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Blackheath Memorial Park
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Local indigenous people of the Darug tribal group are believed to have used this area as a camp site prior to European settlement, due to its reliable water supply and abundant wildlife. These water bodies were used as dams collecting water for the railway and for the golf course between 1909 and 1914. The railway dams were converted into the first swimming pools and the duck pond in the period following 1906. Blackheath Pool ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 9 The area was dedicated as a recreation reserve in 1919 and by 1921, plans had been developed...

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Campbell Rhododendron Gardens
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The Campbell Rhododendron Gardens are located in Bachante Street, Blackheath, just a short distance northeast from the town centre. It is more familiarly and affectionately known as the Blackheath Rhodo Garden by locals. Created in 1970 on 18.5 hectares of mountain bushland 1065 metres above sea level, the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens was named an Australian National Treasure by Traveller Magazine in 2011. It is considered unique for its large-scale exotic plantings of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, flowering cherries, dogwood, maples and other deciduous trees within a pristine, natural bush setting. A feature of the garden is the the abundance of...

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Shipley Plateau
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On the south western side of Blackheath, past the tiny hamlet of Shipley, are two lesser known but nevertheless equally spectacular lookouts – Hargraves Lookout and Mount Blackheath Lookout. To get to Shipley from Blackheath, cross the railway line at the traffic lights and head towards Megalong Valley where you will turn into Shipley Road. You will drive through lovely mountain landscapes with beautiful apple orchards, gum trees and lush foilage on the way to the Shipley Plateau, passing by the Shipley Gallery showcasing local artists (open weekends 10am- 4pm) on the left just before arriving at a fork...

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Wind Eroded Cave
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From the same carpark as for the Anvil Rock, a sign to the left marks the way for a 400-metre, 5-minute walk to the Wind Eroded Cave. Wind Eroded Cave ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 4 Depending on the season, it is possible to see wild boronia, flannel flowers, Erica, mountain devil, banksia, grevillea, scribbly gums and other plant along the trail. The cave is more correctly a giant overhang, with extraordinary honeycomb formations in matching honey-coloured sedimentary rocks. As its name suggests, the formation was created by wind erosion, caused by particles in the air effectively...

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Anvil Rock
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Anvil Rock (GPS: 33.595487°S 150.339451°E) is an often overlooked attraction of the Blue Mountains. To get there, follow the mostly-gravel Hat Hill road from Blackheath. Any 2WD vehicle can traverse the road. On arriving at a fork, take the left turnoff to Anvil Rock. The right turnoff leads to Perrys Lookdown. The road continues for a further 500 metres to a small carpark. To the right, a sign marks the start of a short 0.5 km, 5 minutes moderate walk to the Anvil Rock overlooking the Grose Valley. Along this Anvil Rock Trail, you will come across a rustic...

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Perrys Lookdown
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Perrys Lookdown is located in Blackheath at the end of a 8 km dirt road Anvil Ridge beyond Hat Hill Road (GPS: 33.600139°S 150.346972°E). Perrys Lookdown ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 7 It is presumably named after Captain William Perry, the Deputy Surveyor General who worked under the leadership of Sir Thomas Mitchell. It offers grand views from the top of the escarpment into the Grose Valley and of the imposing sandstone cliffs of Mount Banks. A 5.5 hours return bushwalk to the majestic Blue Gum Forest brings experienced hikers in a steep 656 metres descent into...

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Evans Lookout
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Evans Lookout, located at the top of the escarpment at the end of Evans Lookout Road (GPS 33.647019°S 150.326796°E), provides an alternative vantage point for views of the Grose Valley. It is named after George Evans who discovered the lookout and the entry to the Grose Valley in 1882. There is a memorial erected to him at the site.   View of Grose Valley from Evans Lookout ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 10   The area consists of Triassic sandstones and underlying Permian sedimentary rocks. A number of basalt capped peaks dominate the area, notably Mount Banks...

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Govetts Leap
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From Blackheath town centre, a short drive to the east takes visitors to Govetts Leap (GPS 33.627926°S 150.311518°E), a lookout with spectacular views of the Grose Valley and nearby waterfalls. Govetts Leap was named after William Romaine Govett, one of the first surveyors of the upper Blue Mountains, who discovered this spot in June 1831. Govetts Leap Lookout ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 12   A horse and rider monument in the park beside the Great Western Highway at Blackheath village tells the story about Govetts Leap. There is a folklore legend that tells of an escaped...

