Ocean Grove – VIC

About Ocean Grove

Ocean Grove lies on the eastern bank at the mouth of the Barwon River. Across the river is its twin town, Barwon Heads. The river connects Lake Connewarre to Bass Strait. The twin towns, connected by a new bridge, are hugely popular holiday destinations because they have the closest ocean beaches to Geelong. Ocean Grove is the largest settlement on the Bellarine Peninsula. Inevitably the main appeal of the area lies in the holiday activities which have been created including the Adventure Park (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

We have ventured down to my favourite haunt of Ocean Grove, which I have been coming to since 1965 when my parents bought a small onsite van in Wynndean. This small place was sold shortly after dad passed away in 1975.

This time we have booked into Riverview Caravan Park and have a great site next to the Barwon River for 2 weeks (maplink). It’s a great opportunity to chill out and catch up with many lifelong friends who live on the Bellarine Peninsula.


Our great friends Ray & Betty organise an annual pre-christmas BBQ in Melbourne called SURO (Seniors Unemployed Retirees & Others) and this year they began the West Coast SURO group. We met out the front of “Laura’s Cottage” in Barwon Heads for the inaugural gathering and those who attended had a lovely afternoon (maplink). Here’s some pics but the quality isn’t the best as most came from Facebook Messenger…

2020 Vic Golf Open at 13th Beach

We went along to the final day of the 2020 Victorian Open Golf held at 13th Beach Golf Club on Sunday 9th Feb. It was great, being our 1st ever golf professional tournament. I even got to meet a baby wombat from the Jirrahlinga Wildlife Sanctuary.

A hit at Curlewis Driving Range

Our friend Ray, Merrisa and I went along to the golf driving range at Curlewis Golf Club on Portarlington Road (maplink) to have a bit of a hit-out. It was great fun hitting 200 balls down the range. We had a great time with heaps of laughs regarding our golfing prowess and styles.

Here’s a couple of videos show casing Neil & Ray’s styles (or lack of)…

Chocolaterie Anglesea

The weather was really crappy one day so we went for a drive, ending up at Chocolaterie Anglesea (maplink). Did the usual and bought some choccies then headed back to the caravan.

Barwon River Sunset at Riverview CP

We had a very stormy day on Friday 14th February with high winds and torrential rain. A rainbow appeared on dusk followed by a sunset which was one of the most spectacular ones we have seen in our travels.

Blues gig – The Studio @54

We went along to a blues gig on Sunday 16th February featuring two musos by the name of Wayne Jury & Justin Brady who performed in the courtyard of The Studio @54 in Grub Road Ocean Grove (maplink). It was a great afternoon with these guys playing to a small group of people. This was also a fundraiser for Justin Brady, who lost his home in the recent horrific Mallacoota fires.

Bendigo – VIC

About Bendigo

For every gold mining ghost town there are prosperous cities like Bendigo which wear their gold wealth with both pride and ostentation. Bendigo can proudly boast that it has one of the finest collections of Victorian buildings of any inland city in Australia. The streets are literally awash with huge granite edifices and, in the centre of the city, a fountain dedicated to Queen Victoria’s daughter-in-law, Princess Alexandra, sits in the main street. The Roman Catholic cathedral is the largest cathedral in the state outside Melbourne and the best way to experience the city is to join the “talking tram” – the trams date back to the gold rich era of the 1890s. This is a hugely impressive city which, if you want to do it justice, requires two or three days of dedicated exploration (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Leaving Lake Lascelles (see earlier post) we travelled south to Bendigo and booked into the Bendigo Park Lane Big4 Holiday Park for a few days (maplink). Never stayed in Bendigo before so this was a chance to have a look around and we discovered that it was a great choice. Bailey mates – Anne & Tim Begg and Ron & Collen Mills joined us too. These are some of the sights we checked out…

Bendigo Botanical Gardens

Based in the centre of Bendigo the Botanical Gardens are truly beautiful. We took particular interest in their spectacular rose gardens. We then headed off to the Beechworth Bakery for lunch – pies and “beestings”

Bendigo Sacred Heart Cathedral

The Sacred Heart Cathedral began construction in 1895 and took 82 years to complete (in 1977). It is a truly beautiful cathedral, just as impressive as some of the ones we visited on our Mediterranean Cruise.

