestering me! I don't like being photographed.”  
     
 

Today’s weather is the best we have had since we arrived here. I was cleaning out one of the cupboards when Jenny from the office called by with a plate of home made biscuits for us. I told you this is a really nice park.

 
     
  Sunday 8th August 2010  
 

We awoke to a beautiful sunny day, the best weather we have had all week. We slowly got ready to leave then wandered over to the camp kitchen for the free pancake breakfast. In true Pete-n-Pam style we arrived too late and they were in the process of packing up. Looking at our ever expanding waistlines we decided it was probably a good thing.

We finished getting ready and left Port Fairy around 10.30am. The first part of the journey was inland then before we knew we were on the Great Ocean Road and we could understand why people rave about this part of the world. The scenery had a Wow! factor about it with a rugged coastline slowly being eroded by the relentless, crashing waves of the Southern Ocean.

We stopped off at two of several lookouts - “The Grotto” and “London Bridge”. The Grotto was a little way from the car park but the track was made up of a boardwalk, an easy even track and lots of steps down to the actual grotto. The view was well worth the effort. The next lookout was London Bridge; even though part of it had collapsed in 1990 it was still a spectacular sight. We decided to leave the other lookouts for another day and go and park the caravan.

We arrived at the only caravan park in Port Campbell to find it looking more like a builder’s yard than a caravan park. We were a little unsure whether they were actually open for business. We received a warm welcome for Jamie in the office who assured us they were very much open and gave us our site number. She explained they were in the middle of building a new ablution block and some other improvements. We found site number F2 and Pete Mate expertly parked the ‘van on site F1. After much discussion of who was right, he expertly parked the ‘van on site F2. It was then I decided site F2 was too muddy and I thought we should move to site F3. By this time I could read Pete Mate’s mind and it wasn’t pretty, I can tell you! But being the gentleman he is he said nothing and moved the 'van to site F3. Once this was done we set up camp and had lunch. Pete Mate then had a nanny nap whilst I transferred some more CDs on to the iPod.

 
     
  Monday 9th August 2010  
 

We seem to have brought the rain with us again, it poured down all night. I think we are beginning to get cabin fever; Pete Mate suggested we should go out whatever the weather. So we pottered about in the morning doing goodness knows what but I guess computers were involved. Whilst we were eating lunch the sun came out and the day greatly improved. So, cameras in hand we set off to explore.

The first lookout we came across gave us a bird's eye view of the town of Port Campbell and the caravan park.

 
     
   
  Port Campbell and our caravan (arrowed).  
     
 

We also saw a man sitting by Campbell Creek at first we thought he was fishing but we think he was just sitting contemplating life.

We left there and back-tracked the way we had come yesterday to see some scenic lookouts. We found another lookout that gave us more views of the town and the bay. We were unsure which path to follow, we somehow chose the right one and then decided to go down the other one just to see where it went. This seems to be a new hobby of ours following tracks and roads just to see where they end up. We encountered a million steps, okay a few steps which took us on to a path leading along the coast, we decided to turn back and continue our scenic lookout venture.

On the way back to the car I took some photos of a flower in a grass tree, it was more an experiment than anything but I am very pleased with the results. We see so many beautiful flowers, shrubs, lizards and birds but very often a photo doesn’t do them justice.

The Arch was our next port of call which in itself was pretty amazing but the whole area was mind blowing, so picturesque. To one side of the lookout was a cliff face with the ocean swirling backwards and forwards - it looked like a huge washing machine. On the walk down to the lookout we saw some really interesting cliffs we are unsure how they were formed but we think they are limestone. We continued along the coast road stopping off along the way when a photo opportunity presented itself.

 
     
   
  The magnificent Arch.  
     
 

We then arrived at the Bay of Martyrs, which again had some spectacular views.

 
     
   
  Some of the rock islands in the Bay of Martyrs.  
     
