Destination South West Victoria
From the iconic 12 Apostles and the Great Ocean Road to the Goldfields of Central Victoria and world renown wine regions of South Australia, this is your guide to best this region has to offer. Information on culture, shopping, dining, regional experiences travel and accommodation.
With Autumn disappearing and cooler weather upon us there are many Victorians who are dreaming about fly north to seek out some winter sun but there is no reason why we can’t enjoy the cooler months of winter and holiday locally.
Apart from sun bathing ( which we know is not good for you) and swimming there are not many other activities which you cannot do in winter, in fact there are some real advantages in taking winter holidays.
1/ prices are generally a lot cheaper and if you look carefully you can get accommodation for half as much as you would pay during the peak summer period.
2/ the coast looks a lot more spectacular during the winter months, and the countryside looks better in winter with everything green and lush rather than brown and dry during summer. In particular the Otways rain forest is best seen in winter.
3/ tourist attractions are less crowded, locations such as the 12 Apostles are more accessible and local golf courses don’t have queues of tourists waiting to play.
There are many other good reasons why holidaying in winter is a good idea, so pack an extra jumper and a warm coat and come and explore the south west coast this winter
Whales on Their Way
This week has seen the first official sightings of Southern Right Whales in Victorian waters, with a sighting of a Southern Right Whale about 1 kilometre off shore in Portland bay yesterday, also there has been consistent sighting from around Victor Harbour in South Australia for the last week which means it shouldn’t be too long before we see Southern Right whales in the bay at Port Fairy and at at Logan’s beach in Warrnambool.
Locally conditions in Warrnambool have been very pleasant with blue skies and sunshine for the past few days, although rain is forecast for later today and for the next few days. The whale watching lookout at Logan’s beach was very quiet this afternoon and it will be a week or so before the serious whale watchers take up residence at Logan’s beach.
Fun 4 Kids Festival coming soon - 26th June - 2nd July 2016
Construction of the Fun 4 Kids site on Warrnambool’s civic green began last week and the site is now beginning to take shape in preparation for the opening of the festival on the 26th of June.
Fun4Kids is Australia's largest Children's festival - now in its eighteenth year, is expected to attract between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors to the city to participate in a broad range of performance, creative and interactive arts, hands-on workshops and exceptional live entertainment.
The Festival is a not-for- profit event assisted by local sponsors, an army of volunteers and the generous support of the Warrnambool community and is staged in a 2.5 acre purpose-built, indoor village located in the centre of the city. The site is close to accommodation, restaurants and entertainment venues.
This years festival will be held during the first week of winter school holidays (26th June −2nd July) and highlights of this years Fun 4 Kids Festival will include the "Taylor Swift tribute show”, “Bollywood dance show”, “Splashdance show”, “How To Be A Rock Star”’ , the Star Wars themed “Live and Learn the Jedi Way” plus the ever popular Peter Combes “ Wash Your Kids in Orange Juice show” Tickets for Warrnambool’s Fun 4 Kids festival are now available and the committee have released a full list of the performers at this years event. This years event will feature over 80 live performances, plus dozens of activities over the 7 days of the festival. See more information on our Fun4Kids Page
Getting The Best Accommodation Deals
ABC’s program “The Checkout" recently did a very entertaining story on the role played by On-Line accomodation booking companies, in particular the large commissions charged by the two international giants, Booking.com and Expedia. The program gave a very clear picture of how these booking companies work and exposed some of the myths about pricing, by revealing they were able to save on average, about 25% by booking direct with individual properties.
For years we have been told “by the booking companies” they have the cheapest prices and no one has come out and disputed their claims with the result that most people now believe their claims.
The report done by “The Checkout” goes a long way in addressing this misconception and the suggestions contained in the show should help travellers make significant savings when booking accommodation.
What “The Checkout” failed to mention was how they obtained their direct booking discounts and who they contacted, and we offer these suggestions on how you can get similar savings.
1. Firstly not all properties will offer a discount for booking direct, as many large accommodation businesses usually have fixed prices and the person answering the phone may not have the authority to offer you a discount, but it is always worth mentioning that you are booking direct. Simply ask the question “ I see your rooms are listed on Booking.com for $XX per night - can you offer me a discount if I book direct with you?”
2/ Smaller motels/hotels are more likely to offer a discount but you still have to ask the question,”can you offer me a discount if I book direct with you? and you should know what they are charging on other booking sites as it is not uncommon for owners to say they are offering you a discount when they are actually quoting you the same price as their on-line price.
Lastly, booking direct will help Australia’s accommodation industry. The current duopoly now controls over 85% of the countries on line accommodation and being oversea owned means they take their profits out of the country and do precious little in return to promote Australian tourism
Race an Audi R8 along the Great Ocean Road
Or your Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren MP4-12, in fact you can choose any one of 350 super cars to drive along this iconic route. Fortunately ( for other road users) you will be dong it in front of a computer screen. Makers of the video game Forza have chosen Australia as the location for version 3 of their popular driving game and have included the Great Ocean Road as one of the “tracks” you can navigate.
However you can forget any graphic representations of the 12 Apostles or other tourist locations for that matter, the game is aimed at gaming enthusiasts and not tourists, in fact the makers of the game have altered the Australian geography to make a more playable environment, notably by placing the Great Ocean Road in between Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village was established during the 1970’s to serve two roles, the first as a local tourist attraction and also to preserve the maritime history of the rugged ( and dangerous) coastline along the Great Ocean Road.
The village is a recreation of what a typical coastal port would have looked like during the 1880’s and while quite a lot of the buildings are new, there are a number of historic buildings that have been dismantled and reassembled on the Flagstaff Hill site.
Flagstaff Hill has also been very careful in maintaing the historic aspect of the village and while there has been pressure to make the village more appealing to tourists by adding theme park type activities, so far these have been resisted, this has however come at the expense of giving Flagstaff Hill a museum like atmosphere with people just wandering around peering into buildings and reading plaques on walls.
Recently Flagstaff Hill has made some concession to tourism and added an evening laser sound and light show which tells the story of the wreck of the sailing ship “The Loch Ard” The show uses a laser projector to project an image onto a large water mist screen in front of the harbour buildings at Flagstaff Hill. Unfortunately, like the old Drive-In movies, the show can’t begin until it is dark enough to see the image, which means that during peak summer holiday season the show doesn’t start until after 9:30 at night..