Escape Melbourne this weekend! Phillip Island is a small island connected to the main land by a bridge just under 2 hours’ drive from Melbourne in the state of Victoria. Home to the famous Penguin Parade, there’s so much to see and do on this tiny Island. Coastal walks and surf beaches await. Great restaurants and iconic Australian animals to see. There’s even a mini island off Phillip Island. This is called Churchill Island and is the top place to see koalas in the wild in Victoria.
Phillip Island is best explored by car and on foot when you’re there. Public transport options are not great. You can get tours from Melbourne, but you won’t get a real feel for the place in one day. Buses will get you to the main towns, but then you’ll have to use taxis.
The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
This is the most visited attraction in the whole of Phillip Island. Viewing platforms enable you to watch this evening spectacle of cuteness. Every evening, fairy penguins head in from the sea without fail and waddle onto the sand and to their homes amongst the rocks and sand. The viewing of the tiny little birds has become so popular that there is a limit of people, each day and you must book your day in advance.
Prices start from Au$27.25 per adult. You can buy various packages and save when you see other Phillip Island attractions. These are the koala conservation centre and the Churchill Heritage Farm. In our opinion it is very worth it. See below if you buy separately. You must book your Penguin Parade day, but the other two site are valid for 6 months from date of purchase.
attraction cost if you buy separately
You save with a 3 Parks Pass
Koala Conservation Centre
Churchill Island Heritage Farm
54.25 (total of 3 above)
OK so you save AU$8, better than a kick in the …….don’t you think?!
Koala conservation centre Rhyll
Enjoy a lovely walk amongst typical Australian bushland and look up to the tree tops. This is the place to see koalas on Philip Island. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll see three or four on your boardwalk stroll. You can buy a separate ticket or you can enter as part of the “3 parks pass”. These iconic cute fur balls are just adorable.
Cape Woolami Walk and The Pinnacles
A stunning coastal walk taking in rugged landscapes and a granite quarry! This is a very windy walk, being coastal, but very rewarding. On our walk we saw an echidna and a wallaby. It’s a medium grade walk and should take about 3 hours to do the whole loop. This is the one which takes in The Beacon.
This is a lovely boardwalk of 1 km in length to see some fantastic rugged coastline from the Nobbies Centre. The Nobbies themselves are a collection of rocks, which provide an important breeding ground for Australian Fur seals. Yes, first you didn’t think Australia has penguins and now seals?!! As you stroll along the boardwalk to see the blowhole and hopefully the seals, there is also a majestic carpet of wildflowers.
A very enjoyable and informative place where you get to make your own chocolate. The highly prized cacao bean has been elevated to its rightful place as the number 1 ingredient for chocolate lovers.
Churchill Island Heritage Farm
If you have your 3 parks pass you are obviously coming here to Churchill Island. It is a fascinating glimpse into history and settler life. You have the whole island to yourself to walk around. You can even bring your bike along for the ride!
Surf at Smiths Beach
One of many lovely relaxing beaches on Phillip Island. This is a popular surf beach and has some prime real estate just metres back from the beach. The sand is 1 kilometre long and it draws surfers because of its consistent wave quality. Children can explore the awesome rock pools at low tide. These are located at either end of the beach. During high tide, snorkellers can enjoy the rock pools too. Something for everyone! Toilets and cold outdoor showers are available here.
Stroll along Cowes Beach
Cowes is the main town of Phillip Island. It has plenty of accommodation, shops and places to eat. Eating options range from fish and chips to fine dining and wine bars. The beaches on this side of the island are sheltered and family friendly.
Rhyll Inlet Walk 1.5 hours return
A gentle walk starting with flat boardwalk, suitable for all ages. The Rhyll Inlet walk is a great opportunity for bird spotting along the boardwalk. There are many places to start this walk. You can start at Conservation Hill, mangrove boardwalk or Harbison Road carpark at Oswin Roberts Reserve.
Now if you fit this all in on one weekend, we’ll be amazed!
The next three places are not strictly on Phillip Island, but are nearby and you can make a separate weekend to do these.
San Remo Coastal Walk 1 Hour return walk 4kms
Wonthaggi State coal mine
This place is fantastic. Completely run by knowledgable volunteers who will give you the full mine tour. Go underground and get dirty! Just kidding, it’s very clean. The guides are fantastic and on the day we went, our guide had us in stitches with his anecdotes. You also get to ride on a coal train. Now all the big kids in you…steady on.