 

Our sightseeing trip was just about finished but we decided to divert into Peterborough to see what kind of town it was. The town had two shops and lots of houses. We did, however, find another lookout over the bay. It was lovely just to sit there and watch the ocean crashing on the rocks. At one point Pete Mate thought he saw a dolphin so it was a mad scramble for camera and binoculars. Alas by the time we were ready whatever was there had long gone. It was getting quite chilly now so we decided to call it a day and make our way home.

 
     
  Tuesday 10th August 2010  
  We had a walk into town, which takes all of five minutes. On the way we stopped to look at the ocean but that was cut short by the driving rain. We quickly made our way to a café for some lunch. My salad was lovely but Pete Mate’s burger looked like it had been cooking all morning – and it wasn’t a cheap place either – so we crossed it off our ‘to do again’ list. We visited the supermarket/post office/newsagent and were not impressed by the prices or the service. We continued our walk to the information centre where we found the lady very friendly and helpful, plus it was a good place to shelter from the torrential rain. By the time we had loaded up with information about where to go and what to see, the rain had eased a little. We made a dash for the caravan park, back to the comfort of our ‘van.  
     
  Wednesday 11th August 2010  
 

We endured another storm overnight but nothing prepared us for what lay outside the caravan. The river had overflowed and we were literally flooded in. The immediate ground around the caravan was boggy but not underwater. However, the other end of the park was just a lake, including the access road. We couldn’t get out and no one could get in so we were all on our own during the day and for the night.

Jamie and Rian, the park managers, came to check we were alright and at one point Rian helped Pete Mate and I put away the awning but it was too late; one of the struts bent and will have to be replaced. We stayed tucked up inside the ‘van apart from a short walk to check out the flooding and the ocean. The ocean was pretty angry and was churning up muddy water, the rain pelted in your face so hard it hurt. We were very glad to retreat back to the caravan.

 
     
  Thursday 12th August 2010  
 

We decided to stay home again today even though the flood water had started to recede. We were worried that, once out of the park, the storm might return so we wouldn’t be able to get back in again. Plus, when we woke up we found the caravan covered in bird poop! As cleaning it is a blue job, Pete Mate spent most of the day doing just that. I had a short walk into town and checked the ocean was still there, it was and just as angry as yesterday.

 
     
  Friday 13th August 2010  
 

We visited the lovely little country town of Timboon today. It is bigger than Port Campbell and has nice friendly people. We did some banking, shopping and had a very nice lunch at a café. The journey there was very pleasant; we passed through some beautiful countryside, lovely green paddocks.

As there was plenty of daylight left we went to have a look at Loch Ard National Park where we thought we would see the Apostles. We walked to lookouts that gave us wonderful views of the coastline and looked at a giant rock called the Razorback and a spectacular island with a worn away archway. We saw an impressive gorge and looked out upon the ocean at the spot where the poor ole clipper Loch Ard met its demise. Not an Apostle in sight, so as a last resort we consulted the map and discovered we were in the wrong place. There were still some more walks to do at Loch Ard but we decided to come back another day, as we really wanted to see an Apostle.

 
     
   
  The unceasing, unrelenting waves rolling in to batter the cliffs, hour after hour, year in, year out.  
     
   
  I love this picture. Nature at its wildest.  
     
 

We drove further up the road and came across, not only a huge sign advertising the ‘Twelve’, but a very large car park that was very busy indeed. Buses and cars everywhere plus helicopters taking off constantly. The walk to the lookouts took us under the road and was a very easy path to the very top lookout. There were people everywhere, mainly overseas visitors – it was rare to hear English being spoken. By now the sun had retreated and no amount of coaxing would bring it out again so we decided to call it a day and return on a sunny day.

 
     
   
  Some of the Apostles on a miserable, dull day.  
     
  Saturday 14th August 2010  
 

Pete Mate got up early today and made me some coffee; this is my yearly treat as today is my birthday and our wedding anniversary. He also gave me my favourite perfume as a present. Impressed are we? Don’t be, he had to be led by the hand.

