6 August 2009


I should stop leaving it so long to write up these walks. BUT I AM A BUSY PERSON, OK? Busy . . . procrastinating. And stuff.

So, on Sunday 26th July (LAST MONTH, OMG WHERE DID IT GO?) SJ drove us down to Geelong (GO CATS!) to do a walk along the Barwon River.

* Here is the map of our walk.
* Here are SJ's photos of the day.
* Here are my photos of the day.

I’ve been to Geelong a total of 3 times, I believe, and I always expect it to be more of an industrial wasteland than it is. In fact, our walk was absolutely delightful! . . . That is, once we got there – first we went hunting for a bakery, and the signs pointing to ‘shopping centre’ took us on a MERRY LITTLE JAUNT around the suburbs. Eventually we found a Brumby’s/Bakers Delight and got these amazing blueberry and white chocolate scones, which we nommed for morning tea!

Scone! Photo by SJ.

We started the walk in Fyansford, which is on the very outskirts of Geelong, and is quite attractive (at least near the river). Have some photographic evidence:

the before shot: sj, j & d at the start of the barwon river walk
The before shot!

barwon river near fyansford, geelong
Barwon River. The reflections were amazing. I mucked around with them a lot!

boardwalk around the water
A short section of boardwalk. Watch out for trolls!

white fingers pointing to the sky
Taken a bit further along the walk.

We went through the gorge, looking up at the houses high above the river. They weren’t very big. Once through the gorge, the landscape became a bit more built-up, although it still felt quite outskirts-y, rather than suburban. We got to see a bit more of the industrial heritage of the area, and learned about James Harrison (I keep wanting to type James Morrison or George Harrison!), editor of the Geelong Advertiser and The Age, and the inventor of the ice-making machine. He revolutionised the food industry! Oh my! He also has a bridge across the Barwon named after him.

There were several of these, which I assume are old factories of some kind. Photo by SJ.

Conical things. Perhaps the book told us what these were, but I can’t remember. Photo by SJ.

this way / that way
D, standing very near the place that James Harrison invented the ice-making machine!

The Barwon is also used for rowing, and we passed a few club houses. Not as fancy as the ones on the Yarra! There were also signs up and down the river informing people of when and where they could row. SJ was able to answer all our rowing-related questions: Are those signs for rowers? Yes. What’s that thing? The finish line.

J’s new house, on the finish line. Photo by SJ

In case you hadn’t realised, this area is the ROWING AREA, OK? Photo by SJ

barwon river triangles
You can see the signs for rowing on the bridge. There were some pretty good bridges on this walk. Not that I’m a pervy bridge fancier or anything.

Anyway, the weather was pretty good to us. It was sunny in parts, cloudy in others. There was a bit of wind at times, but generally it was just a breeze to cool us down. We’d been threatened with “developing showers” by the bureau, but weren’t really affected by rain. This section about the weather here is to disguise the fact that most of the pictures between now and lunch are kind of boring! Have some pictures of spring-in-July!

pink blossoms
Pink blossoms

spring willow
Green willow

We eventually stopped for lunch at a little platform just off the path, down beside the river. Lunch was rolls stuffed with hummous, semi-dried tomato, rocket, boiled egg and roast potato. Delicious!

It was delightful! We wanted to stay a long time . . . so we did! Photo by SJ

sj: thumbs up, toes in
SJ and J did the sensible thing, discarding shoes and socks and dabbling toes in the really extraordinarily cold water. Genius!


Immediately after lunch we passed the LOG CLEVERLY CARVED TO LOOK LIKE A SNAKE! There was a whole bunch of hilarious community craft and art along the walk, and our book seemed quite taken with it. We thought we’d get into the mood, and a lot of my photos of this section of the walk are rather silly.

it's a log, cleverly carved to resemble a snake!
It’s a log! Cleverly carved to resemble a snake!

the third sign: quidditch playing here
Quidditch playing welcome in this park!

(Oh, also, for the record, half the public toilets on this side of the river were CLOSED AND LOCKED. Just FYI. You might want to relieve yourself when you can, even if you don’t think it’s strictly necessary!)

1:48 on the sundial
A very specific sundial! (They are BIG on mosaics in Geelong!)

J and D play competitive digging! These diggers were pretty good. The fact that there are two makes for double awesome!

Now, at the end of the walk (as you can see if you check out the map) there was a 1km-each-way detour to visit some falls. Surprisingly, we all still felt pretty good at this point, so we didn’t even really consider skipping it. And I’m really glad we went! Because this was a lovely treat to save til near the end: the falls were lovely, but even better was the old paper mill on the opposite side of the river. It closed in 1927, and the aqueduct running around the side is a little broken in one place, creating its own waterfall.

bunyip falls (?) barwon river
The falls. We couldn’t be arsed walking all the way around and down to the bottom, so we sat at the lookout instead. We passed a family on their way down – one of the kids had fallen in. Whoops!

old paper mill beside the river
The old paper mill. People were climbing on it. It made me feel slightly ill.

We decided that it would be a lovely day out with a bunch of friends, even people who didn’t like walking. We could have a lovely picnic and explore the falls and look at the mill and dip our toes in the swimming hole . . . we had a bit of extra time to think about this, as our guidebook didn’t give us very good directions for the last leg. Luckily, we are all quite sensible and made our way back to the car in one piece.

aftershot aftershock 2
The after shot!

I was personally a little surprised when I came home and mapped the walk – I didn’t feel like I’d walked 21km. In fact, it didn’t even feel as long as the Mordialloc-Carrum walk a fortnight previously. I think this may be due in part to it being new territory, and also to leaving morning tea and lunch to a bit later in the walk, making the last leg shorter. It probably also helped that we had such a leisurely lunch stop in such a nice location; it really broke up the walk nicely.

All in all, this is a lovely walk, and I recommend it. You can make it shorter by crossing the river at one of the earlier bridges (at the 2km, 4km or 6km mark) or by simply walking to the falls (this part is not wheelchair accessible, though).