Bendigo Buddhist Stupa

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is a momentous Buddhist site being created just outside of Bendigo (maplink) and what an amazing place it was to visit. Our volunteer guide Adam took us through the main building (the Stupa) and spoke with tremendous compassion about the construction of the building and amount of work still to be undertaken for it’s completion (expected to be another 50 years or so)

The Great Stupa is home to many holy objects. Foremost amongst these is the magnificent Jade Buddha for Universal Peace which is the largest Buddha carved from gem quality jade in the world. The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace toured the world for 9 years and over 10 million people have seen it. The Jade Buddha has now come to its final home inside The Great Stupa.

Here’s a couple of videos about the Stupa…

Bendigo Chinese Gardens

These are small and rather old looking. We were a bit disappointed in the visit but still got some nice photos.

Bendigo Deborah Mine Tour

This is a definite “must do” when in Bendigo. We learnt so much from Annie our volunteer guide. It is pretty incredible to find the Deborah Mine is pretty well in the middle of town (maplink) – just down the road from Beechworth Bakery. Want to read more about the mine?

Wimmera/Mallee Silo Trail

The Silo Art Trail stretches over 200km and we visited each of the 8 current sites while we were up in the Wimmera/Mallee region. Each one is an amazing feat of workmanship and is extremely difficult to fathom how an artist can work on such an enormous area and still deliver something as beautiful and detailed as each art piece.

We undertook the trail in two stages; on the way up to Buronga (for Melbourne Cup week) and then from our base at Lake Lascelles on the return home.
This is our route map.

Nullawil Silos

Our first Wheat Silo Artwork was found on the Calder Highway in Nullawil. This work was created by artist Sam Bates, also known as Smug or Smug One, is an Australian contemporary street artist, known for his photo realism graffiti work. Click here for more about the work.

Sea Lake Silos

The latest silo art to be added to the trail is at Sea Lake titled The Space in Between. This work was created by artists Drapl and the Zookeeper completed July 2019. Click here for more about the work.

Patchewollock Silos

We stopped off at the small town of Patchewollock, on the way to Lake Lascelles, to check out this piece of work by Fintan Magee. It features a local sheep and grain farmer by the name of Nick “Noodle” Hulland. Click here for more about the work.

Lascelles Silo Art

The silos at Lascelles by the artist Rone feature a local farming couple Geoff and Merrilyn Horman, whose family have lived and farmed in the area for four generations. There was also a pretty weird bit of local street art where we had pulled up. Click here for more about the work.

Rosebery Silo Art

The Rosebery silo art was completed by the artist Kaff-eine who spent time assisting Rone on the Lascelles silos prior to undertaking this work. Click here for more about the work.

Brim Silo Art

Guido van Helten’s iconic Brim mural was the first silo artwork to appear in Victoria (2016). Click here for more about the work.

Sheep Hills Silo Art

The silo art in Sheep Hills by the artist Adnate would have to be one of the most striking pieces that we came across in our silo tour. It depicts Wergaia Elder, Uncle Ron Marks, and Wotjobaluk Elder, Aunty Regina Hood, alongside two young children, Savannah Marks and Curtly McDonald which celebrates the richness of the area’s Indigenous culture. Click here for more about the work.

Rupanyup Silo Art

Our last set of silos to visit was in the town of Rupanyup which were the first steel type silo (instead of concrete). Completed by the Russian mural artist, Julia Volchkova, who turned her attention to the town’s youth and their great love of team sport. Click here for more about the work.

These silos are still in use, as we noticed some grain being loaded around the back, next to the now defunct railway station. We also loved the local book exchange over the road (a former pub fridge).

