After our sleepless night in "lovely" Kingston, home of the Giant Lobster, we drove along the South West Coast and Great Ocean Road through the Victoria region of Australia.  We stopped along the way in a seaside township called Port Fairy, where we played nine holes of golf and managed to get a good nights rest. 

The following day, we entered Port Campbell National Park where we saw dramatic limestone cliffs including the "Twelve Apostles."  We also drove through fabulous beach resort towns including Apollo Bay, Lorne and Torquay.  Torquay is the true surfing capital of Australia and Rip Curl and QuickSilver were both founded in this small beach community.  The resulting factories are quite impressive given their simple beginnings.  For those of you who are beach fanatics, the famous Bells and Jan Juc surf beaches are also located in Torquay.

James Varnum, our Kiwi golf guide, connected us with his Melbourne friends, Chris and Liz Cooper.  We called Chris for some advice about Melbourne and the next thing we knew we were playing golf on the Royal Melbourne Golf Course and having a wonderful home cooked dinner at the Cooper's new house.  Both were delightful experiences.

Chris and Liz also invited us to participate in an annual weekend golf tournament that they have been holding for the past 10 years with some of their closest friends.  We took them up on the generous offer and found ourselves in Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula for four days.  We played a number of fabulous courses including Moonah Links, The Dunes, Sorrento and Port Sea.  Each of these courses is a championship quality experience.  The following links contain some shots of our great weekend of golf:

Portsea Golf
Portsea Golf2

In  addition to the great golfing, Chris Cooper went out of his way to arrange for us to stay at the exclusive Melbourne Club, the original private men's club in Melbourne.  Chris Hempel had to use the back freight elevator during the day to get to the room (women are not allowed to use the stairs!) but we enjoyed our stay immensely as the architecture of the building was absolutely beautiful.  We also liked the guided tour the doorman gave us of the wine cellar because he retold stories about real ghost sightings in the basement of the 150+ year old club.

We have been completely overwhelmed by how gracious, generous, fun loving and witty the our new Aussie friends are.  We hope that our new found friends will someday take us up on our offer to come to the States so we can reciprocate and show them a fabulous time.

Great Ocean Road
Portsea Golf
Portsea Golf2
Mornington Peninsula


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           copyright chris & hugh hempel 2004                                                      last modified on Monday, 12. January 2004