The Fella and I decided to go away in Alice the Caravan — down the Geelong Rd, through Geelong, down to Portarlington. In the non-summer months it is a little town on the beach of Port Phillip Bay. In summer the numbers swell. Apparently there are 5,000 residents a night at the caravan park in January! How nice to only have us and a handful of others when we were away.
For readers unfamiliar with my part of the world, I need to divert to a quick geography lesson — made easier, I hope, with a map! Hopefully an understanding will make my photos a bit more interesting.
Melbourne is situated on Port Phillip Bay, a very large body of water. Melbourne curves around its edges on the eastern side, while the western side leads to Geelong, Victoria’s second largest city. Beyond Geelong is the Bellarine Peninsula, where Portarlington is. The Bay is nearly enclosed, with only a very narrow opening at the Heads. On the western side is Queenscliff and on the eastern is Point Nepean; out through the Heads is Bass Strait.
Once we had Alice bedded down in the caravan park we wandered off to explore. There is a spot in Queenscliff, just past the fort, where you can watch the boats come through the Heads. Unfortunately, there weren’t any sailing past when we were there 😦 However, we did lunch on very yummy hamburgers with the lot!
This narrow, rocky opening is very difficult for ships to navigate successfully. Each one has to be escorted in and out by a pilot who knows the waters, hence the plaque dedicated to them.
Of course, there is a lighthouse at Queenscliff.
We also wandered to Barwon Heads, where the Barwon River enters the sea. The bridge there is fabulous, really old style.
The beach at Portarlington was heaven for a beachcomber like me. It is not very big, but so many shells and feathers, even a couple of sea urchin shells. I was never sure whether to look at the sand at my feet or the views across the Bay! As the caravan park is right on the beach I was able to wander at will.
The Portarlington jetty would be a perfect habitat for weedy seadragons. I looked hard, but couldn’t see any. I am sure that they must have been there, quietly wafting their way through the seaweed, talking to the starfish.
The weather turned when we were there and our last morning was showery and blustery. These photos were taken as we were leaving to head home.
6 replies on “Portarlington with Alice”
Lovely. I am familiar with Port Phillip Bay but only the view from St Klda, and also from Geelong. Your description of wandering and collecting along the beach made me want to be there as well. Your hand drawn and coloured map is gorgeous. The time you spent colouring my maps for Geography was well spent 🙂
If you are a beachcomber like me, you would love this beach! Pop it onto your list of places to visit when you get your caravan. Just don’t come in Summer!
I love your hand drawn map, so much better than the official thing 🙂
Great pictures, especially the one of Melbourne in the distance.
That photo of Melbourne is one of my favourites too. When you are across the Bay from the city (it works in Dromana too) it looks like Atlantis rising out of the water.
There’s something endearing about hand-drawn maps, especially if you don’t need to follow them to actually get somewhere. 🙂
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