26 Januray is Australia Day, usually also signalling the end of the summer school holidays here. This year the day fell on a Saturday, and as is the custom here, that made Monday 28th a holiday too. Melurne was abuzz with tennis fever, but we did not have tickets to either of the finals which were sold out months ago, so we decided to head out south-eastwards, to a region called Gippsland, South Gippsland more specifically. The region is known for its farmlands, farm produce, beaches and spectacular scenery. [Link] We drove towards Phillip Island in Western Port Bay and then towards Inverloch. We had not made any accommodation bookings, and this being the height of summer, I was skeptical whether we would find any. This region is however not further than 200km from Melbourne, so the option was always to drive back home in the evening. However after a somewhat protracted visit to the Inverloch visitor centre we were referred to a B&B in Toora - Miranda, which still had openings for the next two nights.
We drove onto Walkervielle, and then inland through Fish Creek and Foster to Toora. Miranda is located near the Gippsland windmill farm (renewable power generators), with fantastic views of the Corner Inlet - an enclosed corner of the Southern Ocean. Our hosts Kath and Doug made us feel most welcome in their home, and prepared a special dinner (since the local hotel, where we were planning to have dinner, were fully booked). In the evening we had a lovely shower which cooled off the warm humid conditions which made the day quite oppressive. We watched the ladies final on TV in the evening.
The next day we headed to Wilson's Promontory, a peninsula, stretching into the Southern Ocean offering spectacular scenery in the National Park. The day was overcast, and the wind quite cool, but we saw enough to want to come back and attempt some of the longer walks and test out the camping facilities.
The following day, Monday was again spectacular, and after sumptious breakfast at Miranda we took a relaxed drive up to Melbourne, stopping off at the birding facilities overlooking the Corner Inlet, before concluding a most enjoyable mini-break before returning to the now resurgent rat-race.
Gippsland is certainly well worth a visit and worthy of further exploration!
With so many places in close proximity waiting to be explored, there are just not enough holidays to satisfy the wonderlust!
Further afield I am keen to be exploring Tsmania and New Zealand in the not too distant future, both of which offer prime tourist, sport and exploration opportunities!
Finally and rather belatedly, I would like to wish all the readers of this blog a very prosperous 2008! Enjoy it!