Originally we intended to go direct to the Grampians but several people and guide books had said how popular it was with Victorians on long weekends (and this is effectively their Melbourne Cup long weekend with most taking Monday off). So change in plans - head to Portland instead for 2 nights then the Grampians.
We started with the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier. An amazing crater lake that is up to 200 metres deep (with an average of 80 metres) and is the water supply for the district (and the 3rd largest domestic water supply in Australia).
These swans were on the river near a jetty and approached us but as soon as Hans tried to squat down for a close up photo they would hiss at him as they were protecting their cute cygnet. We checked out nearly every camping and picnic spot along the river and settled into one for a lovely picnic lunch.
We booked a cabin for 2 nights in Portland, Victoria for the great price of $80 per night with free wifi (which actually works properly and at a reasonable speed - contented sigh...). After checking in we drove through the town and down to the waterfront for icecream and a stroll. Sammy (see a photo of him below) is clearly a local who is trying to con local fisherman out of their fish heads and bones as they clean whiting, flathead and bream by the boat ramp - but there are lots of signs to NOT feed the seals so they all managed to ignore his cute pleading brown eyes!
A stroll along the jetty brought us to this strange boating light at the end, which had a door and was hollow. What they kept in there is anyone's guess...
Bill, we thought of you and figured this "Ballina" had strayed a bit far from home.
A home cooked chicken tikka masala and an evening stroll to the headland will round out another lovely day. We have been so lucky with the weather but we hope it cools a little for tomorrow as we plan an exposed 4 hour headland walk tomorrow to visit a seal colony.
After a delicious dinner, we decided to take an evening walk as the weather had started to cool down a bit. We walked directly towards the coast from our camping ground which was a couple of blocks away and ended up on the headland with fantastic views up and down the coast.
They had this fantastic line of wide pine trees between the local street and the headland towards the water.
We realised that we were walking on part of the Great South West Walk, when we suddenly spotted a set of wooden staircases from the headland down to the beach. Almost new, built in 2004, but so new that the markings for GSWW showed the walker to continue on the headland instead of walking down the stairs and onto the beach.
Here is Di walking down the stairs with Portland harbour in the background.
On the beach with the stairs behind us.
Blue hour and Portland from down by the beach.
By the time we got back to the campground, we've been away for almost 1.5 hours and it is dark outside. A cup of tea went down really well.