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Blackheath
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Blackheath is located near the highest point (1065 metres) of the Blue Mountains, between Katoomba and Mount Victoria, about 120 km west northwest of Sydney CBD. With its lovely misty days when the clouds sit low over the mountains, Blackheath is reminiscent of a beautiful Scottish village.   History   The region was thought to be a summer corroboree meeting place for several Indigenous peoples of the Darug, Gundungurra and Wiradjuri nations. Following European settlement of Australia, the area was named Hounslow. After crossing the Blue Mountains in 1815 and returning from Bathurst, Governor Lachlan Macquarie renamed the settlement...

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Forest Glade
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Forest Glade is one of Australia’s finest private gardens, and has existed for nearly one hundred years. It is located in Mount Macedon (816 Mt Macedon Rd) which is a short trip from Melbourne and is open to the public from September to May. The large English section   The magnificent landscaped garden covers 14 acres (5.6 hectares) and has 4 distinct sections: The large English section with its huge exotic trees and masses of colour. The delightful Japanese section complete with bonsai house The beautiful woodland section displaying masses of shade-loving plants The cool fern gully The Japanese...

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Portland
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Portland is located on Portland Bay 360 km west of Melbourne and 75 km east of the South Australian border. It is proclaimed a city on 28 Oct 1985 in the presence of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It has a current population of around 12,000. As the only deep-sea port between Adelaide and Port Phillip, it is a major exporting centre for southwestern Victoria and southeastern South Australia, principally exporting wool, grains and secondary products made in Portland itself. Other contributions to the local economy are made by the Alcoa aluminium smelter (Australia’s third largest and employing 700...

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Paynesville
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Paynesville is a seaside resort in East Gippsland, 298 km east of Melbourne and 17 km south of Bairnsdale. Located in the middle of the Gippsland Lakes and surrounded on three sides by the water of Lake King and Lake Victoria, Paynesville is known as the boating capital of Victoria. This area encompasses Paynesville, Raymond Island, Eagle Point and Newlands Arm. Paynesville Canal   Paynesville was originally called Toonalook which is an aboriginal name for a place of many fish. The Post Office opened on 8 Nov 1879 as Toonalook and was renamed Paynesville in 1886 by the Dickson...

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Omeo
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Omeo is a small town in East Gippsland, located in an attractive open and undulating plain, surrounded by high mountain ranges.   Post office   It is 400 km east of Melbourne on the Great Alpine Road at the edge of the Snowy Mountains and is the commercial hub for the Tambo and Omeo Valleys. The Omeo region encompasses the towns of Omeo, Cobungra, Benambra, Swifts Creek, Ensay, Cassilis and Tambo Crossing.   East Gippsland Shire Council   The name “Omeo” is derived from the Aboriginal word for “mountains” or “hills“. The first reported sighting of the area was...

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Gippsland Lakes
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The Gippsland Lakes are a network of lakes, marshes and lagoons in East Gippsland, covering an area of about 354 km2 and extending 90 km down the coast. They constitute the largest navigable inland waterway in Australia. The largest of the lakes are Lake Wellington, Lake King and Lake Victoria. They are fed by 5 rivers: the Avon, Thomson, Latrobe, Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo rivers. Lakes Entrance   The original Aboriginal inhabitants of the area were the Kurnai people. Aboriginal legends about the formation of the lakes centre on a frog that once swallowed all of the world’s water....

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Lakes Entrance
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Lakes Entrance is a tourist resort and fishing town in East Gippsland, 320 km east of Melbourne. It was originally known by Europeans as Cunninghame after a prominent squatting family in the area, with a post office of the same name opening on 5 Feb 1870. It was renamed Lakes Entrance on 1 Jan 1915. As its name suggests, Lakes Entrance is the gateway that allows ocean-going vessels from Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea access to the Gippsland Lakes, the largest  navigable inland waterway (400 km2 in area) in Australia. Lake Entrance Lookout   The original access point...

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Lake Tyers
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About 10 km east of Lakes Entrance are the lake, township and 5300-hectare forest park of Lake Tyers, all named after Charles Tyers, the first commissioner for crown lands in Victoria in 1843. Lake Tyers could refer to the lake itself, the township known as Lake Tyers Beach or an area known as Bung Yarnda by the Aboriginal Gunai people of East Gippsland.   According to Gunai legend, Narkabungdha, the sea, was tired from playing with fish, rushing over rocks and rolling backwards and forwards on the sand. He searched the coast for somewhere to rest. At last he...

