We are currently on the road to Ballarat, having taken the scenic route from Cape Bridgewater. We are pleased to report that it has been three days since our last wine tasting (sounds a bit like the opening to Catholic Reconciliation); but be assured that it is only a rest before Rutherglen.

The scenery has been spectacular with lots of photo stops at: Bay of Islands (not NZ), the Grotto and the 12 Apostles or how ever many for left after recent martyrdoms. The 12 Apostles viewing area has changed a great deal in the last 25 years to cope with the hoardes of tourists, whose varied accents made it quite a Pentecostal experience. Gone is the dusty layby: helicopter pads, kiosk, underpass to the cliffs, interpretative signs and a massive car-park now compete with the scenery.

For once, Bass Strait was dead flat, and the sea gave eddy reflections under a cloudy sky. I remembered my polariser and got some great shots — I’m kicking myself I didn’t have it on yesterday for the seals, because you can see down through the water.

The drive to Apollo Bay and Lorne was a slow one due to a number of “events” that were announced regularly through RTA signs. These towns and others along the way were packed with tourists to the point where we couldn’t stop for lunch. At Lorne, because of a big ocean swim it appeared that most of Victoria had slipped on wetsuits and decided to lap the bay. Even Ballarat has road-racing championships!

We eventually found sustenance by way of some amazing pies at Anglesea but were forced to seek shelter in car to avoid the howling gale. We took
the M1 to Geelong which confused the GPS lady who continually repeated “turn around where possible.” We must get the maps updated!

The western districts are incredibly green thanks to all the rain. We plan to have one last posh meal tonight before the country comforts of Rutherglen.

PS: Happily installed in the Ansonia in Ballarat, a very nice boutique hotel in the centre of town. The pub next door is very swish, but both are in Gold-Rush buildings. Time for posh nosh and nice drinks!