Pretty towns at the western end for the Great Ocean Road
26.01.2017 - 30.01.2017 25 °C
Port Fairy and Warrnambool 26-30 Jan
Our next base was the historical Irish town, Koroit. The small town positioned us well to explore the local Tower Hill Reserves (Crater/Lake) and then to Port Fairy (population 2870) and Warrnambool (population 33 970).
We spent a day in Port fairy, visiting lovely markets, walking the town and especially Griffiths Island.
Griffiths Island is home to a dozen black wallabies and tens of thousands of mutton birds (short tailed shearwaters) with nesting holes (burrows) in the sand everywhere. We also climbed 39 basalt steps in the lighthouse (uniquely, part of the wall structure), listening to stories of the 25 ship wrecks and enjoying the views. The walk around the whole island is 3km and rewarded me with great photos of a black wallaby.
Interesting fact: Mutton birds are so named because they increase in weight before leaving the nest (from 700g to 2kg) making them good eating in the old days.
Warrnambool was founded in the middle of the 19th century and became an important port during the Victorian Gold Rush. Today tourism is the main industry. We went to the local Uniting Church where a lively worship even included a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo hand puppet commenting on the Trump presidency (“he likes my yellow hair and he tweets as well”).
Lake Pertobe is a lovely picnic area with all kinds of little boats for hire. The beach front area in Warrnambool is quite special, including a river mouth with unique rock formations, rough waves, and lovely beaches. We tried to spot the world's smallest penguins (30cm high) on Middle Island, without success.
It was time to move on to the Great Ocean Road (after watching the Nadal and Federer Australian Open final on TV, of course).