Want a mildly challenging hike with spectacular coastal scenery, varied terrain, Australian native wildlife and plants?
Well, get those shoes on and let’s go walking on this amazing hike, just under 2 hours from Melbourne. Make it a day trip or take it easy and complete the walk over a weekend in regional Victoria.
What is there to see and Do on the George Bass Coastal Walk
There are spectacular views of the ocean and countryside on the George Bass coastal walk. There’s beach, hills, gravel paths, swathes of grassland and classic Australian “bush” foliage. Spring (September to November in Australia , Melbourne region) is a fabulous time to go and see the coast beard heath in flower. The blue tongue lizard and over 300 bird species are just some of the creatures you’ll see on your walk.
All of the walk is open and exposed to the elements. You’ll get sand in your shoes, stumble over rocks and walk on compacted gravel. In some parts you’ll feel like you’re walking through a scene of the film Gladiator. You know the part where Russell Crowe drags his hand along the grass!
Where is the George Bass coastal walk?
The George Bass coastal walk is a mere 1.5 hours drive (in good traffic) from the city of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australia. It is about 120 kilometres from Flinders Street Station in the city centre. So you can do this walk on a day trip!
How long will the George Bass coastal walk take?
This depends on your fitness levels and how much you like taking photographs. Average times say about 2 hours. We’re good walkers and we took 2 hours 50 minutes because we were faffing with cameras and someone called J along the route! If you’re doing this as part of your fitness routine, you’ll definitely do this in about 2 hours. If you’re not fit, then allow up to 4 hours each way. Let us know in the comments section, how long it takes you!
Top Tips for the George Bass coastal walk
When to go: As long as it’s dry, any season is good to go. Being a coastal walk it is almost always windy. Don’t bring your favourite floppy hat unless it’s really tight fitting. If you’re prepared to hold onto it constantly, by all means bring it. They do look good on all those photos we have to admit!
Difficulty of hiking trail: Mostly easy to moderate. It’s 7 – 8kms one way. The hiking trails offer something for everyone. Even young children can do most of the walk. There is meadow land, compacted gravel and sand on this walk. There are some short steep hills and it is close to cliff edges. Make sure you keep your children or dog away from the edges, especially on a very windy day.
Car Parks: You walk from one car park in Punchbowl Road, San Remo to the other one in Kilcunda. Or vice versa. There’s no charge to park in either car park. To access the one in Punchbowl Road you just turn on to the compacted gravel road. Be careful it is a two way road and narrow. The car park at Kilcunda is just off the fore shore.
Dog friendly: Keep your canine on a lead. The park allows dogs but to protect the sensitive native fauna and flora, they ask you to make sure your dog is kept under control.
Provisions: We recommend that you take half a litre of water per person, per hour, that you intend to walk, on a hot day.You might want some fruit and muesli bars for a walking lunch. There’s no cafe along the way for a half way break! There are also no bins so take your rubbish with you. Don’t bother with an umbrella, it will get broken. If there’s a chance of inclement weather, you’re better of wearing a waterproof jacket with a hood.
Sun protection: There’s hardly any shade on this walk. Don’t get caught out with the harsh Australian sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat. You might not feel like you’re getting burned, but sun burn is never a good look!
Shoes: Hiking shoes are not necessary. You will get sand in your shoes, so if you choose to wear sandals, plan in advance. There are parts that you need to go steeply downhill, so shoes with grip are recommended. However, you can get by with running shoes like we did. We don’t recommend flip flops or thongs.
Mobile phone reception is patchy on the George Bass coastal walk. Sometimes you get a signal, sometimes you don’t!
Flooding: There are some areas close to the beach walk section which can become waterlogged and ‘pools’ may be deeper than they seem.
Let’s get started along the stunning George Bass coastal walk! We started from the Punchbowl Road car park, in San Remo.
So, we leave the car in the Punchbowl Road car park. If we walk quickly enough we can be back in 5 hours! Doesn’t sound too hard!
We’re in high spirits as we trek along, with the beautiful blue ocean to our right and lush greenery on the left. The sweeping views are starting already and the blood is flowing.
You’re 45 minutes into the walk and you see signs for Half Moon Bay. So far the walking has been pretty easy on gently sloping grass paths.
