Feb 3- Portland

We packed up and did our final drive through Halls Gap. The drive south was the way we had come in a few days ago but seeing all of the Grampians from a different angle was like a whole new trip.

We emerged from an incredible few days immersed in the Grampians with the road heading through the town of Dunkeld that labels itself as the “southern Grampians gateway’. As we drove through town – for us it will be remembered as the spot Amy saw a ute drive past with an unfortunate Sulphur-crested Cockatoo spread-eagle splattered on the front grill. Not surprising given the number of them feeding along the roadsides.

We continued to head south towards Portland on the coast. We were tempted to head back through Port Fairy which deserved more exploration (and admiration of the original architecture) but Portland had plenty of history about it too. The first we noticed as we stopped at a fish and chip shop for lunch was the original block stone gutters – something like you’d see in The Rocks in Sydney. They were rough and almost seemed uneven yet obviously continued to serve their purpose and were maintained by council as the accepted guttering system.

Down on the harbour it was amazing to see the scale of the port. Woodchip, pine logs (as in… lots and lots of pine logs…) and some grain was what we could see stockpiled – aluminium and apparently fertiliser are also core products that pass through.

We checked what camps were around and decided that staying in town might be the go. A small local caravan park we found was mostly full with the Geelong Fishing Club holding it’s annual competition – lots of boats taking up space but there was a large non-powered camping area which was mostly empty. For $25 a night we went for it and got a nice spot in about the only remnant bush left in the town. Actually, thanks to Nanna Fleur signing us up as a member to Top Parks – we paid $22.50 with a 10% discount – the bean-counter rubbed her hands together and estimated we could afford to do a load of washing in the camp laundry!

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