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south western region of Victoria


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This is the “ship-wreck coast”, where the onslaught of the Southern Ocean creates one of the highest swells to hit a coast in the world.

This was the home to my ancestors - the Mills family - two of whom were early settlers and famous sailors/whalers in the region. A great grandmother of mine, Maryanne Blackwood LANE at age 12yrs and her family were among those rescued when their ship, the Schomberg, en route from England, disintegrated on rocks near Petersborough in 1855.

To see the fury of this region check it out in winter but bring your coats and hang on to your hats! To enjoy the beach life, explore, and surf the great waves of nearby Bell's Beach, then try Feb-April avoiding the summer crowds of January.

Warning - most of these beaches are too dangerous to swim in due to the power of the waves and currents - there are safe patrolled beaches so use these. The famous Twelve Apostles in winter 2004

And then there were eleven - December 2005 after one had collapsed   




Moonlight Heads:

Port Campbell:


  • Bay of Martyrs - good sunset view of the rock stacks of the Bay of Islands
  • Bay of Islands carpark west of Peterborough
  • accommodation:


  • great area for younger children with its adventure playground, safe beaches, aquarium
  • tide times are similar to Portland which are approx. 2hr 40m before Port Phillip Heads - see here
  • Country Music Festival
  • central caravan park has excellent facilities including ensuite for camping sites and indoor swimming pool, walking distance to city centre.

Port Fairy:

  • historic whaling village, Victoria's 1st settlement
  • Port Fairy Folk Festival - Victoria's main folk festival - mostly in concert format - Mar 7-10 2003
  • B&B:
    • Inverary Homestead Branxholme ph: 5578 6212 - bluestone c1867 on 1700 acre sheep property; children welcome; 3BR;


  • historic whaling port with a large harbour ~370km (4hrs) drive from Melbourne via either Hamilton-Ballarat or Warrnambool-Colac-Geelong, or  8hrs via Geelong & The Great Ocean Road
  • farmer Edward Henty became the 1st permanent settler in Nov 1834, however, Capt William Dutton established a shore-based whaling industry in 1829 and many whalers lived their before Henty arrived. The whales were driven to the brink of extinction & the industry was wound up after 1840.
  • major sea port for live sheep exports & the aluminium industries
  • tide times are approx. 2hr 40m before Port Phillip Heads - see here
  • Cape Nelson lighthouse
  • Mt Richmond National Park - approx. 30km west
  • Bridgwater Bay - ocean surf beach approx. 30km west
  • accommodation:



  • limestone coast 77km west of Portland, and some 380km? from Melbourne via Ballarat, Hamilton & Digby - generally good driving.
  • quiet, small town adjacent to the SA border, the Glenelg River opens to the sea - but no ocean boat access - for this you need to go to Port MacDonell in Sth Aust (~25km west) or Bridgewater Bay east towards Portland. 
  • can boat and fish along the deep, winding Glenelg River, through the deep gorges in the limestone cave region of the Princess Margaret Caves and inland through the Lower Glenelg State Park for some 50km of its 400km length, although the estuary lake leading to the river opening is shallow - often only 12-18“ deep at low tide necessitating a flat bottom boat or careful monitoring of tides.
  • there are boat-launching ramps at several points along the river. Canoes can be hired from Nelson and Dartmoor/Winnap and taken either upstream or downstream.
  • two sections of the lower reaches of the river are set aside for power boating and water skiing.
  • boat speed limit is generally 8 knots
  • to use a motor boat from Nelson to Princess Margaret Caves, operator needs a SA motor boat licence!
  • fishing is mainly for bream but the occasional mulloway is the main prize often using live mullet as bait - these are found in the deep holes (often 40' deep) in the estuary part of the river most of the year except Aug-Nov when mini-flooding causes water to be muddy with result that mulloway migrate out to the ocean.
  • nearby is the world-renown Pickininnie Ponds freshwater snorkeling & scuba diving site with crystal clear waters descending into the chasms of limestone caves - the ocean beach here is the main area for surf fishing in the region.
  • significant pine forest plantation industries from Nelson to Digby. 
  • maps:
  • accommodation:
    • houses:
    • River Vu caravan & camping park - small but adjacent the river boat ramp & main amenities
    • Kyong caravan park - 1km inland, much larger camping ground
    • There are cabins and a camping ground at Princess Margaret Rose Cave (bookings required).
    • Camping is also permitted beside the Glenelg River (permits required) ph: 13 11963



  • Port MacDonell, Sth Australia - ocean boat access for Nelson region
  • Mt Gambier, Sth Australia
australia/vic/southwestern.txt · Last modified: 2012/02/27 15:14 by gary1

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