We set off from Princetown all too conscious that we were heading towards Warrnambool, the town which marks the end of the Great Ocean Road. It felt like a significant milestone – a beginning as much as an ending: we were all present and accounted for, we hadn’t experienced any major disasters and we still had so much ahead. Pats on the back and scratches behind the ears all ‘round.
On our way through Warrnambool we stopped at Logan Beach to check out the whale viewing platform. Southern right whales congregate in the area to give birth and raise calves between late May and early October, so unfortunately we were a bit early for the season. However, we did see three seals cavorting in the shore break. Very cool.
We ended up driving twenty kilometres past Warrnambool to a place called Killarney Beach, in Moyne Shire (phonetically speaking, Jono felt very much at home). Our camp site at Killarney Beach Caravan Park was on the outer rim of a cricket / AFL oval where we set up right between the goal posts. The sporting ground doubled as an off-leash dog area so Neddy was as happy as the proverbial pig.
Local attractions included Tower Hill State Game Reserve, where we encountered some very bold and inquisitive emus; and also a quaint town called Koroit, known for its potato-farming. Jono, a lover and champion of the humble potato (they’re not Laura’s favourite), did well to resist many a roadside potato stall. Laura was glad we managed to avoid these given the smallest quantity advertised was fifteen kilos.
A visit to Port Fairy on Laura’s birthday proved to be one of our favourite days of the trip thus far. We couldn’t believe our luck at finding a crystal clear tidal rock pool, calm and still, despite being only metres from a solid six foot swell. We spent hours there, alternating between swimming and lazing on volcanic rocks warmed by the sun, before indulging in the “worlds’ best fish and chips” (Jono certified) for the birthday lunch.
We had heard mixed reviews about Port Fairy, but our recommendation is to visit – or even stay for a few days if the weather is good. It boasts a beautiful lighthouse walk, nice beaches, good surf and abundant wildlife. Though dogs aren’t allowed on the main beaches between 9am and 5pm from December to Easter Monday we did find the dog-friendly Belfast Coastal Reserve (accessed via Woodbine Road, slightly east of Port Fairy).
The day we saw kids rushing joyously out of school gates, celebrating their last day of term was our signal to head to Rocklands State Forest to wait out the Easter rush.