Rupanyup Roses

The local Post Office in Rupanyup had a beautiful show of roses and I could not help but take some photos. Then we were off to St. Arnaud for lunch in the local bakery with two other Bailey vans, before heading off to Bendigo for our next stop.

Lake Lascelles Freecamp

Leaving Buronga/Mildura we traveled south to a wonderful freecamp called Lake Lascelles in the rural town of Hopetoun.

We set-up beside a couple of other Bailey friends; Tim & Anne Begg and Ron & Colleen Mills. We were then joined by other friends Ian & Janis Hirth whilst another Bailey with Neil & Sharon Morrison set-up on the other side of the lake on a powered site. It was fantastic to be joined by all of the friends for a few days in such a lovely place.

Had a paddle in Tim’s kayak and then ventured out on Anne’s Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) creating much entertainment for those on-shore as I shook and wobbled while trying (in vain) to stay upright. Finally got the hang of it but had a real hard time trying to turn around. It was great fun but one downside was that I lost my expensive sunnies purchased our our Mediterranean Cruise (10 euro in Rhodes). Neil said that he saw a duck wearing them the next day. mmmm??

Out to the local pub for dinner on the last night before we all went off in our various directions. Anne & Tim and Ron & Colleen joined us in Bendigo.

1st ever SUP attempt on Lake Lascelles – massive fail where I lose my sunnies
2nd SUP attempt on Lake Lascelles
Finally SUP’ing on Lake Lascelles

Buronga, NSW – Melbourne Cup Week

We ventured up to Buronga, on the Murray River (over the river from Mildura) to spend Melbourne Cup week staying at the Mildura, Buronga Riverside Caravan Park with friends Bob & Michelle Neville whom we met on our 1/2 lap of oz last year.

Roadtrip – Melbourne to Buronga

Our trip started after celebrating Merrisa’s dads 90th birthday in Dingley, so it was a bit of a late departure. On the way we were halted by a car accident on the Calder Highway, near Harcort. A car towing a trailer with 6 cows in it had flipped when one of the cows decided to jump out of the trailer causing total mayhem. 2 hours later the cows were rounded up, car & trailer removed and we were on our way. By now it was far too late to reach Buronga so we pulled up at a free camp in Bridgewater for the night.

Melbourne Cup Day in Buronga

The Mildura, Buronga Riverside Caravan Park runs a Melbourne Cup Day each year with a local band Old Dogs – New Tricks playing heaps of blues music along with a barby lunch (all for $5 each). It was a truly fantastic day with most of the park attending. Merrisa and I also backed the cup winner – woohoo!


The girls rockin on to the Old Dogs-New Tricks band

Murray River Paddle Boat

A lovely couple of hours spent on the mighty Murray River with Bob & Michelle aboard the Rothbury Paddle Steamer (one of two paddle boats operating out of Mildura). This was a very relaxing cruise down through Mildura’s Lock 11. The commentary from the captain was really great and very informative. We learnt a bit of history about the river and how the lock’s work along with the Mildura weir operations.

Mildura Rio Vista Historic House

A visit to the Mildura Rio Vista Historic House, incorporated into the Mildura Arts Centre is a must when you’re in town. Built in 1889, this 3 storey mansion was the home of William Benjamin Chaffey, who was instrumental in the introduction of irrigation in Australia.

Edward Fischer Expo @ Geelong Gallery

Our brother-in-law Andrew’s great great grandfather, Edward Fischer, was a silversmith in Geelong in the late 1800’s and we attended an exhibition of some of his fine work at the Geelong Gallery on Queens Birthday long-weekend (9 June 2019).

Edward Fischer (1828-1911) migrated to Australia from Vienna in the early 1850s, and settled into business as a jeweller in Geelong… read more

Edward settled in Torquay in 1888 after he purchased a property called Springtide in Rudd Avenue.

We travelled to Torquay, with our caravan, for the weekend staying in the Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park and then joining the Fischer clan for the expo on the Sunday. It was fantastic to be included in this special day. We completed this mini trip with a stay in the Barwon Heads Caravan Park for a few days.

Some links…

Our caravan park photos…