We woke to an overcast morning and decided it would be better to walk while the weather wasn’t so warm, so after a nice hardy breakfast we set off.

We were prepared with hats, water and sunscreen but not long into the journey realised that we had forgotten a vital element— insecticide. As we wandered along doing a continuous Aussie salute we reflected on the big life question: has some clever inventor invented a sunscreen and insecticide in one?

We passed by the path which led to the “Seal adventures” boat, happy that we had decided not to indulge. We worked out that in the last 12 months we had visited seal colonies in no less than 4 countries and we didn’t need to pay $30pp to listen to a bunch of seals carouse like a collection of drunks at the local pub. We also hadn’t fully recovered from the shock of the stench of hundreds of seals wallowing on buoys in San Francisco Harbour.

The sign had warned of a two hour round trip and a “steep climb” and it was very accurate. The spectacular scenery and encouraging sign at the halfway point “You’ve reached the half way point. You’ve done well” helped to alleviate some of the pain. We reached the summit where a sign reported that we had climbed the highest cliff in Victoria, 130m and then headed down an easier path to the observation deck for the colony. The seals, part of a 650 strong colony, were a fair distance away but their barks were unmistakeable and they moved swiftly through the water hunting for fish. We took some photos before hurrying back fearful we would be carried away by the biggest dragonflies I had ever seen but also keen to cool off in the crystal clear water that beckoned us from below.

After a quick change at the B&B we headed down to the beach. Chris described it as a “Paula surf” which translates as dead flat. You would have to walk out 500ms or more before the water went above waist deep. We had also overestimated the water temperature which was a “refreshing” (Chris speak for “cold”) 20 degrees. Needless to say we didn’t stay in for very long. We sat on the beach to warm up and do some reading but the heat from the sun eventually drove us back to the B&B. We drank oj and munched on tim tams ( a gift from our hosts) and veged out reading.

Later in the afternoon we took a drive into Portland in search of a QLD at a nice pub and something for dinner. We took a drive out to the Cape Nelson lighthouse with its spectacular views interrupted only by the sight of huge wind turbines which dominate the landscape around both capes. We were a little taken with the beautifully restored 4 star accommodation cottages which are available to rent for those who like an uninterrupted view of the coast and who don’t mind a little isolation.

We were surprised by the size of the Portland port and the volume of container traffic it held but were disappointed by the quality of pubs, lamenting our departure from SA, the home of Aussie pub culture. We finally settled on a nice cafe with views to the port and enjoyed our first oysters of the trip and some nice risotto washed down with a local drop.

We headed home after dinner making a small detour to the blowholes at Cape Bridgewater but the only blowing that was going on was that provided by more giant wind turbines. We headed back to the B&B and in the absence of TV other than several SBS channels, we wiled away the hours before bed reading and listening to the mesmerizing crashing of the waves.

Tomorrow we begin our journey along the Great Ocean Road to our eventual destination, Ballarat.