Saturday, December 30, 2017


It was a pretty long drive again today, over 300kms so we got away pretty early. We crossed over into Victoria today, our fifth state this trip…

We headed through Hamilton and then down through a little town called Tarrington and were surprised by their Hay Bale Art Festival where we saw heaps of different art displays as we drove through town…
Hay Bale Art in Tarrington Vic
This was a total surprise, but I did make Steve stop at each one so that I could photograph them….

Our lunch stop in Mortlake Vic
We headed through to Mortlake where we stopped for lunch and checked out the local bakery.  It didn’t rate in the top three of bakeries that we have visited.

From here it was straight through to Geelong.  We arrived there around 3.30pm and set up at the local show grounds there also.  They were more expensive than the showgrounds in Mount Gambier, $25 a night and no where near as nice.  Still it wasn’t bad and we would have thought it was pretty good if we had not stayed at such a good one the previous evening.  

By the time we were all set up it was close to 4pm and Steve was keen to go and visit Prestige Jayco in Geelong.  He had visited there several times the previous time we were here.  We only had an hour as they close at 5pm.   Still he was in his element there and found a caravan that he really liked that could replace our van when and if ever we upgrade.  He really loves the new Jayco Adventurer 16’ and 19’ vans, and I must admit, I don’t mind them either.  Plenty of storage, large bed, big fridge, and oven and the best part is that they have an ensuite which would be great for more off road camping….

Once Jayco closed we headed down to the Geelong foreshore.  I love this place, it has such a good vibe about it.  When we were last here they were still in the process of developing it, so it was nice to go back and see it completely finished and still as popular as ever. 

I love all the bollards. No visitors to this magnificent waterfront precinct can miss the whimsical bollards that stretch from Rippleside to Limeburners Point.

 There are over 100 bollards stretching along our waterfront that are made out of huge wooden pylons, many recovered from the Yarra Street Pier which was destroyed by fire in the 1980’s and later removed. The wood was first sculptured and then painstakingly hand painted. The bollards depict many of the events and history of the Geelong region, from the times when the local Wautharong People were the only inhabitants right up to modern times.
Many of the bollards are painted as historic people, including many of our founders and even former Premier Jeff Kennett and former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, who were both in office when the bollards were being designed and installed. Favourites include explorer Mathew Flinders overlooking the bay he discovered in 1802, the historic Geelong Footballer near the old Hi-Lite Park site and the sailor and floozy near Cunningham Pier. Other tributes to historic moments in Geelong’s history include the Speed Trials bollards in Ritchie Boulevard, 1920’s lady swimmers on the sandy foreshore nearby and various sea captains and the rustic fisherman at Fisherman’s Pier.

The bollards have become an important and very well recognised icon of Geelong and they were one of the reasons I wanted to return.  We saw more this visit than we did last time and I was happy to photograph them all.  
Some of the other impressive icons on the foreshore are Cunningham’s Wharf and The Pier.  There are a couple of lovely new restaurants since we were last here, and this year they have an amazing  big silver floating Christmas Tree in Corio Bay.  When it comes to Christmas, no one does it like Geelong…  this Christmas Tree cost over $1,000,000 and puts on a remarkable light show every fifteen minutes.   

One of the other interesting icons on the foreshore is The Buoys.  A group of former channel buoys on Steampacket Gardens have been turned into a very striking piece of artwork.  There are 6  buoys in various states of repair from the freshly painted to the salt and windblown.  These huge metal objects have become one of the best loved icons on the foreshore and Steve had to stop and have his photo taken with them.  We weren’t the only ones, there quite a few Asians waiting to have their photos taken with them as well. 

Geelong’s Waterfront Carousel is also worth seeing and is considered on the the jewel of Geelong.  It proudly overlooks the harbour with spectacular views out to Corio Bay and is housed in a modern sail like steel and glass pavilion which is a striking focal point at the foreshore precinct.  
 The carousel is an extremely rare and beautiful Armitage Hershell Carousel which dates back to 1892.  It has been magnificently restored toits original glory and is complete with 36 horses and two beautiful chariots.  This historic carousal is one of the few left in the world. 

Twenty-four of the horses are actually original and took over 300 man hours each to restore. The remaining twelve horses were built using many of the same processes used in making the original with every effort used to make them as authentic as possible. Even real coach wood was imported from the United States in an effort to match the original as close as possible. The whole project took a team of talented craftsman over two years to complete after recovering the carousel from storage in the Victorian gold district town of Castlemaine.

The carousel tells the story of King Arthur and Camelot. The beautiful paintings form branches which hold the canopy like a giant tree, with panels showing the tales of the story. The horses and chariots circle the story and along with the whimsical carnival music give the pavilion a fairy-tale like atmosphere. Originally the carousel was powered by steam, but in its restored form it now runs on electric power.

 This carousel has a particularly fascinating history and has had quite a journey before finding its home on Geelong’s waterfront. It was built by the Armitage Herschell Company of New York; and it was in-fact used in New York before being shipped to Australia around 1920. It spent a large portion of its life on the Mornington Peninsula at the other side of Port Phillip Bay in the seaside town of Mordialloc. The carousel is also believed to have been part of a traveling carnival for a period before ending up in a paddock near the Murray River township of Echuca where it was left to slowly deteriorate. Years later it was put in an auction lot and moved to Castlemaine in the heart of Victoria’s Golden Triangle. The City of Greater Geelong with the help of the State Government purchased the historic ruins and commissioned its enormous restoration process. 
Geelong Ferris Wheel

Geelong also boasts of having the largest travelling Ferris Wheel in the Southern Hemisphere down on the foreshore as well.   You get a great view of the Floating Christmas Tree from up at the top of this wheel, and at night it comes alive with over 24 amazing light patterns illuminating the nightsky.
Love seeing so many folk using the park for fun and exercise
 Moving further around the bay you come to Eastern Beach which was fully restored back in 1990.  It houses  one of Geelong’s best known icons, the Swimming Enclosure.

This large double platform wooden structure complete with shark gate sweeps in a half circle around 8 1/2 acres of sea water. The enclosure has a diving board, floating islands and slides and can hold thousands of swimmers, with a delightful sandy beach backing onto the children’s pool.

 The children’s pool is a shallow cement pool, which includes a magnificent fountain in the centre.   It is part of what makes this whole area on Geelong’s foreshore so inviting and draws so many people, tourists and locals alike to spend time down here.    I love this place and would gladly come here and visit it all again…

 By now the sun had set, and we still needed to pick up a few groceries on our way home.  I really would love to come back to Geelong for a week or more, there is so much to do and see in this area and having been here twice now, we still have not seem nearly enough of the place.  

We are on the move again tomorrow.  This time to Melboure, our final destination this trip before we head home to Qld.  We are arriving a day earlier to surprise Dan and Chloe. 


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