Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2016 Victoria Trip - Inverloch, Phillip Island, Melbourne & Yarra Glen

On the road again, moving slowly towards Melbourne. The weather was changing now, gone was our glorious weather we'd been having for the past 6 wks & now replaced with grey skies, threatening to rain. This was to be a pattern now for the next 6 wks of our trip before we headed home.
It's early May & every couple of days a cold front coming from the Great Australian Bight & Southern Ocean would approach & go through.
Life in the open became a little unpleasant with us trying our best to dodge some of the lousy weather.
We had grey skies & really windy weather when we visited Inverloch to Cape Patterson.
 The coast line along this 20 km stretch of road is magnificent. Armed with a map of the area, we made numerous stops to take in the scenery.

We visited this area again the next day when we didn't have the caravan hitched to the car.
The weather was a little less windy, but still cloudy.

We were staying at a campground outside Wonthaggi. It was close to a wetland I wanted to visit to track down a few bird species.
This was a lunch time storm rolling in from the south-west. This storm certainly packed a punch & later that afternoon our caravan was buffeted by 70km gusty winds for about 6 hrs, side on into the caravan. We were also camped on an open area like a footy field on a hill. Our sturdy caravan survived the evening & thankfully the winds calmed down enough for us to relax & go to bed, phew.

The next day, the windy conditions started up again, but we had made a decision to not let the weather conditions stop our visit to Phillip Island, home of the Little Penguins.
Phillip Island is separated by a small expanse of water from the mainland. The Island is relatively small at 26kms long & 9 kms wide.

The Island is also famous for the Phillip Island Circuit, a track for motorcycle & car racing that attracts international riders & drivers.

The Island has 90 kms of coastline, much of it quite rugged & craggy.

You can see the seas are flattened by the windy conditions.

Down the other end of the Island, Summerland Beach is where spectators gather daily at sunset to watch the Penguin Parade, when Little Penguins come to shore in groups.
The Nobbles outcrop is the viewing site for Seal Rocks, home to a large colony of Australian Fur Seals.

 There are hundreds of penguine nesting boxes scattered around the area & you can see several here.

Seating for the Penguin Parade. Penguins also burrow into the side of this hill sheltered by low shrubs.

The tide was quite high this day, some of it whipped up by the stormy conditions,  A rather bizarre sight seeing a blow up dingy in the middle of the street.

Our next destination for 9 days was a caravan park north - east of Melbourne so we could visit relatives & explore the region.  We had a couple of hours spare on our 1st afternoon, so we drove to Yarra Glen,  a wine & food growing region a little further north of Melbourne. We found 1 winery that Rod thought he'd like to have some tastings amongst the few dozen on offer.

The following day we headed into the city of Melbourne to explore some of the sights & for me to check on a Powerful Owl in the Botanical Gardens. I found 2 birds in a described spot as per birding website eBird that I use myself.
We caught trams or walked around town to check on some of the city buildings.

Flinders Street Train Station

The Yarra River near the city.

Federation Square

St Paul's Cathedral

We decided to take another drive out to Yarra Glen as the previous time was short & rushed.
Besides the Chocolaterie, we also visited a Cheese Factory, another winery & brewery.

We found that the chocolate factory was wall to wall chocolates.

The desert was delicious....that's more chocolate on the right side :-O

Another day saw us returning to Melbourne city as we hadn't seen some of it. We wanted to see what the Victoria Markets were like as we'd heard a bit about them.

We checked out Lygon Street cafes as recommended by family which we found interesting.

In another street we found The Royal Exhibition Building, but it was empty.

Another day had us driving around the very picturesque Dandenong region. It was a beautiful day.
We walked a street in Sassafras looking at her very old buildings.

Not far away was these gardens.

These beautiful trees are Mountain Ash, I type of eucalypt tree. They are endemic to Victoria & Tasmania. The trees can grow to a whopping 85 m tall. They are mostly found in wet forests where the rainfall is over 1,200 mm a year. The trees can live to several hundred years.

We also spent a couple of hours walking amongst the flowering beds in this place. I love looking at flowers, so have shared quite a few here. I can name only a few of the plants.

Blue Spanish Fir from

Luculia from Nepal

A Protea

Another Protea

Maidenhair Tree....Ginkgo Biloba from China

Gordonia Yunnanense from China


We could see a very hazy Melbourne city from a lookout somewhere in the Dandenongs.

A totem pole with an eagle on top in the lookout park

On the move again & this time we headed for a little town called Alexandra near Lake Eildon to visit more relatives. It is mid morning & there was still a thick fog hanging around whilst driving along a country road.

Lake Eildon is a popular holiday spot & we saw many houseboats at a marina.
 There are several camp grounds also.

The Lake also has it's own Hydro electric station during August to May when water flow is released for irrigators.

The houseboats are quite popular for holiday makers with many available to rent out.

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