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Metung
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Metung is a small town/village in East Gippsland, 314 km east of Melbourne and between the larger towns of Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance. Many of its 1000 permanent residents commute to work at Bairnsdale or Lakes Entrance. Bancroft Bay   Metung is on a narrow peninsula of land separating Lake King and Bancroft Bay on the Gippsland Lakes. Surrounded on three sides by water, the town is well serviced by a number of marinas and jetties, with several cruise operators catering for visitors. Metung Marina   The Aboriginal Gunai or Kurnai people who are the original inhabitants of the...

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Nyerimilang Homestead
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Nyerimilang Homestead is a 178-ha property built in 1892 on a cliff top above the Gippsland Lakes, 10 km northwest of Lakes Entrance. Semi-formal gardens and lawns surround the homestead, which contain a collection of exotic and native species. Majestic Gippsland Blue Gums and Coast Grey Box on the cliff tops contrast with marshland in the valley of Maringa Creek. Nyerimilang attracts many species of birds including honeyeaters, black swans, pelicans and birds of prey.   The area was occupied for thousands of years exclusively by the Gunai or Kurnai people and known to them as “Nyerimilang” or the...

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Cape Conran
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Cape Conran Coastal Park is a coastal reserve located near Marlo in East Gippsland, 420 km east of Melbourne. It extends from west of Cape Conran and all along the coast to the neighbouring fishing village of Bemm River. The 11,700 hectare area was declared a coastal park under the National Parks Act in 1997. Salmon Rocks Lookout   Much of the area is covered by heathland and banksia woodlands which attracts nectar-feeding birds. Dolphins and whales (depending on the time of year) may be spotted off the coast. The abundant bird life includes White-bellied Sea Eagles and the...

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Marlo
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Marlo is a tranquil seaside resort and fishing town in East Gippsland at the mouth of the Snowy River before the river flows into the Southern Ocean. It is 15 km south of Orbost and 396 km east of Melbourne. To get to Marlo from Orbost, drive along Marlo Road which follows closely most of the Snowy River’s final journey through grazing land and pockets of rainforest to the open sea. Various picnic spots and river viewing areas can be found along this route. Snowy River   Just before entering Marlo, there is a sign to the Paddle Steamer...

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Orbost
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Orbost is a small East Gippsland town situated on the banks of the Snowy River, about 45 minutes drive east of Lakes Entrance and surrounded by rich river flats. Grandview Lookout at Newmerella   The area around Orbost was first settled in 1842 and originally used for cattle grazing. A township began to develop in the 1870s and it eventually became an important service centre for what has developed into a major cattle and agricultural district. The surrounding mountain forests produce hardwood timber, most of which is milled locally.   The commercial centre is along Nicholson Street. As Nicholson...

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Hascombe
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Hascombe is a 19th century hill station garden located located on Alton Road at Mount Macedon, 65 km northwest of Melbourne. The 11-hectare garden is regarded as one of Victoria’s finest and is listed on the Register of the National Estate. Map of Hascombe   Hascombe has five owners during its lifetime, most of them are avid gardeners. The mass planting carried out in the 1930s forms the backbone of the present garden. Gunnera Gully   The first owner R.L.J. Elery constructed a villa on the site in the 1870s. The garden was significantly expanded by R.S. Whiting who...

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Cape Bridgewater
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I first heard of Cape Bridgewater from a Malaysian Chinese whom I met at Colac Botanic Garden last April. He was astonished by the beauty of the place, describing it as having a Martian landscape unlike any place on Earth. I was sold and decided that I must visit the place one day. Never did I expect this day to come so quickly. I was trying to book holiday accommodation for the Christmas to New Year period in Lakes Entrance, Mount Gambier, Warrnambool and Lake Hume, to no avail. Then I found a holiday house in Cape Bridgewater so...

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National Rhododendron Gardens
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The National Rhododendron Gardens are a spectacular cool climate botanical garden situated on a hilltop in the scenic Dandenong Ranges, along The Georgian Road, 500 metres from the Olinda township and about 40 km east of Melbourne.   The garden covers an area of 40 hectares and has a long linear shape. You can download a map of the garden here. At an altitude of 500 metres, the garden has a temperature about 5 degrees cooler than Melbourne and an annual rainfall of about 1200 mm, almost twice that of Melbourne. The soil is deep red, slightly acidic, volcanic...

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Stickwork
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If you are visiting Federation Square, do not miss its latest attraction besides Flinders Street – a colossal, startling art masterpiece by the American sculptor Patrick Dougherty. He bends, weaves, snags and flexes a humble pile of tree saplings and sticks to create works of art inseparable from nature and landscape. As the sculptures are made of organic matter, they disintegrate and fall apart, becoming part of the landscape once again. Most people see habitats and shelters in his work – which is what many of them are meant to be.   Over the last 25 years, he made...

