Six months into our trip we find ourselves at a small city called Warrnambool, pronounced ‘Warn-a-Bull’ by the locals and “War-Nam-Bull” by me, much to the disgrace of the odd local. I don’t know why they bothered to put the M in it, if they weren’t going to use it.
But, as it turns out, it is quite a nice little city right on the coast and has everything you need.
Nice views over Warrnambool from the top of the hill
We landed here after burning out the clutch on the Great Ocean Road. We found a great local guy that could fix it for us, and the RACQ paid for two nights accommodation for us in a B&B. It was a great little find, freshly renovated and well appointed.
Luxury & Space @ the B& B compared to the Motorhome
Even though it was a one bedroom apartment it was about four times the size of Honky. We actually could have scored another night there, but the kids wouldn’t have it. Both of them were desperate to get back to Honky. So we resorted to spending the next two nights in mechanics holding yard. We were parked between a broken down dump truck and a double bogie, and surrounded by an 8 foot high barbed wire fence.
The new digs
The things you do when you are a ‘gullu stritto’ just to save $50 bucks a night. But in all honesty, the kids and both of us could not have been happier being back on our home.
We did however make the most of our stay here and had a good look around. The beaches are great, and it has a beautiful harbour. There are heaps of playgrounds for the kids and a massive lake in the middle of it all. We also got to know the café scene quite intimately. There are probably about 30 of them in the main CBD area, and I reckon we checked out all of them in the space of two hours. Why?
Shops on the lake @ Warrnambool
There is a book called ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ or something like that. It apparently tells of the differences between Men and Women. (I know it surprises me too, you think we would all think the same.) Anyway, I was about to find out, again, that we don’t. Day three in Warrnambool, and we decide we will spend the day shopping for necessities, get it all out of the way in one day so we can enjoy the scenery and do something with the kids the next day.
Henry and I would do the boy things, hardware, and camping shop, pump shop etc, while Michelle and Jade would do the girly things. I am thinking it should all take about an hour or so. But, ‘first we should do lunch and feed the kids’ my Michelle tells me. Good call I think to myself, as the kids are getting a little ratty by this stage.
It is just on Midday, so in Man’s world it should only take about 20mins to chew on a roll and get to the hardware. But, apparently in Woman’s world, especially in Venus, this is not the case. First, you have to find a place that looks right, then ideally it needs to feel right, the menu should be varied and suit the mood of the day, the prices should be realistic and not to overpriced, and finally, it should be organic or wholesome, or as close to that as possible.
The main street of Warrnambool can get busy
Shouldn’t be hard to find a place like that in a place like this, especially with the research capabilities of my Michelle.
“There is a nice one on the main street.” She advises me. “Just park here and we will walk to it.” So, I park at the end of the main street as directed, and without question. We begin to walk, all except Henry that is. He has developed a phobia of walking on the footpath when there are others walking nearby, claiming that there are cars that could hit him? Makes sense to a two year old. I reckon he is just onto a good thing being carried all the time.
“Carry me Daddy, Carry me.”
I am still a sucker for my little version of Robert Irwin, so I oblige, which I don’t mind doing except for the fact that he is now about 20kg, and keeps as still as an earthworm freshly dug from the garden.
About three blocks down the main street, my dearest says to me, “I can’t see the place anywhere, we will go down a bit further, there should be another one there.” I say nothing.
We walk another block and she then asks me, “Did you put any money in the parking metre?”
Doh, I can’t believe that I didn’t take responsibility for that.
Ah, No. But seeing this as my chance to dump the worm, I promptly volunteer to go get the car, and perhaps park it closer to where we were going to eat. ‘Good idea’ I thought.
I got to the car just in time to avoid a parking fine, drove the kilometre or so back to Michelle and the kids, expecting that by this stage, they would have found the ideal spot for lunch. Being lunch time traffic was high and parking was at a premium, I spoke to the universe and pulled into the only available spot left. As I do, my dear Venetian loads the kids back into the car and announces, “I can’t find that one, but there is another one I was reading about just around the block.”
One again, without question or hesitation I follow the suggestions. (We don’t call them directions anymore.)
We drive around the town in midday traffic, my stomach ready for a Big Mac and the hardware list going over in my mind. Her directions are spot on, we find the next place. This time we are right opposite. I think ahead and place some money in the parking meter. The place looks good, it feels good, it smells good, the colours are warm the people are friendly, oh shit, the menu is crap and overpriced.
By this stage the kids and I are gutted. “We’re Hungry” then announce. ‘There is one across the road’ we are advised, ‘let’s try it’.
We walk across the road, sus it out, looks ok, but just doesn’t have the right feel about it. I walk out, still carrying Henry and await further suggestions. God I have learnt to be patient.
“OK” Says my beloved, sensing my frustrations, ‘we will try one more, and that will be it.’
I knew this would be the last one, even if the place was crap, we were going to eat it.
We strap the kids back into the car, drive around, once again in midday traffic, and low and behold, end up back where we started from an hour and a half ago. I was now getting used to putting money in parking metres, and especially happy that I had contributed to the council’s revenue raising at the last place, by donating $2 just to check out the menu in two cafes, then walk out.
So, happily back where we started from, things are looking good, menu – nice, price – OK, food – good quality, seats are the right colour, napkins are even folded right. Bingo, let’s eat. Kids by this stage are well beyond hungry and Dad is well beyond reason. I pick an item from the menu in 30 seconds or less, then look for a table where our children are going to cause the least amount of disruption to other patrons. I find a table in the back corner of the place, empty except for a lady, sitting alone in the back corner. I reckon she was sitting here for a reason, and I was just about to destroy it for her. As we approach she gives one of those forced smiles that was really saying, ‘Please don’t sit here with your kids.’
I smiled back with my ‘Suffer like I am’ smile.
Thankfully lunch was served reasonably fast, and I must give credit where credit is due, it was nice. Probably because we were starving, and a week out sausage roll would have satisfied the hunger.
By this stage, it was now 2.30 and I could finally get to the hardware. I grabbed Henry, who was still chewing on the last piece of his sandwich and made a run for the front door. Half way out he managed to say, “Let’s get out of here Dad.” I realised at this point my son was thinking like a man.
The fresh air hit my face, we were free from Café hunting. We made it to the car, we locked the doors even, we were about to head off, then I heard it. That ring tone, the one that says, ‘It’s your wife calling.’ Every part of me wanted to ignore it, but I couldn’t, “Have you left yet?”
I knew the correct answer was to say, “Yes” but something got the better of me, “I have forgotten something in the car, can you drive around and drop it off.”
Even though it was only 400m from where we were parked, I knew it would still be quicker for me to drive around the block and drop it off, rather than her to walk the distance, and run the risk that she will see a shop she likes along the way.
So, finally, three hours after the idea of lunch, Henry and I are on our way.
Now, I know, unlikely as it may seem, that there may be the odd male reader who has experienced similar events, and I know there may be the odd female reader who thinks I am exaggerating. But, if you are one of those, please be honest with yourself and if you are someone who happens to know Michelle, just think back to the last time you went out with Michelle to a café. Did you, or did you not experience something similar?
All that said, Warrnambool is a terrific town and well set up for caravans and campers. There is plenty to see and do, and as you now know, plenty of places to eat. We happened to be there around Easter and just in time for their Easter Festival at Flagstaff Hill. The kids had a great day with plenty to do and see.
The kids had fun @ The Easter Festival – Warrnambool