In order to get down to the bay, there’s going to be a moderately steep descent. At the 1 hour 15 minutes point, the terrain changes to sand.
You have to back track the same way you came to leave Half Moon Bay. You cannot continue to skirt along the coast line. Keep walking and your next sandy beach awaits.
At times, after Half Moon Bay the route can get confusing. But continue to read and “she’ll be right”, see our Australian slang guide to understand what we mean! Our best advice is to keep the shore line in sight.
Along this part of the George Bass coastal walk there are some really cool ‘water holes’ or mini swimming pools. So as not to confuse things, Australians have named this part of the walk, you guessed it, Sandy Waterhole.
Remember, it’s not safe to swim in the ocean here. The rip tides are very dangerous and there are no life savers patrolling any part of this area.
Keep calm and carry on! The aptly named beach walk section is coming up next. After all the greenery of the rolling hills and dramatic cliff faces, comes the light yellow sand.
After the Beach Walk section, there’s more grassy path which leads you to a sign of colonial human impact on the landscape.
If you’re interested in reading more about the mine sites of Victoria, click here.
Just when you think the walk hasn’t been varied enough you see this on the approach to the Kilcunda foreshore and the end of the George Bass coastal walk. There’s this sight to behold. Crashing waves!
At Kilcunda, we congratulate ourselves and wonder do we have the energy to walk the return journey?
Looking back over the view, we give it some serious consideration.
But we decide against it. That’s for the next time!
Don’t forget if you have done this walk, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the section below.
Do not confuse this lounge with the boringly named Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge in Doha. You seriously don’t want to go to that one, when you hold a business class ticket. Make sure you head to the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge. After reading other reviews we are seriously excited to see the ultra modern lounge with a la carte dining options. We visit at breakfast time and have a 2 hour gap before our nextflight to Singapore on the Qsuiteconfigured plane.
After experiencing the awful and we mean, truly bad London Gatwick North Club Aspire Lounge, that Qatar uses for its business class passengers, we are mega eager to review Qatar’s flagship lounge in Doha.
Put your sunglasses on and prepare for some major bling! This is one shiny lounge with great lighting!
After passport control in Terminal 2 you go through the duty free shops. Keep following the signs.
The lounge is located up an escalator or you can gain access from a lift/ elevator.
Qatar business class dress code
There is no dress code. Ladies, please respect the fact that this is a Muslim state and dress appropriately.
Who can Get In
Anyone holding a Qatar Airways business class ticket or higher. Clearly, if you are travelling first class, you won’t lower yourself to mix with the plebs in business class. You will be using the Al Safwa first class lounge!
If you hold a Oneworld business class ticket, you can also come in. You cannot bring a guest, unfortunately, so leave the mother in law in the main terminal!
Economy class passengers of Qatar Airways can purchase entry for 450 Qatari Riyals which is about US$120. You probably only want to consider this option, if you have at least three hours to kill.
Seating in the qatar al mourjan business lounge
The Al Mourjan Lounge is enormous!
We had our work cut out navigating all the different areas and taking photos. It is a short stop over between London and Singapore, so try to book a flight with a longer layover than 2 hours to take advantage of all the Qatar Al Mourjan business class lounge has to offer.
The a la carte area has bench style and table and chair style seating. There is also booth style seating. The a la carte area is on the lower floor, furthest away from the entrance of the lounge.
Now if you don’t want to sit, there are also lots of snooze areas. Some of the snooze areas are more communal and some of them are for single snoozers.
Wifi and business facilities
There is a full on office area with separate cubicles and huge glass tables to work on in the business centre. It even had its own concierge. This is pretty impressive if you’re actually using a business class lounge, to do business in! Some overworked person was clearly loving the facilities, because he had lots of business paraphernalia spread out all over the place.
On the wired computers the internet is very fast and you don’t need a password.
The wi-fi internet is however another story. Despite not needing a password and your phone showing you’re connected, we could not surf. We didn’t have time to complain or get the staff to help us out for the wi-fi connectivity.
In the business area, there are also seats and a small breakfast bar selection. You can find pastries, fruit, bread and soft drinks. It’s more cafe style in an enclosed room.
Bathrooms and Showers at the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge
Time to get wet! Unfortunately the showers areas were very busy. There is a wait list. There are however two shower areas and the one further from the entrance is less busy and there was no wait time.
