For us, it was a chance for a travel holiday outside of New South Wales.
We were excited to travel and see the places we planned to visit. This holiday was on the drawing board a month ago – when, where, what and how long, etc., were considered and finally, everything were iron out two weeks before the scheduled flight ... to Victoria! The twelve Apostles as well as the Enchanted Maze Garden were the main attractions to visit; both are in the opposite directions of our base camp at Torquay.
The flight was at seven in the morning of June 09, and so we woke up early at four in the morning to catch up the flight. The kids have to carry their own back packs, thick jumpers, on with bennies and scarf around their necks … it was so cold during that morning. It was half passed eight in the morning when we get out of the Avalon airport in Victoria. The first target of the journey was the Enchanted Maze Garden in the Mornington Peninsula which was more than an hour drive from this airport.
Enchanted maze Garden
They say autumn is the best time to visit this places as the grande alley flame-red Liquid Amber Trees and a mountain of golden and amber leaves are all invigorating and colourful. To date, the garden has the following attractions - tree Surfing, tube slide rides, obstacle courses, hedge mazes, 3D indoor mazes, bush adventure scramble, fantasy gardens, and enchanted creations.
The car park was already full when we got here, we did just park on the road side but after an hour or so, more visitors parked alongside with us. That was remarkably stark indication how much visitors were received during that day.
The traditional Hedge Maze with Japanese Garden in the centre is the trademark of the garden. People got lose here easily looking for the exit or the centre (which is a Japanese garden), and we were one of them. The maze was so big, tall, and has confusing way in and out of it, a mad maze indeed!
The 3D indoor maze also attracted our attention. Inside of it are labyrinth of graffiti like arts on walls (but of course with directions this time), with piped in loud and scary music, high impact intense colours of blue, orange to red, and yellow green on both narrow walls of walkways. Then there was this bridge totally enveloped with a tube like turning painted blanket passage which was scarier to enter into. Each individual entering the 3D maze was provided with 3D glasses. Indeed, a sort of a crazy maze full of fun!
Also, the tube slides were full of fun too. Heaps of children and adults did enjoy this attraction. Tree surf was fun, as we saw it but never tried it because advance booking is required before availing this facility.
The notable sculptures along paths throughout the Sculpture Park added more glamour, they were skillfully carved out of cypress logs by Ken Blum, an artist in residence. Using chainsaws, axes and chisels Ken has revealed the faces of many of the indigenous people who once roamed the area.
The Fairy Park
Fairy Park is crafted out on spectacular rocky hilltop into a truly unique place where family and friends come to relax and enjoy a day out together in a tranquil environment, with over 33 attractions in place. The three main areas that combine to form Fairy Park are the Fairytale Land, Camelot Playground and the Elephant Rock Picnic Grounds. The park is housed in beautiful buildings including castles, cottages and caves all set amongst neatly kept gardens, giant boulders and lovely water features.
We’ve seen Cinderella at the Grand Ball, squirted the Frog Prince at his waterfall, saw Jack in his beanstalk, joined the Teddy Bears at their Picnic and heard the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears among others.
Some of the favourite Fairytale characters are Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio to Rumplestilzchen, Alladin and Snow White. There are over 22 animated hand crafted scenes that come to life at the push of a button, all with digitised sound and lighting. Indeed, amazing for the kids!
For train buffs, the hilltop Castle incorporates a huge model train set and a Train Museum housing a rare collection of Markilin (guage1) model trains.
Nestled beside the extinct volcano of Mt Anakie is the summit of Elephant Rock with breathtaking 360° panoramic views. A truly remarkable location for a great fun!
Again, heaps of families with kids around were on shoulder to shoulder along the pathway leading up to the fairy castle, all wanting to reach the summit, cameras popping out as they moved on and up to another attractions.
There’s a lot to capture here, in a photo shoot. I admit, I did have a wonderful time taking shots but failed to capture panoramic and creative photos!
The Great Ocean Road
We hit this road when we traveled up to the place where the 12 Apostles are, just right after we finished our tour of the Fairy Park at Anakie, and that was after lunch time. The Great Ocean Road, which starts at Torquay and travels 243 kilometres westward to finish at Allansford near Warrnambool, the largest city along the road. The road is two lane (one in each direction), with the majority covered by an 80 kilometre per hour speed limit.
It is a winding road, and is considered a tourist attraction in the area, in which much of the road hugs coastline affectionately known as the Surf Coast between Torquay and Cape Otway and the Shipwreck Coast further west of Cape Otway, providing visibility of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. The road traverses rainforests, as well as beaches and cliffs composed of limestone and sandstone, which is susceptible to erosion. The road travels via Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell, where we stopped for the 12 Apostles.
