Around Australia Week 40 – The Great Ocean Road

This week we travelled from Portland to Torquay, taking in the delights of the Great Ocean Road along the way. This is not a long stretch of road for caravanners, but there are plenty of lovely places to spend a few days (or weeks… or months!) so it’s quite likely you’ll be rolling along the road for maybe only an hour at a time before setting up somewhere else. When we were there, the GOR was undergoing roadworks in a few places, after heavy rain caused a few landslides.

We were probably not going the best way (West to East) to pull over to the side easily and admire the view or take photos. Next time we might go in the opposite direction! (Of course, the alternative is to stay in a caravan park at either end, and just drive along the GOR in a car… probably the recommended option if you’re not in a hurry.)

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We did the usual touristy things along here: calling in to the Maritime Village at Flagstaff Hill (Warrnambool); visiting Cheeseworld; seeing the 12 Apostles and London Bridge; climbing Cape Otway Lighthouse and stopping at the Surfworld museum at Torquay.

We always enjoy seeing places like the Maritime Village, where a great deal of care has been taken to create a village that will conjure up the past for visitors. It’s all so much more lifelike when you see keen volunteers dressing up and going about their daily life in the village.

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One of the highlights on this part of our trip was calling in to see John and Irene Beveridge at their home in Warrnambool. We met the couple for the first time in Rollingstone, Queensland, early in our trip. They invited us to look through their 31-year-old van, and we were totally impressed by what they’d done… so we phoned and told them we were in the area, and would they mind if we visited with the camera crew in tow, so everyone could see the results…? They were only too happy to share the renovations with C&M readers. (This was one of the few times that rain has disrupted a film shoot… the crew had to wait an hour for the rain to let up so they could go out and film.)

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But let’s backtrack a little (this is one for the girls [or men] who knit, so if this does not mean you, skip along a few paragraphs!)

While we were in Portland, I had a mission: find a craft shop and buy some wool to knit a baby outfit for our producer, who was about to go on maternity leave. If you are picturing soft pink or blue baby wool and a lacy pattern, think again… I have to shatter your illusions. Since the baby’s mother and her husband are keen Tigers supporters (NSW Rugby League comp) I decided that their son should have the right gear to join them at games. This meant black and orange wool… which I found. A bit over a week later, I mailed off a toy tiger, a ‘Go Tigers’ sweater, and a beanie. (Thinking positively, I made it to fit a 6-month old baby – the perfect size for Grand Final time. Hmmm. We’ll see.) Rob is not convinced. He’s still in red and white mode, thinking St. George Illawarra…

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Another item I’m knitting is the Great American Aran Afghan, which has some complicated cable designs. Since I do a lot of knitting in the car, this meant that I was constantly referring to the pattern, and juggling knitting, pattern book, and a cable needle while we travelled… not easy on some of our bumpy highways! So I had to come up with a plan to keep the pattern in front of me, rather than sliding off my lap.

Ta-da! Caravanners are nothing if not inventive. The solution was to write out the pattern (in much larger print than it was in the book!); highlight every second row to make it easier to find my place; mount the pattern on cardboard and slide it into a plastic envelope with a zip, and attach stick-on Velcro to the back of the plastic envelope and the dashboard of the car. Voila! The pattern was in front of me all the time. (And knitters: I taught myself to cable without a cable needle, so that solved THAT fiddly problem.)

Okay. That’s it: all craft references are finished (for now); I wonder if Rob has a bit of blokey stuff he wants to talk about to compensate? Just a minute while I ask…

He says no.

Men lead such dull lives.

We had time only for a whistle-stop as we drove through Port Fairy on our way to Port Campbell, but this looked like such a lovely spot that we made a mental note to come back and stay on our way to Mildura (yes, again) for the Murray River leg of our trip. Stay tuned for more of Port Fairy.


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