We had a quiet relaxing day just doing the washing and chores that always seem to need doing even though we live in a caravan. In the evening we went out for dinner. It was just the local bistro inside the pub but it was nice and the food was really yummy. Once we had eaten I decided I must have received an unexpected birthday present – a tummy bug! So that took care of the rest of the night.

 
     
  Sunday 15th August 2010  
 

I did not do much today, just rested. Pete Mate was in his usual seat playing computers. Later in the day a huge storm blew in and nearly blew us away. The rain lashed down and a gale blew all night. It was not a night we want to repeat because at times it was quite frightening.

 
     
     
  Monday 16th August 2010  
 

We were unsure whether to move the caravan to a more sheltered site but in the end decided to stay where we were. By lunchtime the rain and wind had ceased and the sun was poking its little head through. We decided to take the broken strut to see if we could get it repaired. The plan was then to continue to the Twelve Apostles. By the time the chap had finished trying to repair the strut – unsuccessfully – the rain had returned with a vengeance. There was nothing else to do but go straight home and put the kettle on.

 
     
  Tuesday 17th August 2010  
 

We awoke to more rain but very quickly the sky cleared and we saw sunshine so decided to make hay and got ready to go out. We went first back to the Twelve Apostles as the 'web master' wanted photos of them bathed in sunshine. On arrival at the car park we were met by some very friendly policemen who were breathalysing all drivers, bus drivers included. One chap did not pass the test and he did not look too happy. In fact, we saw him and his party later and they weren’t allowed to leave until the police had checked something out. Their vehicle was thoroughly checked also. Well, we had to sit and drink our coffee somewhere so why not where there was entertainment?

     Now back to the Apostles. The sun decided to play hide and seek so Pete Mate hurried on up to the top of the lookout. I had decided not to walk right to the top as once there I couldn’t see much because of the wire fencing and my short legs. Once photos were taken, coffee drank and entertainment finished we decided to move on to the Loch Ard National Park. We went to the cemetery where, according to Pete Mate, they buried the two survivors. It was a slip of the tongue but has had us laughing for days. Only four bodies were recovered from the wreck so we were surprised to see a lot more graves. It would appear the area was used as a general graveyard.

Eight of the thirty seven passengers that left Gravesend on board the Loch Ard were members of the Carmichael family from Ireland. Eighteen year old Eva was the only Carmichael to survive the shipwreck. Of the fifty two dead, only four bodies were recovered. Two of those were Carmichaels.

Next stop was Mutton Bird Island lookout which was only a short walk from the car park. The waves were crashing down on the coastline; it was quite a spectacular display. The next lookout was a bit of a walk from the car park but well worth it. It was called Thunder Cave and was an amazing sight when the waves crashed inside the cave. We spent a little time there just watching. Often you are so busy taking photos that you don't stop and look at the sheer beauty of nature. We walked on a little more to Broken Head; on the way there we passed a couple of blow holes. Pete Mate spent ages waiting for a decent ‘blow’. (Shut up, you lot!) In the end he gave up; the official Blow Hole lookout was closed as it had become unsafe. We then decided to return to the car as the day was drawing to a close and I, for one, was pretty tired.

 
     
   
  A wave races up the narrow gorge and . . . .                              . . . . explodes into Thunder Cave         
     
  Wednesday 18th August 2010  
  We had a lay day today, catching up on computer things, emails and sorting photos.  
     
  Thursday 19th August 2010  
 

We had sun, we had rain, and we had wind, sometimes together, sometimes on their own. Best of all we had a beautiful big rainbow. We pottered around in the morning and then enjoyed the very pleasant drive into Timboon to do the shopping. We had lunch at the nice café we discovered last week before we stocked up on meat, fruit and vegetables. Once home the computers came out again and before we knew it, it was was happy hour.

