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Archive for the ‘Bellarine Peninsula’ Category

New Port Philip Cycle Trail

New Port Philip Cycle Trail

While out walking in Melbourne’s western bayside suburbs today, I spotted these enterprising lads, who obviously decided to take the short cut from Altona across to St Kilda.  Hope they packed their snorkels! I opted for the longer route, and took in a fine 8km stretch of the Williamstown to Altona Foreshore Trail, a shared cycle/walk path which winds along the coastline from Williamstown Beach across to the fabulous off-leash PA Burns coastal reserve in Seaholme.  While the Foreshore Trail itself is on-leash for dogs,  (it runs parallel to the Jawbone Conservation area), the parks at either end of the walk are both off-leash, so plenty of exercise for everyone – particularly those whose dogs like a good run (or in the case of these kids, swim) beside the bike.

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Williamstown Wetlands, via the Foreshore Trail

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Well, here’s a bit of excitement (for me at least!).  My next guidebook, Best Walks of Geelong, the Bellarine and the Brisbane Ranges (Woodslane Press) was finally sent off to the printers on the 19th October and should be in stores by mid-December, ready for you to plan some lovely Christmas walks.  It will retail for $29.95 and has 40 terrific walks to suit all sorts of abilities and interests. A big thank you to my terrific editors at Woodslane Press, and to my patient friends who joined me on many of the walks (Karen, Deb, Di and Fred – legends all!). Here’s a sneak preview of the cover, so you know what to look out for. Hope you enjoy the walks as much as I did!

Best Walks of Geelong, the Bellarine and the Brisbane Ranges
JP Mundy (2012), Woodslane Press

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Old mineral springs well, Clifton Springs beach

It’s now officially autumn, and officially my favourite time of the year to walk – Victoria usually has wonderfully stable weather in March and April – cool nights, crisp mornings, warm but not too hot days and crystal blue skies. With my book due at the end of this month though, I am having to hunker down at home to write, map and organise my photos.  However, on Sunday, the weather was just too good, so I used the excuse of researching a walk variation for the Clifton Springs walk, to drag my son and his friend out.  The added incentive was hiring a boat from Mike at Clifton Springs Boat Harbour and motoring up and down the coast along the dramatic sea cliffs.  Afterwards, we walked along to The Dell, a sunken picnic ground beneath the cliffs, accessible only by steep stairs or the beach at low tide.  From there you can wander along the beach to explore the remains of what was once a popular mineral springs and spa complex.  In the late 1800’s, people traveled by ferry from Melbourne to take in the waters and purchase water from the bottling plant.  Today, you can see old wells, remnants of the curvy thick glass bottles, and most interestingly, the springs themselves, which still bubble up along the beach and seep out through rock pools and the sand. A terrific short walk for families which you could round off with a paddle in the shallow waters and a picnic and ball games at The Dell.

Mineral springs bubbling into rock pools at Clifton Springs beach

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Old pier, Clifton Springs, Bellarine Peninsula

A recent walk took me to the quiet township of Clifton Springs, near Drysdale on the Bellarine Peninsula. The town is perched on the edge of red sand cliffs looking north-west across Port Phillip Bay, and I found a pretty little loop up from the marina, along the edge of the cliffs in front of houses with views-to-die-for, up alongside a ravine and then back down onto the lovely white sand beach. From here you can see the remnants of a number of the old piers which stretch far out into the shallow waters of the bay.  This photo, taken from Clifton Beach, shows the You Yangs in the distance, across the water.  A lovely late afternoon walk.  On Sunday I will leave behind the gentle gradients of the Bellarine Peninsula to tackle the 7 day Overland Track in Tasmania, from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Claire – a classic long distance Australian walk I have wanted to do for years.  Apparently it has stopped snowing (and you thought Melbourne weather was unpredictable!) – for the moment!  Needless to say I will be packing for all sorts of contingencies!!

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Hospital Swamp track - living up to its name!

Well, sometimes you need to know when to put a stop to your well laid plans.  Today I headed off to explore a potential walk from Hospital Swamps to Point Tait alongside Lake Connewarre, only to find, after months of above average rainfall, that it was indeed living up to its name: the path was ankle-high in water and stinky squelchy mud!  After about 15 minutes, there was no dry land in sight, so we did a quick about face and headed instead to Black Rock, on the surf side of the Bellarine Peninsula. We did a wonderful walk along the volcanic rocks, then dunes and solitary Bancoora Beach, through Breamlea and beyond for views of Point Impossible, then returned via the beach – luckily with walkable firm sand at low tide, as we were racing the rain-clouds.  A real bonus at the end was this Australian fur seal, resting from the wind and currents on the rocks.

Here comes the rain - Bancoora Beach

Australian Fur Seal at Black Rock

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View from Millionaire's Walk, Sorrento

I have just about completed the walks for the chapter on the Bellarine Peninsula for my next guidebook (Geelong, Bellarine & the Surf Coast), and have decided to add a ‘day trip’ walk via the Queenscliff Ferry to Sorrento.  So in glorious (HOT!) sunshine, I headed along the cliffs to the right of the Sorrento Ferry pier to walk through shady Sorrento Historic Park and eventually to Lentel Avenue, which gives access to a very private looking (but in fact public) gate which allows you to walk through the front yards of some blindingly beautiful homes and along the clifftop for views across the bay as far as the eye can see.  Absolutely breathtaking.

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Finally, the spring weather is being celebrated by patient Melburnites who have been desperate for  sunshine and bright skies after a long winter!  On the weekend, I did a wonderful circuit walk in the brisk sea winds along the sea wall from Point Lonsdale to Queenscliffe, via the evocatively named dune-top Lovers Walk.  Stopped for an essential cafe moment at Queenscliffe’s historic Hesse Street, then wandered back via the Bellarine Rail Trail which hugs along the calm waters of Swan Bay – you can see by the photo I was rewarded with a spectacular sunset. It’s time to get out and get walking, Melbourne!

Spring Sunset over Swan Bay

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