Monday, July 15, 2013

A whale of a time

The first two weeks of July are traditionally the coldest of the year so where did we decide to go during the school holidays?  Warrnambool - that's right - one of the coldest places you can visit in south western Victoria.  Let's just say that I got my money's worth from the down jacket I bought a few weeks ago... Mr Rosanna's parents are both originally from that part of the world so it was great to take the boys there for a visit to see where Nan and Papa both grew up.  A tip if you do go: take the inland route via Foxhow Road as it cuts at least 30 minutes of travelling time from the usual 3 1/2 - 4 hour trip and you can stop half way in Inverleigh.
Will & Thomas at the Breakwater on top of the old aquarium tanks
Of course, we'd timed it well as the award winning Fun4Kids Festival was on the week we visited so there was lots to see and do despite the cold weather.  It was sunny the day we arrived so we took the boys down to the Lake Pertobe adventure park and maze opposite the Surfside caravan park down a boulevard of trees all the way to the Breakwater where the views of the rough, rugged surf and coastline are fantastic.  You can also take a walk along the boardwalk to Thunder Point (I love all the names!) .  It's worth a visit to the Pavilion cafe for a coffee or meal which looks out onto the water and is relatively new - the staff were super friendly.  We didn't visit the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Heritage Centre (think Sovereign Hill but for shipwrecks rather than goldfields) but will save this for another time.
Me and the boys at the Warrnambool Hotel restaurant
I actually celebrated my birthday while we were away and despite the miserable weather, we had a fantastic meal in the very stylish environs of the Hotel Warrnambool restaurant in front of an open fire after venturing to not one, two but three pubs in Port Fairy before turning back.  I've heard great things about the Stag restaurant there but the pubs in Port Fairy were all a bit sad looking and feeling.  Mr Rosanna and I went back to Hotel Warrnambool for a counter meal with the boys in the bistro later that week before catching a movie on one of the rainy days we were there.
Warnnambool Fun4Kids Festival
We did also go to the Fun4Kids Festival which thankfully was indoors and under cover.  It wasn't cheap - $135 for a family day pass - but we got to see some live music (and there were also magic, science and other shows on the main stage), visit the baby animal farm which the boys loved and spend time at the huge indoor playground where we bumped into comedian Dave Hughes (who grew up in Warrnambool) and his family and yes, he really does speak like that in real life.  There were heaps of other things to do there from craft making, to racing slot cars, sword fighting, sand sculpting, badge making, plank building as well as eating at the temporary food court.  You can bring your own food in but not takeaway.  I must say though that the highlight for the boys was probably playing air hockey for 10 minutes (for which we paid $2!) and eating fairy floss in the amusement parlour/bowling alley section...there were a lot of families from Melbourne who'd visited every day with a weekly pass.
The boys outside the old bank building where Papa once lived upstairs
We also managed some day trips out of Warrnambool - the Tower Hill nature reserve (inside an extinct volcano!) is well worth a visit on a better day.  This was near Koroit where Papa grew up and we went for a walk down the main street before grabbing a drink at Mickey Bourke's pub - some of the old buildings are beautiful and the town has a lot of character and is where many Irish people first settled.
Inside the main shed at the Mailor's Flat Antiques Store
Python at the Warrnambool Undercover Market
Mr Rosanna and I even managed to go to a few antique stores with the boys including Mailor's Flat where the antique centre was something like out of American Pickers - huge with lots of treasures inside including an old train carriage with pressed metal interior.  There is also the Warrnambool Independent Traders Market run out of the old Fletcher Jones clothing factory where I picked up a vintage clutch from Hong Kong and a Japanese silk screen print - both were $15 each - a bargain!  And we went to the weekly Warrnambool Undercover Market where the boys got to hold a snake and baby crocodile!  We also grabbed hamburgers from the award winning old school cafe Kermonds on our last day which the boys loved.
Sand dunes at Levy's Point
Other things worth doing included visiting the sand dunes at Levy's Point as well as trying to see some whales at Logan's Beach lookout.  Sadly there were none to see but we managed to have a lot of fun in the five days we were down there.  Warrnambool is one of Victoria's biggest regional towns (bigger than Geelong) and given all that's there, there really isn't much to want for outside of Melbourne in terms of food and culture, perhaps just some upmarket clothing stores to choose from if you're wanting some retail therapy.  Warrnambool - we will be back again one day!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a wonderful time! Can't say I'd enjoy holding that snake though! We absolutely loved our time in Warrnambool recently and have been to fun4kids in the past. Well worth the trip - would gladly go back!