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Posts Tagged ‘Bellarine Peninsula’

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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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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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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Well, while we are in post production with Melbourne’s Best Bush, Bay & City Walks, I am getting itchy feet, so have just started out on the next Walks Guidebook, which will cover Greater Geelong, the Bellarine and Great Ocean Road area.  It’s pretty chilly here this winter, but when the days are clear it makes for really beautiful walking.  We had a wonderful wander at Edwards Point, near St Leonard’s township, last weekend, venturing out into the remote-feeling saltmarshes of Swan Bay.  Yesterday, the kids and I took in Serendip Sanctuary, at the base of the You Yangs, which is just swarming with birdlife, include huge flocks of magpie geese, and pairs of cape barren geese, making the most of the lush, full wetlands and billabongs.  There were also some impressively immobile tawny frogmouths, feathers all plumped up against the cold.  Australia’s native wildlife is making the most of the bountiful seasons after the last decade of drought and the kangaroos and wallabies were looking very well fed and content, as they literally bounced around the carpark!  The Serendip Sanctuary is a wonderfully interesting and easy day out for families and international visitors keen to acquaint themselves with Australia’s birds and animals.

Edwards Point Sanctuary saltmarshes, Swan Bay

Wetlands at Serendip Sanctuary, near Lara

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