Last year I wrote a post about visiting the Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong, south of Melbourne, Australia as part of preparing to run a conference there.
In March this year the conference went ahead with great success and my friend Beth hosted me and a group of New Zealanders who stayed on for the weekend on a follow up tour of the area. Sorry I am only just writing this up now as things have been busy.
The conference dinner was held at the House of Jack Rabbit at the Jack Rabbit Vineyard. It is a stunning location looking out at Port Phillip Bay. We were there at sunset and could see the sunlight glinting on the windows in downtown Melbourne far across the water. As well as being a spectacular venue, the vineyard and restaurant are committed to sustainable practices. We are treated to a wine tasting of their wines, followed by a mussel demonstration with mussels sustainably farmed in the bay in front of the vineyard. The food is pretty amazing too.
Our Saturday tour started from the Waurn Ponds Estate conference venue where we were all staying. We were treated to a hearty farm breakfast at Beth’s rural property. We picked tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, spinach and more from the garden and then Beth made us a delicious scrambled egg dish with all the vegetables in it, using eggs from their hens. What a special treat!
Then we headed south through the rural countryside to the Great Otways National Park that stretches along the Great Ocean Road at Cape Otway. Our destination was Otway Fly Treetop Adventures. There are a range of activities available here including rainforest walks, zip-lining and the tree top walkway 30 metres above the ground in the rainforest. It was amazing to look down on the range of vegetation from so high up and to be able to view it looking upwards from the forest floor as well.
We had planned to drive more of the Great Ocean but were running out of time so we headed inland and then down to the coast again at Lorne, a popular weekend getaway town known for its surfing. We had a late lunch at the Lorne Hotel followed by an icecream and a walk on the beach.
Then we headed into Geelong city, picking up Beth’s husband Stuart on the way, for a gin tasting at the Anther Distillery. This was followed by dinner at 1915 restaurant which is also at the old Federal Woollen Mills precinct. They serve delicious Mediterranean-style food and we ordered the ‘feed me’ menu that gave us a great selection of their favourites. A very fitting end to a lovely day – thanks Beth.
Geelong has a lovely waterfront too and on my first night there we had dinner at Wah Wah Gee, an Asian fusion restaurant out on the end of the pier. These photos were taken by my colleague.