Monday, January 30, 2012

Roadtrip to Radelaide: Ballarat to Warrnambool

A roadtrip to get to the cricket test in Adelaide was so much fun last year, we decided that we would complete the country crossing by arriving from Melbourne this time. Well, Ballarat actually, as Belinda, Jess and Dillo arrived by train ready for a night out as Night Zero.

Drinks at the Miner's Cottage before we went to the Lake View for dinner, more drinks, and to show off the sun setting across Lake Wendouree. The 'Rat put on a bit of a show for the out-of-towners, before we headed back into town to JD's for dodgy cover music, and then trusty Karova Lounge for dancing. A much larger night that was intended, Laura found some slightly weary roadtrippers the following morning when she joined us in Ballarat.

We finally picked up the hire car, and hit the road, leaving Dillo in Ballarat. Taking the Sheilas back out to the outskirts of Ballarat so that they could check off the Big Miner, we were alerted to a flat tyre as we started heading out in the right direction. Not a good start!

Stopping to add air, and hoping for the best, we drove down south on my memory-map, and eventually passed the Camperdown Clock Tower, after a lunch stop at Lismore. Down here, we turned towards the coast, and found the turn off for Simpson.

Now, Dillo had made a bit of noise about us first stopping for the first night of the roadtrip at his parent's farm, but as plans shaped up he went cold on the idea, and then dropped out of this leg, and thus our visit, altogether. Not to be deterred we found the turn off his home town, and then popped into the main store to ask for directions to the family farm. All a little too easy, we were directed and then let in for tea and biscuits, and then a tour, by his mum and dad! Ha!

Back on the road eventually, we followed the directions provided by Dillo's mum as she waved us off....and we totally missed the Twelve Apostles! Oops! Another missed-train-in-China type story for us to laugh about!

We took in the rugged shipwreck coastline, stopping at each of the (more well signposted!!) tourist places, including the Loch Ard Gorge. Totally enchanted by this place as a kid and the story of the survivors who sought refuge here in 1878, it was pretty cool to revisit and take it in again. So pretty, and yet such a rough stretch of land.

As the sun stared to sink lower we checked out the now broken London Bridge before we reached Port Campbell and started to think about finding a place to stay the night.

Finding that the speedway was on at Warrnambool this night, our lackadaisical go-with-the-flow non-planning suddenly looked a little shaky as we started having issues finding a place to stay. Stopping at one of the dodgiest looking places possible, we secured a room at the Turn In Motel for the night at last! Comparing it to Norman Bates' motel, we made a trip to grab dinner and drinking supplies for the night, and settled in to watch the tennis.

Norman, aka Bill Hunter as we named him, was surprised and delighted at having 4 Sheilas stay, after he had declared his motel a speedway patron-free place. He was very friendly, and regardless of it's rustic 60s look and details, it was a perfect stop for our desire to seek out stops out of the ordinary!

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