Monday, September 16, 2013

Long Weekend at Lorne

Lorne is 138 kms from the Melbourne CBD - add another 25 to that and that's how far it is from our home in Mentone. The hard part of the drive is just getting from our side of Melbourne to the freeway that takes you by Geelong and down to the Great Ocean Road but its well worth the effort because then you come across the most inspiring piece of Victorian scenery. 
Lorne is situated on Louitt Bay within the Surf Coast Shire. During the off-season the town is home to 1000 full timers but as the holiday season arrives, Lorne grows to 13,000 with the influx of holiday makers.

The reason we were in Lorne was for the 120 kms Gran Fondo bike ride starting from Lorne to Skene's Creek where we were then confronted with a ten kilometre hill climb into the Otway Ranges. The terrain then becomes what I guess you would call undulating before reaching Dean's Marsh where we decided it was time for a coffee break before tackling another ten kilometre climb to the official finish. Having said "official finish", it was actually another ten kilometres back to Lorne for a cool beer. Fortunately it was all down hill from the ranges where we were hitting speeds of up to 70 kph. I love downhill.

To the left are two of my fellow riders, Kim and Paula who with their friend Jenny enjoyed their experience of the first Amy Gillett Gran Fondo. They did themselves proud.
4000 plus riders lined up in perfect weather conditions for the 110 kms course.
Lorne has a rich history from its foundation in the mid-1800s. Folklore tells us that it was inhabited by the King Parrot people or maybe that's what the early settlers called the original native inhabitants. With the amazing bird life here, such as the King Parrots, Kookaburras and Cockatoos, it may well have been an appropriate name for the indigenous people of the region.
The first European settler was William Lindsay, a timber cutter in 1849. During that time the bay was only accessible only by boat. Later a bush track found its way to Lorne but it wasn't until the early 1900s that Lorne really became accessible with the building of the "Great Ocean Road".
It was built between 1919 and 1932, mainly by returned soldiers in memory of their fallen mates. Being 243 kms long it is deemed as the world's longest War Memorial. 

One of Australia's great tourist attractions.

1891 Rudyard Kipling visited Lorne and was inspired to write the poem, 
Buy my hot-wood clematis
Buy a frond of fern
Gathered where the Erskine leaps
Down the road from Lorne
Kipling was writing about the Erskine falls a little less than 10 kms into to the Otway Ranges behind Lorne.
On arrival we thought a glass of wine at the famous Grand Pacific Hotel located on the point of the bay would be a nice thing to do in the mid afternoon. It overlooked the ocean through a filter of conifers.
Through the conifers you can see a pier. Every year a swim that goes by the title of "Pier to Pub" is held here.
We stayed just one street up from the main street of Lorne in my employer's holiday apartment for the long weekend which over looked Lorne and Louitt Bay. In the morning we looked out from the balcony and we were faced with an amazing sight of the sun rising from the horizon and we knew that we were gifted for a perfect day for the ride.

Early morning before the ride overlooking Lorne.
Clouds are burning off as the sun rises and we are looking forward to the perfect riding conditions.
Bad photo but needed to show you these guys (King Parrots) come to eat from your hands.
We decided to drive back home this morning via the coastal towns of Torquay, home of the world wide surf clothing label of Rip Curl, Anglesea and on to Queenscliff for lunch. Queenscliff sits on the opening to Port Phillip Bay. A ferry travels from Queenscliff to Sorrento which may well be a future post on "Melbourne Our Home by the Bay". We'll see.

Meanwhile, I think I may need to get back to painting the bedroom so we are back in there before the end of the month.


  1. I don't ride my bike any more because I have too much farm work to do. Well, so OK, it sounds like an excuse, and it is! It's that hard saddle against my posterior, and my knees complain, and I would like to ride again, .......but perhaps in my next life! Enjoyed visiting Lorne with you.

    1. Riding a bike, no matter how fast or how slow, gives you more connection to the world around you compared to the car.
      There's also the social aspect with friends which these days is my main purpose to keep riding.
      Lorne is lovely.

  2. Love these photos, it looks like a beautiful spot. Oh yes I have to agree I also love down hill, the problem is there is always an up following it! Keep well you two, Diane

    1. While riding I kept say the opposite Diane. Whatever goes up must come down!!!!!
      Yes, Lorne is an idyllic spot.


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