Friday, 30 September 2011

The seaside town of Warrnambool

Warrnambool is a historic seaside town located on the Great Ocean Road first settled by Europeans in the 1840s. It's a great place to visit as you can relax on the beach, learn about the shipwreck coast or spend some time watching for whales at Logan's Beach Whale Nursery.

The area has a rich Indigenous history with artefacts being found in the volcanic ash layers of Tower HIll which was formed around 30,000 years ago in a volcanic eruption. Warrnambool is in fact, an Indigenous word from a nearby volcanic cone translated to mean land between two rivers, two swamps or ample water

Visitor information centre
Warrnambool is part of the Shipwreck Coast which extends 110 kilometres along the Great Ocean Road from Moonlight Head to Port Fairy to the west of Warrnambool. This trail incorporates 25 shipwrecks marked by road signs and information plaques and provides a fascinating insight into the region’s shipwreck history.

You can learn about this shipwreck history at Flagstaff Hill Marine Village an award winning tourism attraction. It has a museum which is reputed to hold Australia's richest shipwreck collection as well as an 1870's village with the Lady Bay Lighthouse. The village provides a glimpse into the maritime life of the 1870's era. Each night there is a state of the art sound and laser show called SHIPWRECKED which brings to life the tale of the Loch Ard a ship that was wrecked in 1878. 

Logan Beach Whale Viewing Platform

Whalers of the 1830s were the first Europeans to utilise the bay, which they named Lady Bay in 1844. Today Logan's Beach is popular for viewing Southern Right Whales. The best time for viewing is when baby whales are born between July and September. They then migrate with their families to the colder food rich waters near Antarctica for the summer.  Updates on Whale sightings

View from Middle Island

Fishing is a popular activity in Warrnambool as you can fish along the Hopkins River, in the ocean or from one of the islands or inlets. All fishing requires a licence which you can obtain from the Visitor Information Centre.

Early morning a horse is being exercised in the ocean

You'll find plenty to do in Warrnambool with a range of beaches, parks,walks and activities. Restaurants, cafes, hotels and camping grounds are also plentiful and will suit any budget. For the best information see visit Warrnambool

One of the many walks along the foreshore 

You can drive from Melbourne to Warrnambool via the Great Ocean Road by 2 routes, one inland passing through Colac which is a journey of around 3.5 hours and 265 kilometres. Alternatively the scenic journey via the Great Ocean Road will take approx 5 hours and 349 kilometres.

Alternatively we can design an extended Great Ocean Road tour to take in Warrnambool.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges are world renowed for their geological history and you can also see evidence of Aboriginal habitation and European settlement. The traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha, lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years and the area holds deep cultural significance to them.

Heading into the Flinders Ranges

The Adnyamathanha people describe the formation of the land and their spiritual belifes through their Yura Muda stories.  Over tens of thousands of years the Yura Muda stories have passed from generation to generation interpreting the cave paintings and sacred sites found in the Flinders Ranges. Mythological tracks and songlines explain the formation of the land, plants and animals.

Hot air ballooning Rawnsley Bluff
SA Tourism

Sandstone walls with ancient Aboriginal rock engravings can be found in the Sacred Canyon a short walk along a dry creek bed lined with majestic river red gums. The age of the engravings is unknown and the Adnyamathanha people believe that the engravings were created by ancestral beings during the creation time.

You can learn more about the traditional stories of the Nepabunna and Iga Warta Aboriginal communities by driving the Aboriginal Dreaming Trail.

Wilpena Pound
SA Tourism

Wilpena Pound is a natural ampitheatre and is steeped in local legend. It looks like a comet crater, but in reality the formation of the Flinders Ranges began 800 million years ago when the earth's crust was stretched and thinned creating a deep hollow. Following this the sea flooded in and during the next period huge amounts of rock and debris were deposited. Over time the land changed and gorges and valleys were formed.   You can stay at the Wilpena Pound Resort or a range of camping grounds.

Camping in the Flinders Ranges
SA Tourism

There are 3 National Parks in the Flinders Ranges covering 95,000 hectares:
  • Mount Remarkable National Park
  • Flinders Ranges National Park
  • Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park
In the mid 1800's Wilpena, Arkaba and Aroona were established as sheep stations and the pastoral industry flourished when the Government built a rail line to service mining that had also been established in the area.  Remains of early settlement can still be found in the Ranges.

Yellow footed Rock-wallaby

The Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby can be found in Brachina and Wilkawillina gorges. These agile and shy animals were once close to extinction but have been saved by conservation programs. They live in rock crevices and caves and their colours blend into their surroundings so you'll need to be patient and have a keen eye to spot them amongst the rocks.

The Park has abundant wildlife  and more than 100 bird species have been identified.

There are a range of activities you can enjoy in the Flinders Ranges including hot air ballooning, cycling, 4 wheel driving and camping. 

Bunyeroo Valley
SA Tourism

Friday, 2 September 2011

Jan Juc

Jan Juc is a seaside village wedged between Torquay and Bells Beach.  Surrounded by tall cliffs the size of the sandy beach depends on the tide.  When the tide is out it's a popular spot for walking and surf fishing.  Dogs are allowed on some parts of the beach.

View of Jan Juc beach early evening

The beach itself is popular for swimmers and surfers alike. Jan Juc beach is potentially hazardous with high waves and persistent rips. So remember to always stay between the flags and away from the rips and rocks.  For more information see these beach safety tips

Waves at Jan Juc

Latest surf forecast.  For a live view of Jan Juc see the Coastalwatch webcam - updated each hour.

Some of the rocks surfers need to avoid

The beach is patrolled in the summer months by volunteer life savers from the Jan Juc Surf Life Savings Club

A 4 kilometre walking track winds along the cliff tops from Jan Juc to Bells Beach and provides spectacular views of the beach as you wander through beautiful coastal bushland.

Sunset from a lookout at Jan Juc

Rock formations and rock pools provide areas of interest and  I particularly love the point between Jan Juc and Torquay where a number of rock formations are accessible when the tide is out.

View of the ocean from the point between Jan Juc and Torquay

Fisherman's Beach Torquay looking towards Jan Juc

One of my favourite memories of Jan Juc was watching a Southern Right whale and its calf frolicking off Jan Juc beach. It travelled onto Fishermans's Beach at Torquay where large crowds of people gathered.

1 day Great Ocean Road Tour
2 day Great Ocean Road Tour
3 Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour