Trip to Victoria

Visited during the trip:  Avalon Airport, Mornington Peninsula, Enchanted Maze Garden, Anaque, The Fairy Park, Torquay Beach, Great Ocean Road, Lorne Pier, Apollo Bay, The Gibson’s Steps, The Twelve Apostles, Geelong, Melbourne.

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Getting in there, with directions.

I know I had written down before our adventures to Victoria upon reaching home I am not aware if I did post it on a blog which I made before this.  But anyway, here are the highlights of the adventure.

My family and I had our adventure to Victoria two years ago that was winter time, flying to Avalon on the first domestic flight to that airport at that day.

At around three in the morning, we drove to the Domestic Terminal in Sydney, parked our car on a paid car park for the duration of our stay in Victoria.  That was our first time to experience leaving our car inside an airport’s car park, prepaid.  Then, we walked to a nearest bus stop in that car park where we were picked up by a bus and took us to the Sydney Domestic Terminal.

IMG_9092We arrived at the Avalon Airport half passed eight in the morning and upon checking out we straightaway picked up our hired Carnival car to be used in going around Victoria.

From Avalon Airport we drove to the Mornington Peninsula and visited The Enchanted Maze Garden.  After that we drove back to Anakie and visited The Fairy Garden there.

Then, we went to the Beach House where we were booked for two nights stay and had our dinner.

The following day, I had a chance of taking sunrise photos at the Torquay beach close to where we stayed until about ten in the morning when my kids joined me for photo shoots.  Then we hit the Great Ocean Road to visit the Twelve Apostles.

Before our trip back home, we visited Geelong, then drove to Melbourne to visit the Federation Square and surrounding areas.  After spending about two hours there, we returned to Avalon Airport for our trip back to Sydney.

The Enchanted Maze Garden

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Garden from the Enchanted Maze Garden

After an hour and a half drive from Avalon Airport we arrived at the Enchanted Maze Garden.  The car park was already full when we arrived and we got a hard time looking for a space to park even at the roadside.

The Enchanted Adventure Garden is an award-winning natural fun park, featuring three hedge mazes, four giant tube slides, 20 themed gardens, an outdoor sculpture park and an indoor three-dimensional maze, this beautiful outdoor adventure park has something for everyone.

We were lucky to see their new Tree Surfing equipped with high ropes adventure with zip lines, swinging rope bridges, suspended tunnels and a giant Tarzan swing set in the native trees of this ancient woodland garden.

We had fun here especially those maze gardens and in the tube slides up the hill.  I was amazed at the stunning gardens they have as it features excellent examples of hedges mazes, relief topiary and contemporary garden design.

 The Fairy Park

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The Castle at the summit of the hill.

The Fairy Park is a family oriented park located not that far from Melbourne and its all about fairy tales, legends, dragons, towering castles and an exciting Medieval playground.

The Fairyland has four different areas – Fairytale Land, Model Trains, Summit Views, Camelot Playground, and birthday parties.

Upon entry, we followed the trail that leads up to the summit where a huge castle is laid.  Awesome views below as you travel up, and stunning fairy tales and legends along the way, we took a lot of photos as we go along, the only way we can preserve memories of a visit to this park.

There are plenty of shaded tables and BBQs and toilets are only provided at the bottom of the hill and so it is best to make a pit stop before venturing up the hill – although it is only a few minutes to get down from the summit.  There is also a kiosk at the bottom of the hill and café can be found at the top of the hill.

The Medieval style playground is fantastic and unique. The walls have lots of tunnels, nooks, crannies and paths which makes it great fun to explore. The playground equipment is a combination of some old style playground equipment such as see-saws and some exciting items which really engage the kids. The highlights are a wall with lots of different levels and openings which kids can stick their head out of, a merry-go-round with seats and steering wheels which parents help to spin around, Merlin’s Tower which has a warning not to touch but sprays water at you if you do dare to touch the button on the door and various slides including a very long metal slide.

There is also a sandpit with digger, stocks and spinning orb with hand-wheel. There is some seating along the side of the playground area which receives some shade from a row of pine trees.

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The way up to the summit of the hill.

On the sides of the hill are lots of displays where you press a button to hear the fairy story and animate the characters. All the classic fairy stories are displayed. At the top of the hill is a model train museum which is a room with shelves full of model trains plus a huge model train set with trains which move when a button is pressed and pass through mountain tunnels and villages.

Overall, a great location for a family day out at a very reasonable cost.

Torquay Beach

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A section of the Torquay Beach during low tide.

The beach house where we stayed for two nights was only a few metres away from the beach of Torquay.  Torquay’s Front Beach fronts the town centre. It is a well-appointed beach with a well-maintained foreshore reserve between The Esplanade and the beach.

There are numerous facilities in the reserve, including a tourist information centre. A seawall and a row of tall Norfolk Island pines back the beach, and several wooden groynes cross the beach.

This makes the beach unique and awesome to the delight of travellers.

The beach faces due east and runs for 1 km from Yellow Bluff to Point Danger. The point and its reefs protect the beach, which receives waves averaging less than 1 m. These maintain a shallow, continuous, attached bar.

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Sunrise at Torquay Beach.

Torquay is said to be a popular family beach, with usually low waves, a shallow bar and no rips, plus the added safety of a summer lifeguard patrol., but somewhere around Point Danger, surfing can be a bit fun during big swell.

The best location for fishing is also in Point Danger.  I had the opportunity to photograph the sunrise here, the seascape as well as the coastline and parks that are spread around it.

The Great Ocean Road

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Section of the Great Ocean Road

We hit this road when we drove up to visit the 12 Apostles. The Great Ocean Road, which starts at Torquay and travels 243 kilometres westward to finish at Allansford near Warrnambool, the largest city along the road.

It is a winding road, and is considered a tourist attraction in the area, in which much of the road hugs coastline affectionately known as the Surf Coast between Torquay and Cape Otway and the Shipwreck Coast further west of Cape Otway, providing visibility of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean.

The road traverses rainforests, as well as beaches and cliffs composed of limestone and sandstone, which is susceptible to erosion.  The road travels via Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell, where we stopped for the 12 Apostles.

Apollo Bay

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Part of the Apollo Bay, Victoria

Apollo Bay is another beautiful, stunning place to stay and experience or feel the air of the sea as well as the surrounding mountains.  I took some photos of the bay, too.  We also had a brief stop at the Koala Cove Café, in Kenet River for snacks and took a rest for a while there, that was around three in the afternoon.

Then another stop at the Gibsons Steps where I took some stunning seascape photos of the area below the road, at sea level.  This is another lovely coastal attraction along the road, not far from the Port Campbell National Park.

Lorne Pier

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Lorne Pier, Victoria

Lorne Pier is another fantastic beachfront for swimmers and fishermen alike in Victoria.  We had a brief stopover in this place when we travelled down the Great Ocean Road.

Actually, it isn’t an ordinary pier and as the buildings up the road implied visitors come here most often to enjoy the place with complete eatery and lodges to complement their travels, most notable are the Grand Pacific Hotel and Lorne Hotel.

Pier fishing is popular in Lorne Pier, with salmon, silver trevally, garfish, squid, pinkies or barracouta are among those always fished here.  As we have seen when we arrived here, some anglers enjoyed their day fishing down the alley walls of the pier.  The weather at that time was good, sunny, and not too windy.

Gibson’s Steps

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The Gibson’s Steps

The Gibson’s Steps are an area of cliffs on the south coast of Australia.  The cliffs are the first sightseeing stopoff in Port Campbell National Park for travellers heading West along the Great Ocean Road, located about 2 minutes drive from The Twelve Apostles. The name Gibson Steps refers to the staircase leading down to the stretch of beach down below.

At that time, it was cool and windy down the beach and so I hurriedly took seascape photos here as soon as I got the momentum to do so because we had limited time left for the day and yet we’re  still far from the Twelve Apostles.

The Twelve Apostle

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The Twelve Apostles

It is because of our desire to set foot at this site that we ventured to drive up the Great Ocean Road during our second day in Victoria.

