Day 8 - Portland to Mininera

Portland InnWell we survived the ten hour ride from Apollo Bay to Portland. We stayed at the Portland Inn in Portland last night and we really enjoyed our stay. Portland Inn SignPortland is situated around Portland Bay and is the only deep water port between Melbourne and Adelaide. The Portland Inn was built in 1841 and is the oldest building in Victoria still on its original site. The owners, Elaine and Grahame McDonald, are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet and they were extremely helpful. When we arrived last night we were exhausted and all we wanted to do was relax. Elaine made a pot of tea and hot chocolate for us and set out some biscuits (cookies) to munch on. Then she gave us the number for the local pizza place, which luckily for us delivered. So we got to experience Australian-style pizza, which was so-so. At least we didn't have the experience of another couple that are posting the experiences of their world tour on the web. In one of the Eastern European countries they ordered pizza and were given a pizza crust with cold tomato sauce, dollops of cheese, and pickles on top!

So far I haven't seen any pickles on pizza, but I have eaten a hamburger with a fried egg on top of it. Yesterday we stopped in at a sandwich place called the Great Australian Bite for a hamburger and some chips (french fries). You could either order a plain hamburger or a hamburger with the lot. The menu said that one of the fillings with the lot was egg. I interpreted this to mean that they put egg inside the hamburger and boy was I wrong. What they do is fry up an egg and put it on your hamburger along with the usual condiments. I thought it tasted pretty good, although I'm sure the fried egg doesn't do much for the cholesterol count on a hamburger. One other thing about the burgers at the Great Australian Bight is that they taste like pork, not beef.

Portland Inn InteriorAfter finishing our pizza we kicked back and watched some TV (Age of Innocence) in the lounge. By ten o'clock I was working on yesterday's web page describing the trip from Apollo Bay to Portland, and watching the movie. It took me until about 1 am to sift through all the photos I took of the Great Ocean Road and post the best ones. When I get back home I'm going to post just the pictures from our trip in a photo gallery for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to read my writing ;-) Portland Inn GardensUntil then here's some pictures of the interior of the Portland Inn and their flower garden. For all my friends and family in New Jersey here's a small bit of trivia about Victoria. Both Victoria and New Jersey share the distinction of being the Garden State. In Victoria's case it's because almost every town has a public gardens and also because the state government encourages all its citizens to have a garden on their property. They even offer official state recognition to many of these personal gardens. I forget exactly why New Jersey is called the Garden State, but I think it had something to do with all the farms that it once had.

The BlowholesThe following morning after a great breakfast at the Portland Inn we took a short driving tour of nearby Cape Bridgewater. The cliffs on the west coast of Cape Bridgewater are composed of basalt, and covered in dune limestone. Water drains through the limestone, along the line of contact and emerges as springs along the cliffs, resulting in fresh water pools. The BlowholesThe volcanic rock at the base of the cliff is formed mainly of basalt and scoria. Scoria is eroded more easily by the sea than basalt, and this erosion has created the Blowholes you see here, that display spectacular spouts of sea spray during high seas. Close to the Blowholes you can also see the petrified remains of an ancient forest. There are many theories as to how this area was formed. One accepted theory is that there was once a forest of Moonah trees which were smothered by a large sand dune. Water seeping down through the sand formed a crust of sandstone on the outside of the tree trunks, gradually increasing in diameter. This process decayed the organic matter, leaving behind "petrified trunks". There is also a colony of Australian Fur Seals on Cape Bridgewater that is a two hour hike from the information kiosk parking lot. We didn't have the time to visit it, but we're told that it's quite a sight. The trails around Cape Bridgewater are part of the Great South West Walk which is 250 kilometers of hiking trails that begin and end in Portland. Along the way it passes through coastal forests, the Glenelg River, white sand beaches, and towering stone cliffs.

There's one other thing about Portland that I have to mention. Every gas station in Portland sells bait. I'm not talking about Mom & Pop gas stations here. BP, Mobil, and Shell all sell bait at their gas stations. It reminded me of the Jersey Shore where I grew up. But on the Jersey Shore there are usually bait shops with gas pumps, not the other way around. Well we've got a long ride to Mininera in front of us, so I better wrap this up. See ya' tomorrow.


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