As Covid still rages throughout the world I’ll take you on another armchair journey, this time through the volcanic plains of Victoria’s Western District. There are over 400 volcanoes dotted through this area, though to the untrained eye they are mere hills with many odd shaped lakes dotted between. This area covers the third largest volcanic plain in the world, But, this time we’re not visiting volcanoes our aim is to follow the plains to the historic port of Port Fairy or as it was once known Belfast.
Day 1 Monday 16/11/20 Home to Winchelsea, strong westerlies
It’s warm with a blustery wind blowing from the west. Gosh it’s nice to see the traffic busy on the Monash Freeway again after two Covid lockdowns, and blimey I never thought I’d say that. There are tunnel works and an accident on the western end of the Westgate Bridge forcing traffic to a standstill. It takes us about 45mins to clear the bridge leaving us both quietly nerve wracked. Eventually I look out the window and see treetops and say “Thank God we’re off that bridge.” And Woody says “Yeah but we’d still be killed if it dropped now.” He’s right.
We punch into the wind all the way down the Geelong Road past Avalon airport where dozens of planes can be seen grounded on the tarmac. The hilly Geelong Bypass is the worst as winds whip through the valleys. We count down the kilometres to our destination, Winchelsea.
Leaping out of the car we’re almost blown into the Barwon Hotel. We walk around calling “Yoohoo” for several minutes before a woman appears to tell us to park anywhere out the back and pay when we have dinner. There’s a large mown area behind the pub overlooking the river parklands. Beside us is a sheep paddock.
We walk up the street and buy a pie for lunch retreating quickly to the van and out of the wind. VeeWee and little Nic the poodle arrive and it’s good to catch up again. When the wind abates a tad we walk the town. We’re on the volcanic plains now and this is evident in the bluestone Shire Town Hall and the old bluestone highway bridge.
Around 5ish we wander into the pub. There are a few people coming and going. The sign on the window proclaims Monday as Burger Night and we’re really looking forward to it. “Oh, that was pre Covid.” Says the waitress. Bloody hell, they could have cleaned the windows! We settle for parmies and my Late Brekkie Parma resembles the Great Pyramid. The chicken schnitzel rests on a base of chips, then there’s tomato sauce, bacon, cheese and the crowning glory is a nice gooey fried egg on top. I only manage half of it. Doggie bag please?
Corellas circle chattering for an hour before settling. As we nod off a sheep baa’s loudly or is that my overloaded stomach?
Accom: $10.00 (on top of the price of dinner and drinks, not such a cheap night)
Travelling Kms: 165Kms
Note: A 2000 tonne span of the Westgate Bridge dropped killing 35 workers during construction in 1970. Melburnians old enough to remember the tragedy still cross the 58 metre high bridge with trepidation.