Monday, November 5, 2012

Mon 5 Nov - Portland VIC

Today was cooler and overcast with what appeared to be a light breeze - perfect for our planned walk on part of the Great South West Walk (GSWW) track.

We started at 8am, having parked the car at Cape Bridgewater at the end of the track.

Di is getting ready...
We opted to do a loop which meant the first 4km was on a quiet no through road, Blowhole Road, to the Blowholes and Petrified Forest. Unfortunately, it was windy, but the wind direction was all wrong for the blowhole, so no visible activity. It was easy walking and we paced along through really scenic farming country. A few motorbikes and 2 cars were the sum of the traffic we encountered on the way.
Fantastic stark coastline, which almost looks like the moon surface (not from personal experience but we've seen pictures...).
The wind picked up a bit (let's say gusts were now up to about 25 knots) when we reached the coast it then started to spit with rain. Nice stinging rain driven by the wind but did not last long and we're tough! But it did make photography difficult and some photos have not made it the blog due to rain drops on the camera lens (we tried one with Hans but he's squinting into the rain and wind).
We loved it but looked for a little shelter near the petrified forest to eat our "morning tea apple" and get a break from the wind. The petrified forest is actually dissolved limestone pipes into the rock surface which then solidify and the soft sandstone around them gets eroded leaving the "pipes".
The track takes you around the edge of the wind turbines and also some farm land.
We saw a few kangaroos checking us out and lots of bunnies and cows. Very cute.
We got our wish and the wind died down a bit and the showers were very light so we continued on GSWW. It does not lie when it says it's a coastal walk with much of the walk being a well marked track right at the top of the cliff coastline (Mum, you may not like some of it - the highest point is 130m above sea level and the track is safe but pretty close to the edge...) Seriously beautiful and the photos below barely do it justice.
Only 1 downside - flies! They loved us and we started hoping for more gusts and showers to keep them away. Di unfortunately could not avoid swallowing one despite the coughing and gagging!
The track is in great condition and we reached the Seal Colony near the Cape Bridgewater headland about 11ish, even with lots of photo breaks. An early sandwich lunch and we watched a couple of seals in the water a long way below us, but nothing like the 650 seals they say are in this colony. All out fishing!

We encountered the first people on the track at the Seal Colony - you can walk there directly from where we parked and return in about 2 hours - but we were pleased we had completed the 12km loop. Much nicer. We would recommend this section of GSWW to anyone. The views are panoramic and the track is not tough. Just makes us want to do more... next time.

Back to the ranch for showers and a load of washing.
Then late in the afternoon we set out for Cape Nelson Lighthouse, which we were told was open for anybody to climb up to the top.
First, we went down to the Harbour to drive out to the end of the breakwater. Lots and lots of cars and utes and vehicles, with people fishing everywhere. Some even sat inside their vehicles. Granted, the breakwate goes out a fair bit and it is windy out there. Recreational fishing is big in Portland, VIC.
Then we took off towards Cape Nelson Lighthouse, but when we came there, the lighthouse was closed as they were in the process of repainting it. Disappointed. However, it was again very beautiful and rugged around it.
Back in town, we were swinging by the 2 Chinese restaurants in town, to see if we can pick up some fried rice for our fish di dinner. However, contrary to the pamphlets we had, both were closed on Mondays for dinner (or maybe just this Monday given that Tuesday is a public holiday in Victoria for Melbourne Cup Day).
Anyway, we knew that the local Thai was open, so rice from there had to make do.
Back at the Claremont Tourist Park around 5.30pm, Hans decided to use the camp's carwash facilities and give the campervan a quick makeover. No nossle, so spray was provided by squeezing the hose. Oh well, better than nothing...
6pm and time for a Fat Yak and later dinner...

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