Apollo Bay is another beautiful and stunning place to stay and experience or feel the air at the bay as well as the surrounding mountainous region. I captured some photos of this town too.
We also had a brief stop at the Koala Cove Café, in Kenet River for snacks and rest that was around three in the afternoon.
Then another stop at the Gibsons Steps where I took some seascape photos of the area below the road, at sea level. This is another lovely coastal attraction along the road, not far from the Port Campbell National Park.
Rex and Jed took turns in driving up and down this winding road while I took photos of the sceneries along the way. Most often I fall short of this endeavour as I doze off most the time because of the long driving effect. After three hours of driving back again, we reached our Beach House at Torquay, around nine in the evening.
We arrived at this place late afternoon during our second day of holiday. It was cloudy, windy and in any minute rain will fall over us. The car park was full of visitors; two police cars were visible at the entrance and were seen busy checking out incoming cars. Visitors are from all different nationalities but Indians were dominating the pack at that time.
The rock stacks were indeed stunning and captivating! You can see at the faces of visitors a sense of awe and amazement, and most of them taking snap shots at every possible angle, the rock stacks as a background to their photos.
In geological aspect, the formation was created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10-20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. The 12 Apostles at sunrise and sunset are at their best beauty as they change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun.
Half an hour later after we’re there, rain started to pour down, but I can still see people going out there to take a look at them. I was already at the kiosk area taking shelter at that time.
We visited Geelong during our first day around five in the afternoon when we went shopping at the Corio Shopping Centre to buy foods, and during our last day of our holiday. We discovered the beauty and magnetic charm of the Geoolong waterfront, the extensive artistry and makeover in and around the park. I was astonished at how they made the Cummingham Pier as a huge car park. It was full with cars when we were there. The waterfront is recorded as the main tourist attraction for the city.
Geelong is a port city located on Corio Bay and the Barwon River, in the state of Victoria, Australia, 75 kilometres south-west of the state capital, Melbourne. It is the second most populated city in Victoria and the fifth most populated non-capital city in Australia.
Geelong has a rich history dating back from the gold rush in Ballarat, to its transition to a manufacturing hub up to its present transformation as a great city.
The scheduled closure of Ford's Australian manufacturing base in 2016 was confirmed in late May 2013 and is considered as major set-back there whereby hundreds of workers will be losing their jobs.
We had our two-night slept at Torquay. The house we rented is just a walking distance to the beach and into the town centre.
The beach was cool, and I had the chance to capture its seascape during sunrise luckily, it was low tide, too. At that time I wasn't alone at the beach, there was another photographer out there complete with gears. You know, my heart was trobbing ecstatically upon sensing the beauty around the beach, very captivating, that I said to myself, these must be preserved in photo shots and be shared with to others. For every shot I took at every angle of the beach, I know these could be another recorded view of how nature exposes itself unto us.
I would compare a part of the beach as calm and picturesque as the beach in Dee Why in Sydney. Just above the road are holiday houses or beach houses which are readily available for occupancy by holiday makers.
Torquay is a township in Victoria, Australia, which faces Bass Strait, 21 km. south of Geelong and is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road.
The Torquay area is famous for its surf beaches, with Jan Juc and the world famous Bells Beach located on the town's south-west outskirts. It was home to the popular Offshore Festival in the late 1990s.
Many of the world's most famous surf companies have their home in Torquay, including Rip Curl, Piping Hot and Quiksilver - all of which make up part of the Surf Coast Plaza, which provides shopping and eating, as well as the Surf World Museum.
We visited the city of Melbourne after we’re done in Geelong, and before our flight back to Sydney that was on the 11th of June. Because of limited time, we just focused our visit to the Yarra River leading up to the Federation Square area. Of course we had seen its tramline, some of the city’s prominent buildings such as Melbourne’s Aquarium, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Victoria University at Collins Street, including the Albert’s Park.
On the contrary, we had a hard time looking for a car park, and then an exit out of the city, traffic was so horrible.
Melbourne is often referred to as the "cultural capital of Australia.” It has a rich history too, and has great significance and interest to travelers and holiday makers. In November 2008, it was announced that the Victorian Major Events Company had informed the Australian Olympic Committee that Melbourne was considering making bids for either the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics.
For me, I would like to consider another holiday trip to the city of Melbourne; there are I believe more interesting places and things to discover here.
At the Beach House, during the last day of our holiday, ready and set to go to Geelong and to the city of Melbourne and then after that back to Sydney.