After the Rain on the Friday night it was doubtful whether this trip would go ahead at all given that the Princes Highway was blocked with water. However, I am happy to report that the outing did go ahead and although it rained on the way there, the weather turned out to be very good indeed although a little windy. On the way there and approaching the Geelong area I started to see custom cars all over the place and realised that we were going to be sharing a very busy Queenscliff. I arrived at the Hesse Road car park around 09.45 to find it pretty deserted but a BIG cup of coffee from the cabin at the top of the car park soon got me into the swing of things. No sooner had I finished it when Stephen turned up followed closely by Ian and Fred. Although we waited until 10.50, nobody else turned up so we set off exploring the area. A walk along the seafront revealed some very interesting rock formations and I think that some landscape (seascape) with photographer images were snaeakily taken here. We walked along the beach narrowly avoiding the waves by the rocks below the fortress and on the a jetty which was pretty uneventful so it was on to the next jetty which was much more promising. This jetty had the old waiting shed designed to keep passengers for the ferry out of the elements and the old lifeboat station which has now fallen in to disrepair. Then it was back along the jetty and into the area where the custom car show was being held and as we transited through looking at the odd car and trailer we realised that we had gate crashed what was a paid area. At this point as Fred realised that he had left his bag and sun cream in Ian’s car decided that he needed to walk back for it so we adjourned for lunch in a nice Queenscliff cafe whilst we waited for Fred. Fred back and lunch over we walked back down to the station where we poured over the old steam engine waiting in the station to take passengers on a joy ride. We then moved along the shore to the marina and on to the ferry terminal which has taken on a look of an international terminal in these recent years. I remember waiting for a ferry here a few years ago and we could find was a closed cafe where now there is a hive of restaraunts, a 360 degree observation tower and a raft of diving and fishing shops.
The observation tower which is free, gives you a very good veiw of the Rip by the Heads so it was worth the climb up the stairs, well for three of us it was as one of us cheated and used the elevator. Not wanting to name this person it was noted that Ian walked back down with us saying it was easier to walk down than up. From here we walked back through the town up to the lighthouse at the top of the park and then along the road back towards the cars. We noticed that the impenetrable fort had opened its gates for the 3pm tour so we diceided that we would have a closer look at the fort. Ian had to leave so the three remaining paid our money and waited for the tour to start. Fort Queenscliffe is still a working army base so ID in the form of a driving licence and addresses have to be provided to visit and though I thought that photography would be banned it wasn’t and in fact we were allowed to take pictures where we liked. The tour guide almost outnumbered the visitors but the 5 to 1 ratio was very comfortable and her knowledge was exceptional. We heard about the history of the lighthouse, signal tower, fort and the ghosts that reside there as well as being allowed into the keep, the magazines and tunnel complex. The fort also has a very well stocked and informative museum which is part of the very reasonable $10 entry fee.
After the tour we walked back to the cars and took a drive to Point Lonsdale to get a better look at the Rip and the Lighthouse and a short walk along the rocky beach revealed a few more shots. The lighthouse here is very much a working lighthouse and commands a very good view of the Bass Straight and the Heads but having lots of ariels and communication dishes doesn’t make it the most photogenic lighthouse ever.
After this, as it was around 5.30, we bid farewell and returned home after what was a very good day out.
It was a shame that more members didn’t turn up but given the weather on Friday it wasn’t a suprise. I did receive an apology from Wendy who couldn’t make it at the last minute so thanks Wendy for letting us know. Otherwise we’ll see you all at the next outing which is Sunday 6th March to the Blue Lotus Water Gardens. This is a great venue and is not to be missed.