Road trip across Australia – Day 8 Warrnambool

It was still raining in Mt Gambier when we awoke, so we had a very easy morning and didn’t check out of our motel until 10am.
Sightseeing was pretty limited, but we had to see Mt Gambier’s Blue and Grey Lakes. The lakes are located in extinct volcanic craters, and the Blue Lake changes colour twice a year – from a light blue to a dark blue. In winter it is dark blue, and although the water is quite pure, after being filtered through the limestone rock in the area, it does not look inviting. Mt Gambier gets its drinking water from the blue lake, which has a depth of about 70 metres. The Grey Lake lives up to its imaginative name as it is grey.
Watching lakes in cold, wet and windy conditions does nothing to enhance one’s viewing pleasure, next time I will try to visit in Summer when I will no doubt have a cheerier perspective.
We were going to have something of a rest day as we had travelled about 3,000 kilometres in the past week, and the pace was getting tough on out daughter, who has a few medical issues.
We decided that we would just move down the coast to Warrnambool, in Victoria, a drive of just a few hours.
Mt Gambier is very close to the border, and within a few minutes we entered Victoria. You could tell that we were in Victoria, as the roads had got suddenly worse.
By this time we had travelled right across Western Australia and South Australia and the roads had been terrific: smooth, wide, well signposted, plenty of rest areas, with plenty of opportunity for overtaking slower traffic.
The Victorian roads are bumpy, narrow, poorly maintained, with very few rest areas and very limited opportunities for overtaking slow traffic. Victoria’s country roads have a lot of signs advising tired motorists to pull over and have power naps – but there is nowhere to pull over! Compared to Western Australia and South Australia, Victoria’s roads are a disgrace!
The scenery between Mt Gambier and Warrnambool is very pretty, although we did take an in land route rather than follow the coast, which would probably have been more scenic. The only problem was that a driver has to concentrate more when driving in Victoria because the roads are unpredictable. They have many signs warning that the road has a rough surface – perhaps the Victorian Road Authority should spend less on signs on more on improving their roads! Victoria is Australia’s second smallest state, but it has Australia’s second largest population. Given that it is a small state (by Australian standards) they really should have Australia’s best roads.
We arrived in Warrnambool mid-afternoon, and booked into a really good motel, then headed out to get some supplies.
Warrnambool is an attractive rural city that is quite hilly, but also very green. It is a port city, and used to be Victoria’s most active port. The coastline near Warrnambool is notoriously hazardous, and man y ships were wrecked there. The story of these shipwrecks is told at the Shipwreck Museum on Flagstaff Hill, which is also the site of Warrnambool’s historic lighthouse.
Apart from the museum, there is a very good visitor’s centre and restaurant at Flagstaff Hill, as well as a recreation of an historic village, which was closed whilst we were there.
The weather was atrocious, but this actually enhanced our visit to the beach and coastline as the wind and wild seas gave us a good indication of why there were so many shipwrecks nearby. There are several offshore islands along the coastline, which is now part of a marine park, and a few trails for walking and enjoying the abundant marine life, which includes seals, penguins and whales.

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