Similar to the lounges that Emirates, Qantas and British Airways operate, the showers are more like mini bathrooms in the Qatar Airways AL Mourjan business lounge in Doha.
Food and Beverages in the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge
Feeling hungry? You better be. The Al Mourjan lounge has a global deli and patisserie. In addition, there is a continental and oriental brasserie. Naturally, a full bar is also present. All food served is halal, with many vegetarian options too.
The presentation of the food is stunning. Well in the promotional pictures. We find it to be pretty standard. There are any negative reviews of this lounge, for the space, but not the food. Unfortunately, we didn’t think the breakfast selection was fantastic. Also the a la carte options were only sandwiches and salads. Ok, this may be different later in the day. We visited at breakfast time, so there were no exotic dishes to try for a la carte. Next time, we’ll have to schedule our lounge visit for a lunch or dinner time stop over!
There is a lot of food available, but the selections were similar in all the buffet areas.
But how does it all taste? Is it all beautiful on the outside but tasteless on the inside?
The cold options are a Western style selection. On offer for breakfast is fruit salad, yoghurts, cereals and muesli. For the Middle Eastern selection there is hoummous, olives, labna and flat breads.
Now onto the hot food. There’s what we call a full English. There are baked beans! We thought that was a little un-classy. Baked beans do not present themselves well in any container.
There’s also international food for the hot buffet, like pasta and spiced meat options.
Any international business class lounge worthy of its class has to have a good selection of alcohol. Whilst Qatar doesn’t offer premium alcohol, like Emirates does, the variety is good.
You must order the Qatar airways signature drink. It is a refreshing lemon and mint mocktail, made fresh to order. It even ran out on the Qsuite flight from Doha to Singapore, it is so popular! Make sure you order one in the lounge, if like us, you’re a new fan!
The soft drinks selection is pretty standard. Individual teas in sachets and coffee from a coffee machine. Disappointingly, even if you order a coffee from the bar, it’s not barista made, it comes from a pre-set menu machine.
If you have a long stop over, take advantage of the playrooms. Indulge your inner child with a game of table football/ soccer. Why not hop inside the racing car and test your driving skills? If that doesn’t take your fancy, how about some good old-fashioned Nintendo?
Final Thoughts on the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge
Some people have slated the Qatar Al Mourjan lounge as super sterile and devoid of character. We think it is a solid 7 out of 10. It is gigantic. It is spread over two floors. It is very shiny and clean. In keeping with being modern, we guess that goes hand in hand with the word sterile. Yes, the chairs are replicated all over the place and the eating booths and spaces lack character. It’s one thousand times better than the Qatar lounge at London Gatwick North (Club Aspire). Never, ever fly out of Gatwick, fly from London Heathrow. It’s a mistake we will never make again!
Gatwick North terminal in London is not the best airport for top business class lounges. Apart from the Emirates and Virgin Atlantic lounge there isn’t much to choose from. Qatar Airways uses the terrible Club Aspire Lounge for its business class customers at Gatwick. Avoid at all costs. The No.1 lounge Gatwick North is quite a decent offering. The No.1 lounge is also in the Priority Pass program. This means that entry to the lounge can be paid for and therefore is not that exclusive.
After passport control you go down into the ‘Lounge Pavillion’ area. Gatwick North is not a large terminal building. You cannot get lost. Just follow the signs for airport lounges.
number 1 lounge class dress code
They say it’s a smart casual dress code for this lounge. However people are wearing jeans, shorts, track suit pants/bottoms and T shirts. There are a few people wearing shirts, but, the majority of people are wearing casual clothes. Not many people wear ‘business’ clothes in business class anymore.
Who can Get in
Anyone can get in since the No.1 Lounge is a paid lounge too. It is part of the Priority Pass Program. So if you have a few hours to kill you can pay $30 US to get in. There is a time restriction of 3 hours for the lounge when it’s busy. Pre-booking is possible. Opening times are daily 04:00 to 22:00.
Seating in the no.1 lounge Gatwick
The lounge is spacious. There’s a big bar area and a separate dining area. In addition there is a library area with comfortable sofas and bench style seating. Don’t miss your flight by sitting near the big TV, adjacent to the bar area.
There’s a quiet area outside the library area with a comfortable long sofa.