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Memorial Cross
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Mount Macedon is both a town and a 1,013-metre peak at the end of the Great Dividing Range. The mountain was named by NSW Surveyor General Major Thomas Mitchell when he climbed it on 30 Sep 1836. Macedon Regional Park   The Macedon Regional Park surrounds much of Mount Macedon and features a number of attractions. The most popular is the Memorial Cross Reserve, located at the end of Cameron Drive, which includes picnic, BBQ areas and the Top of the Range Tea Rooms. Top of the Range Tea Rooms   A short 200m walk along a sealed path...

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Yackandandah
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Yackandandah is a former gold mining town in northeast Victoria between Beechworth and Wodonga. It is an attractive historic village situated in a valley amidst a series of substantial hills. The name Yackandandah is said to have derived from two Aboriginal words meaning “rock” and “water-hole” which relate to one large rock sitting on top of another in what is now known as Yackandandah Creek. It has also been claimed that Yackandandah means “country of hills“. The town is affectionately known as “Yack” though in more recent times, it has increasingly been referred to as the “Dandah” by its...

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Serendip Sanctuary
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Serendip Sanctuary is a 227-hectare wildlife-protected area in Victoria near the You Yangs and the town of Lara, 22 km north of Geelong and 60 km southwest of Melbourne.   In 1856, the property of Lara, which included the area now occupied by Serendip, was sold by the Crown at auction. Since then, the property has been resold numerous times and used for everything from farming and sheep studs to a health resort for alcoholics (from 1907 to 1930). Lake Serendip   It was used as a research station for waterfowl and other native animals by the then Fisheries...

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Beechworth
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Beechworth, located 271 km northeast of Melbourne via the Hume Freeway, is regarded as Victoria’s best preserved historic gold town with over 32 local buildings listed with the National Trust. Beechworth’s streetscape, with its frequent usage of honey-coloured local granite as a building material, is remarkably coherent and well-preserved.   In May 1852, Lieutenant-Governor GJ La Trobe named the area Mayday Hills which was originally used for grazing by the pastoralist David Reid. In January 1852, one of Reid’s former shepherd named Meldrun discovered gold near the present site of the Newtown Bridge while searching for a lost sheep...

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Lake Hume
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I was seeking to spend my long weekend away from Melbourne during the last Easter and was fortunate to book a holiday house at Bellbridge besides Lake Hume only a month prior to check-in. I found Lake Hume to be the most scenic but yet only briefly-mentioned tourist attraction in the Albury-Wondonga region. This low profile may be due to the decade of drought making Lake Hume visually unappealing during periods of low water level. Due to time constraint, I have visited only primarily the Victorian portion of the lake. If I am to return there in the future,...

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Blue Lake, Mt Gambier
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I had originally planned a visit to just Nelson. But when I realized from the Nelson Information Centre that I had just missed a 3-hour Glenelg River Cruise and could only do a 1-hour track around Livingstone Island, I decided to visit Mount Gambier, which is just 35 minutes drive from Nelson, specifically to see its famous Blue Lake. Jens Hotel in Mount Gambier   Mount Gambier is the largest South Australian regional city, 450 km south of Adelaide and just 17 km from the Victorian border. It is renowned for its volcanic features and the Blue Lake, which...

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Tower Hill
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Tower Hill is an extinct volcano 275 km southwest of Melbourne, between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, on the Princes Highway (GPS coordinates S38.319084, E142.363028). A violent volcanic eruption 30,000 years ago created a funnel-shaped crater with a distinctive rim formed from deposition of layers of scoria, ash, limestone and clay fragments around it. Rim of volcano   Subsequent volcanic activity formed a series of small scoria cones within the main crater. These became islands in a lake when the crater filled up with water.   Tower Hill lies at the western end of a line of 30 similar volcanoes,...

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Codrington
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Codrington is located 10 km west of Yambuk, is the only Australian township that is named after a bushranger. In 1850, Codrington Revingstone held up the Portland to Port Fairy mail coach three times and the area became known as “Codrington’s Forest“. In the 1870s, a township was surveyed on the projected road to Portland close to the coast and named, unwittingly, as Codrington. A road was later built inland and the proposed coastal township is never established. Bird statue guarding the entrance to Codrington Wind Farm   There are a few places of interest in Codrington: Wormwood Garden...