 
     
  Friday 20th August 2010  
  A day of catching up with correspondence and such like, then in the afternoon we went for a short walk. The ocean looked pretty amazing with all it’s swirling and crashing of waves. We timed the walk well as we had just arrived home when the heavens opened once more.  
     
  Saturday 21st August 2010  
 

‘Get ready day’, for tomorrow we move. The weather is abysmal once more; I am so over traipsing through wet mud.

 
     
  Sunday 22nd August 2010  
 

We awoke to the biggest surprise – a clear blue sky and beautiful sunshine. We eventually got ourselves into gear and left Port Campbell just after eleven o’clock.

The road between here and Apollo Bay was narrow and winding and in some places in need of repair. We arrived at Apollo Bay where we spied lots of people lined up looking out to sea. As we had the caravan on the back we didn’t stop to investigate. We received a very warm welcome from the receptionist at the caravan park. Our site had a huge concrete slab for us to park the ‘van and to walk on. Furthermore all the walkways were sealed, no more mud, hurrah.

After we had set up camp and had some lunch we went sightseeing. We soon discovered why people were looking out to sea – there were whales in the bay. It was a joy to watch these huge creatures frolicking around. After we watched them for a while we had a drive around the town and called in at the information centre where we were given heaps of things to do by very friendly staff. Once again it was that time of day so we made our way home to partake of a little glass of red. It is still too cold to sit outside – roll on summer.

 
     
  Monday 23rd August 2010  
 

We again awoke to beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies. We got ourselves ready for a day of sightseeing. Cape Otway was on the agenda for today and it was a very pleasant drive through pastures and forests. The road reminded us a of a country road, not only the scenery around it but also the condition of the surface. It was in fact the main highway. Later we turned left towards the coast. The information centre staff had told us we would see wild koalas along this road and, joy of joys, we spotted them. We saw quite a few and of course took photos. They looked down upon us with disdain, probably thinking, "Bloody tourists!"

 
     
   
        Some of the scenery we saw from the road.                  One of many koalas that we saw trying to sleep.  
     
 

We eventually arrived at Cape Otway Light Station and paid the admission fee which, at the time, we thought was a bit steep. Map in one hand, camera in the other, we went on a discovery trail of the history of this lighthouse and surrounding area. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and at the end of the visit felt the admission fee was well deserved

 
     
   
  On the way home I got Pete Mate to pull over while I photographed Apollo Bay from afar.  
     
  Tuesday 24th August 2010  
 

The sun blessed us again with its presence so we again quickly got ourselves ready for a day of exploring. We drove along the coast the road enjoying the magnificent scenery. Well, I did, Pete Mate had to concentrate on the road as in places it twisted and turned. We stopped at one or two lookouts and then the weather changed and we were back to the pouring rain. We drove through small towns until we got to Lorne, our destination. By now the rain was lashing down so we dived into a bakery for a sandwich and a coffee. We decided, since walking was out of the question, to drive home via the inland route. It was a very pleasant drive through forests and pasture lands. We saw so many ferns, especially tree ferns, for a moment we thought we were back in North Queensland. Once home we found ourselves in front of computers with a glass of red in hand.

 
     
  Wednesday 25th August 2010  
 

I opted for a lay day today as I was tired, plus I had a mountain of washing to do. It was a reluctant decision as the sun was shining and we felt we should be ‘out there’. I needn’t have worried; before lunch the rain was again pouring down so we wouldn’t have done much sightseeing.

 
     
  Thursday 26th August 2010  
 

The wet and stormy weather, according to the forecasters, is with us for a day or two. We went into town as I had a hair appointment and we needed a few groceries. Pete Mate spent some time in the hardware shop which happened to be very close to the hairdressers. I had a few other shops to visit so I went off to do those while Pete Mate still wandered around the hardware store. I will never understand what is so interesting in these places. It isn’t as though they have wool and teddies, is it?

