Roadtrip Diaries: Queenscliff
Our Queenscliff trip changed my life.
Well, it changed my holiday breakfasts, at least.
The life-changing breakfast moment came when I was standing in line in a café in Point Lonsdale. I was contemplating my own order when the lady in front of me asked for grilled tomatoes with her eggs.
Up until now, my breakfast extras had consisted of smoked salmon, avocado or hash browns. I hadn’t even realised you could add on grilled or fried tomatoes, which are pretty much my favourite thing in the world (at breakfast time, anyway).
So I asked for grilled tomatoes and now that is how my holiday breakfasts will be for the next forever.
Let’s backtrack to a time before that life-changing breakfast; namely to a chilly, rainy, windy Saturday morning in July when I set off to pick up my Failboat friends Emily and Aimee. We’ll be backtracking even further in future blog posts since I have a lot of roadtripping to catch you up on. It turns out the last time I posted about a Failboats adventure was in April of 2016, and if you know anything about me by now, you should suspect that I’ve managed to pack in quite a bit of roadtripping in those two and a half years.
So please join me for the first episode of a lengthy series I’m calling ‘The Roadtrip Diaries’.
The Roadtrip Diaries: Queenscliff
When we booked our accommodation in Queenscliff, we had no idea we’d chosen the stormiest weekend of Winter for our long weekend break. We got wind, rain, more wind, some extra wind in the bits that were missing out and a bit of rain to finish up… and that was just on the drive down.
After some coffee and a trip to the information centre where I bought my obligatory fridge magnets (my aim is to have a fridge that is all magnet), we headed to Fort Queenscliff for a tour and to visit our first lighthouse of the trip. We chose this destination based purely on the fact that we’d encounter three lighthouses. Don’t ask me why we love lighthouses so much – just embrace it and accept that a lot of these Roadtrip Diaries are going to feature lighthouses doing their thing and being awesome, for some inexplicable reason.
Fort Queenscliff is still serious business, so we weren’t even allowed inside until the tour was due to start. As we waited for the gates to open, we wandered around outside and saw the first of many signs telling us what to do. You’ll see quite a few of them as we go along, although I forgot to include the sign telling us not to go down the stairs because they were presumably out of order somehow, so you’ll need to believe me when I say it was there.
I kind of forgot to take a decent photo of the black lighthouse while we were up close and personal, so thank goodness for friends who excel at selfies.
The tour was excellent, even if the weather didn’t behave. I spent the whole time hanging on to my hat so it wouldn’t blow away and we had to take shelter from the rain in ammunition niches at one point. This just made it more fun!
After battling the elements in our multiple layers of clothing, our next order of business was to re-fuel with pies, check in to our house for the weekend and then get some gin. Obviously. We tend to go through phases: ages back, we started with sweet champagne, moved on to ciders, and now we’re in the gin phase. And The Whiskery in Drysdale brought the goods. Everyone appeared to be there: the place was full of people, noise, tempting food, and ambience in spades. I don’t like to drink at all when I’m driving, so I watched on as Aimee and Emily sampled the goods and subsequently decided to buy all of the things.
Needless to say, our traditional anti-pasto dinner was only enhanced by a gin-based cocktail (and potato gems, because we’re classy that way).
Day Two: Lighthouses, Museums and Food
Ever since we started going away as a group, Aimee and I have always been the first to wake up. If I get up and she’s not already in the kitchen, cleaning up while the kettle boils, then she’ll appear slightly after I fill the kettle and seek out some mugs. We have tea. We sit and contemplate the day ahead. I really enjoy these moments of being quiet and caffeinated with a good friend.
Once we were full of tea and freshly showered, we headed to Point Lonsdale for breakfast as we had booked ourselves in for a lighthouse tour that morning. This was when I had my tomato-based epiphany, ensuring I will forever look fondly on the small seaside town.