It was already late in the afternoon when we arrived at the place, weather was windy, cool, with dark sky, any time soon rain may fall.

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The walkway leading up to the shoreline where the 12 Apostles are located.

From the car park of Port Campbell we walk through about five minutes trail down the coast line.

There were so many travellers wanting to see the place at that time although it was already getting dark and about to rain, they still brave the weather like us.  The viewing deck was packed up  with visitors when we reached the place.  I can’t take photos properly because of heaps of couples taking up photos and were blocking my sight, others patiently waited for their turn to take images as well.  Photography at that moment wasn’t good either, it was too cloudy, windy and cool.

After a few more minutes I already had taken some images and soon after, it started to drizzle then rain poured down slowly so I hurriedly walked back to the kiosk located at the parking area.  As soon as I reached the kiosk waiting area, it started to rain hard.

After the rain, we drove home to Torquay my two boys took turns behind the wheel and we arrived at the beach house almost eleven in the evening.

Geelong, Victoria

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The Cunningham Pier as a car park at the seafront.

Geelong is a port city 75 kilometres south-west of the state capital, Melbourne. It is the second largest Victorian city.

Geelong City is also known as the ‘Gateway City’ due to its central location to surrounding Victorian regional centres like Ballarat in the north west, Torquay, Great Ocean Road and Warrnambool in the southwest, Hamilton, Colac and Winchelsea to the west, and the state capital of Melbourne in the north east.

We came here around eight in the morning right down at its seafront on the day we’re about to leave the state back to Sydney.  It is a fully developed seafront with a huge kiosk and further up is the Cunningham Pier Car Park.

We strolled around and spent a couple of hours here taking photos and admiring how great the Geelong’s seafront is, and the development done to make it attractive to local and foreign tourists.

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The Kiosk at the Geelong seafront.

Today, Geelong stands as an emerging health, education and advanced manufacturing hub. The city’s economy is shifting quickly and despite experiencing the drawbacks of losing much of its heavy manufacturing, it is seeing much growth in other sectors, positioning itself as one of the leading non-capital Australian cities.

Melbourne, Victoria

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Melbourne, Victoria

When we visited the Enchanted Maze Garden at the Mornington Peninsula we passed by the city of Melbourne but we returned during our last day visiting the city centre for the duration of a couple of hours including the Yarra River as well as the Federation Square.

It was my first time to visit Melbourne and I was ecstatic at how it looks like compared to Sydney.  Just like Sydney, car park is very limited; the demand is absolutely of paramount significance to the city’s growing business and life. To this effect, we had a hard time looking for one, and then the same thing happened to us when we’re getting out of the city, chaotic traffic even on arterial streets.  Yes, Tramlines are one of the major public transports visible at the heart of the city.

Yarra River, Melbourne

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The popular Yarra River in Melbourne.

I had the first impression of a filthy, murky Yarra River, walkways full of dried fallen leaves of tall trees along the river banks, with busy streets but have awesome cityscape; tall and huge buildings especially at the Federation Square. and along the river bank.

The Federation Square has an aura of mixed cultures including aboriginal as there were fire woods left burning at the middle of the park, this they say significantly representing the red centre of Australia and Aboriginal cultures.

The river was busy then, with boats travelling to and fro, also the bank and walkways were constantly traversed by busy people, always on the go.  Well, that’s always what life is in the city, and I observed this too while I was in Sydney’s CBD before.

At the Federation Squarea

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Federal Square, Melbourne

We passed by Melbourne’s Aquarium, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Victoria University at Collins Street, including the Albert’s Park when we went to the Federation Square, home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism, exceptional array of restaurants, bars, specialty stores and has become the city’s meeting place.  There’s a lot more to explore here and a two hour stay is not enough. So to make good of our valuable time left here, I took as much photos as I can. It’s nice to be here anyway!

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A symbolic burning of firewood at the Federal Square.

As they say, Melbourne is often referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia.” It has a rich history too, and has great significance and interest to travellers and holiday makers.

In November 2008, it was announced that the Victorian Major Events Company had informed the Australian Olympic Committee that Melbourne was considering making bids for either the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics.

 

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