The wee town of Port Albert is a fisherman’s paradise.
The free camp is actually a parking area for cars, boat trailers and RV’s right on the sea front adjoining the boat ramp. There is supposedly parking space for six RV’s. So a bunch of us new arrivals all stand around debating how and where we are supposed to park. We later find the parking instructions and yes we have parked our vans incorrectly, but it isn’t busy and we aren’t blocking anyone. We should have parked the van on the lawn with the car on the asphalt.
The town is so pretty with tall Norfolk pines and cottages facing the wide arc of the inlet. We wander along the walkway past dozens of fishing boats and yachts to the fish cafe. We buy a brown paper bag full of fish and chips and sit gazing at the boats and feeding the gulls. There is an old wooden two storey pub, an upmarket general store cum coffee shop, a museum and the fish cafe called Wild Fish. That’s it, a mere shadow of its former glory when it was Victoria’s largest port. Sadly there are a lot of homes for sale. We contemplate a drink at the pub, “later” we say and continue our ramblings.
There is a stiff, cool salty breeze blowing and thankfully it is dispersing some of the smoke from the nearby Gippsland bushfires. The maritime museum is a real charmer with lots of bits and pieces from the old port days, fishing paraphernalia and lighthouse communications gear. The museum is housed in the bank that once stored the Walhalla gold prior to shipping it to Melbourne.
Next morning we’re woken by the smell of smoke once more, even though the wind has dropped. The car park has filled with boat trailers and five fire trucks are setting off from their accommodation at the pub to continue the fire fighting. The tide is out and on the mud flats the birds are paddling about feeding. There are pelicans, gulls large and small, swans, cormorants and stilts. Welcome swallows flit about the boat riggings.
We are sad to leave this delightful little town but it is a 24 hour park.
Damn, we forgot to visit the pub! One week later, said pub burns down. Bugger!