By now Pete Mate was hanging out for a coffee and as it was lunchtime we decide to partake in the closest café as it was absolutely bucketing down. As it turned out it was a good choice, the coffee was good, the soup I had was excellent and there weren’t any complaints from Pete Mate as he ate his sandwich. We then did the grocery shopping before heading home, trying to time the dash from the car to the caravan to avoid getting too wet.

 
     
  Friday 27th August 2010  
 

Apart from a quick trip into town to collect some mail we didn’t venture far. The rain is still with us but we are getting longer sunny spells so tomorrow we expect good weather for our trip out to the Otway National Park.

 
     
  Saturday 28th August 2010  
 

What is it they say about plans of mice and men? Today as planned didn’t happen because of torrential rain the forecasters didn’t notice.

 
     
  Sunday 29th August 2010  
 

The sun is shining and the Ransons were out and about in Otway National Park and what a fantastic park it is. Pete Mate walked the Otway Fly, which is a tree top walk. I, being of sound mind, waited for him in the café nursing a cup of tea.

 
     
 
 
  A rare picture of Pete Mate.  
     
 

After lunch we walked the track to the Triplet Falls. The track was classed as moderate and I found it pretty easy going apart from the usual million steps. The effort was worth it because once we reached the waterfall lookout the scene before us was quite breath taking.

 
     
Youngs Creek divides into three at the head of the falls. The result is the Triplets.
     
 

Once back at the car we decided to call it day and make our way home. Now this is where it gets really interesting. I suggested a different way home down a road which quite quickly became a track, but, I might add, not a goat track. It was pointed out quite clearly as we turned on to it, it was very much my idea. At all times I knew exactly where we were. After all, I had the map and as all good map readers know, it was used upside down. We eventually reached the main highway upon which I declared “Yes, this is exactly where I expected to be”.

I could not decide whether it was laughter or a splutter of indignation coming from Pete Mate’s mouth! Such is life! We eventually arrived, tired but happy having enjoyed a great day out in our wonderful country.

 
     
  Monday 30th August 2010  
 

The sun is still with us. Are we happy? Yes we are. We walked the track up to the lookout above Apollo Bay. It was quite magnificent looking around but as I am not happy about heights I felt a little uneasy so did not stay there too long. The track was a little bit muddy in parts and for most of the return journey was downhill which does not bode well for my knee.

 
     
   
  The harbour of beautiful Apollo Bay.  
     
 

We decided to do a rainforest walk that had been recommended to us. It was an absolutely wonderful walk; we saw so many beautiful huge Myrtle and Beech trees, plus Giant Tree Ferns. That is just naming the ones we know. The place was so jammed packed with lush greenery that we were in awe of whole area.

 
     
 
 
  The lush rainforest at Maites Rest.  
     
 

On the way back to town we reflected about how Victoria is a small state but so compact with the amazing coastline, incredible mountainous areas and beautiful rainforests - and everything else in between. I think we have fallen in love with Victoria. We then enjoyed a nice lunch at a lovely café before returning home to do a few chores ready for tomorrow.

 
     
  Tuesday 31st August 2010  
 

We requested a late check out as we did not feel like rushing and we did not have far to go. We left Apollo Bay around 11.30am and had a good trip through to Torquay. The road surface was pretty awful and it twisted and turned pretty much all the way. We encountered rain along the way but when we arrived it was dry, so we were able to set up camp in relative comfort. I say 'relative' because it was very cold and we were not impressed with the caravan park. We had definitely been spoilt in Apollo Bay and this one looks more like the poor man’s camp.

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk to check out the area and the beach. The area looks like it could do with a facelift and people should take their rubbish home with them. We have seen pristine areas all along this coastline so to see discarded rubbish annoyed us no end. Our walk finished at the local pub across the road from the caravan park. It looked a nice place but didn’t have any atmosphere so after one drink we left. We tucked ourselves up in our cosy ‘van and listened to the rain pounding down.