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Yambuk
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Yambuk is a small town 18 km west of Port Fairy and 296 km west of Melbourne, where the Princes Highway crosses the Shaw River. At the 2006 census, the town and surrounding area had a population of 540. “Yambuk” has been variously interpreted as referring to the red kangaroo, full moon, eel lake, big water and so on. Whatever the meaning, there is no doubt that Yambuk was originally the home of aboriginal people who enjoyed the abundant food in the area. The limestone cliffs to the east of the town have yielded numerous middens which indicate that...

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Port Fairy
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Port Fairy is a coastal town on the Moyne River in southwestern Victoria, 290 km west of Melbourne (4 hours drive) and 28 km west of Warrnambool. It is where Dr. Denis Napthine, the 47th Premier of Victoria, lives. The Knarn Kolak aboriginal people have long inhabited the area. Port Fairy was named in about 1827 when Captain Wishart sheltered from a storm at the mouth of the River Moyne in his cutter Fairy. In the early 19th century, whalers and seal hunters used the coast in this region. John Griffiths established a whaling station on Griffiths Island in...

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The Crags
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The Crags, located 12 km west of Port Fairy, features one of the most rugged, wild and scenic sections of the Victorian coast. From Port Fairy, drive west on Princes Highway and turn left into Crags Rd, which ends in a carpark (S38.37122 E142.11115), from which you walk about 2 minutes to the viewing platform.   An appreciation of why this area is named The Shipwreck Coast can be seen from the menacing rock formations jutting from the seabed as well as from the ferocious waves pounding the coast as seen in the following video.   120,000 year ago,...

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Cape Nelson
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Cape Nelson State Park is a 243-hectare state park, 12.3 km south of Portland’s city centre. Cape Nelson was named by British navigator Lieutenant James Grant on 5 Dec 1800 after the ship Lady Nelson he was sailing on along the Victorian coast. He also named most of the region’s coastal features, including Cape Bridgewater, Cape Grant, Lawrence Rock, Julia Percy Island and Portland Bay. The French renamed Cape Nelson as Cape Duquesne in 1802 but the name did not endure. The park features high rugged cliffs, a species of eucalyptus known as soap mallee which is found nowhere...

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Birrarung Marr
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Birrarung Marr is a 8.3 hectare park on the north bank of Yarra River, besides Federation Square. It is named in the Woiwurrung language of the indigenous Wurundjeri people, with Birrarung meaning “river of mists” and Marr refering to the side of the river.   Ironically, this site was not on the “side of the river” known by the original inhabitants. The Yarra River flowed through what is now the Botanic Gardens and the ornamental lake there is part of the original river. In the 19th century, the European colonists altered the course of the Yarra River for flood...

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Wandiligong
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Wandiligong is a small town of about 250 people, 330 km northeast of Melbourne and 6 km south of Bright. Established in the 1850s during the Victorian gold rush, it was at one stage home to over 2,000 people. The whole town is now registered with the National Trust as a historic landscape and features historical buildings such as the Manchester Unity Public Hall (built in 1874), the general store, several churches and a number of quaint cottages.   The town is set in a picturesque valley surrounded by forests and mountain ranges. The National Trust describes the Wandiligong...

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Autumn in Bright
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Where is the best place to see the colours of Autumn? I do not know about Melbourne – I will greatly appreciate if someone can inform me of a good place in Melbourne. However, I do know that there is a place in Victoria that looks spectacular during Autumn and people specifically visit that place for the ambience. I am talking about the town of Bright in the High Country of Northeast Victoria, about 4 hours drive from Altona. The colours are in their full glory during the Bright Autumn Festival which run from 29th April to 11th May...

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Port Campbell National Park
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If you join a day tour to the Great Ocean Road, the coach will normally travel via M1/A1 (Princes Freeway/Highway) in the forward journey and along the coast on the return journey or vice-versa. Two or three stops will be made along the coast, with the coach passing through coastal holiday towns such as Apollo Bay and Lorne. There will only be time to make two or three stops at Port Campbell National Park, that is, at Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and perhaps London Bridge. I would say the gems of these natural wonders are concentrated in Port...

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Pigface
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Everyday when I take train home or to work, I will marvel at the pink carpets of pigface as the train passes by the Altona Coastal Park. Now is the best time to have a close look as the pigface is in full bloom. However, it has been raining. When the sky cleared last Saturday, we immediately paid a visit to the Altona Coastal Park.   Carpobrotus is a genus of ground-creeping plants, with large daisy-like flowers, succulent leaves and long stems. The name refers to its edible fruits, “karpos” meaning fruit and “brota” meaning edible in Greek. Common...

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