It was lucky we’d weighted ourselves down with a hearty breakfast first as this day was all about the wind. We were literally blown into the lighthouse in time for our tour – the gusts were incredible. On the up side, it wasn’t raining, so provided we could stay upright, we were fine.
The Point Lonsdale lighthouse was much taller than I’d realised: 121 steps tall, in fact. I know this to be true, because it’s printed on the certificate of achievement we received when we returned to the bottom of the lighthouse. I may have framed mine, along with a photograph of us holding our certificates and attempting not to get blown off the cliff.
I love the photo Aimee took of Emily and me on the lighthouse stairs!
We even ventured down to the beach to add a little bit of sea spray to our wind-tossed look. Fortunately, there were a couple of nooks in the rocks where we could wedge a camera for a couple of our trademark failboats photos. (Hope these keep you happy for a while, Trey!)
When we made it back to the car, we spent the next ten minutes un-doing the weather’s handiwork so we could look a little less wind-blown. We do love a bit of weather at the beach (which is why we always go in Winter) but my goodness, it’s so good to have knot-free hair and clear glasses again.
Now that we looked more presentable, we headed for our next stop: the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum, where I encountered my long-time nemesis, the creepy mannequin. I’ve been encountering these things for so long that I’m beginning to wonder if there is such a thing as a non-creepy mannequin.
In that last photo, we’re pointing at the location of our little cottage for the weekend.
The last pic is of the fabulous lunch we had at the Queenscliff Brewhouse. We ordered several plates to share and everything was delicious (and looked like it belonged on Instagram, stat).
Day Three: All of the Piers
I need to make a confession: I stole lemons.
But really, there were two fabulous lemon trees in the backyard of our accommodation and the ground beneath them was covered in un-loved lemons. Clearly, no-one wanted them. But I did.
They were good lemons. I regret nothing.
When we’re not adventuring (or stealing citrus fruit), we enjoy such strenuous activities as reading terrible romance novels or playing games. Emily and Aimee equipped themselves with some trashy books on our first day, thanks to a local bookshop and op shop. All we needed to keep ourselves occupied games-wise was a deck of cards for 500, our new game of choice. It’s not quite as much fun with three people – we prefer to play with partners – but we still managed to stay up late both nights with the constant refrain of Just one more game…
We have a number of traditions when we go on holiday.
1. Lighthouses must be involved.
2. Cheese and smallgoods are a legitimate food group.
3. We send fail cards to those friends who couldn’t join us.
On this occasion, we picked up a whole bunch of postcards featuring famous wrecks at the Maritime Museum, ie. literal failboats. Our four absent friends received two fail cards apiece, written during breakfast at a local café. Of course, I had to document the process. It’s what I do.
With the fail cards safely posted, we went in search of the Queenscliff pier… and found the wrong one. Luckily, we could see the actual pier from the wrong pier, so we set off across the dunes, hoping we’d reach it before the weather reached us. I even managed to get a proper photo of the black lighthouse at last!
As far as we’re concerned, the only thing better than visiting two wooden maritime structures is to visit three, so we set off for Point Lonsdale again to explore the jetty below the lighthouse. With the wind at a more civilised level, we enjoyed a good wander and Emily captured me in my native state: with a camera glued to my face. But seriously, the underside of the jetty was gorgeous!
And so, it’s time to bid you farewell from Queenscliff.
It’s always bittersweet when your holiday ends, so we try to offset this feeling by planning our next holiday before the current one is done. At this stage, I think we have the next three tips sorted (apart from important things such as setting actual dates and booking actual accommodation), which shows you how important these trips are to us. I wonder what life-changing revelations I’ll encounter on the next one!
I hope you enjoyed coming along for the first destination in the Roadtrip Diaries. There are plenty more to come and my only problem comes with deciding which one to write about next.
ABout the author
Katie is a writer, photographer and designer from the Yarra Valley. She loves cheese, roadtrips, and using semi-colons appropriately.