Bathrooms and Showers number 1 lounge Gatwick
This is an easy part of the review. There are not any showers!!! The toilets are however reasonably glamourous. They contain L’occitane hand soap which is a leading French cosmetics brand. The toilets have shiny black tiles and are modern.
Food and Beverages at the number 1 lounge Gatwick
The food and beverages consist of hot and cold dishes. There are also some pretzel like snack foods. All the food is arranged in one central area, with options to take your food all over the lounge. There are small round bar tables to eat at, long communal benches or formal dining tables.
We visit at dinner time. The hot food doesn’t look great, it is all a bit brown. There are some salads and vegetables to brighten up the spread.
The bar area is comfortable and has three beers on tap.
There is a bar person to fix you a cocktail.The selection of alcohol is pretty much like the selection in other Priority Pass lounges, like the one in Bangkok we have also reviewed.
The tea selection is pretty standard. Black tea and herbal teas by Twinings. You can get hot water from the coffee machines which are next to the tea bags.
The coffee machines make ok cappucino and lattes.
Soft drinks are available too. Some mystery juice is on offer.
Wifi and charging stations
The wifi wasn’t working and no one knew the password! The computer stations outside the lounge were not working either.
The grumpy staff member on the door telephoned someone and they had no idea. That’s a real strike against a lounge. Wi-fi that works is a minimum expectation for travellers.
Final Thoughts on the no. 1 lounge Gatwick
Here’s a summary of what you get and what you don’t in the No.1 lounge at Gatwick North terminal in London.
There’s natural light, which always makes you feel less claustrophobic when on lower levels of an airport terminal. However, since we visit at night we don’t feel the benefit of sunlight.
The lounge is a reasonable size, unlike the Club Aspire Lounge we visit on the same day. There’s enough space to feel like you’re getting away from the crowded terminal.
Adding some showers would be a great idea, in our humble opinion.
Although the food isn’t anywhere near gourmet standard, at least it is edible! That isn’t to say that it is tasty, it is palatable if you’re hungry. The drinks selection is what we expect from a Priority Pass Lounge, this being our third worldwide lounge in the program. The Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge has far better food, even offering 5 made to order dishes which were good. Click here to read about the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge.
Most importantly, in the 21st century, everyone wants wi-fi that works.
Qatar Business Class Lounge Gatwick also known as the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick
Qatar does not have a business class lounge at Gatwick Airport in London. Instead Qatar business class customers must use the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick. This is probably the worst business class lounge we have ever been to! Yes, even the one in Denpasar, Bali is better! At least the one in Bali had a shower. Albeit a shower you wouldn’t want to use, but, still, it has a shower!
Before entering, we must say that Qatar make it very difficult to find out which lounge is used at Gatwick for business class passengers. After many internet searches, we find out that Qatar business class passengers use the Club Aspire Lounge at Gatwick Airport. After even more reading of reviews of the Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick, we are not anticipating a great experience.
The Club Aspire Lounge is also in the Priority Pass program. This means that entry to the lounge can be paid for and therefore is not that exclusive. Avoid this lounge if possible. We checked out the No.1 lounge before this one and should have stayed in it. Little did we know. Oh well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger as the saying goes!
Here is our review of the lounge that Qatar business class passengers use in London Gatwick.
After passport control you go down into the ‘Lounge Pavillion’ area. Gatwick North is not a large terminal building. You cannot get lost. Just follow the signs for airport lounges.
Club Aspire Lounge class dress code
There isn’t a dress code for this lounge. People are wearing jeans, shorts, track suit pants/bottoms and T shirts. There are a few people wearing shirts, but, the majority of people are wearing casual clothes.
Who can Get in
Anyone can get in since the Aspire Lounge is a paid lounge too. It is part of the Priority Pass Program. Qatar business class passengers are given a voucher which gives them free access to the Gatwick Aspire Lounge. There is a special area cordoned off for Qatar business class passengers, but it’s not great! Our top tip, if you’re a Priority Pass member, go to the No.1 Lounge instead.
Seating in the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick
The good news is that the lounge is quite new. There are 2 seater sofas and armchairs in a purple colour with lots of soft padding. The seating throughout the lounge is actually good and has variety.
The single chairs with the small tables and the padded wall section are very comfortable.
The lounge has different seating zones and near the TV there’s a place where groups can congregate on high backed leather booth like seats, you would find in a restaurant.
Bathrooms and Showers Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick
This is an easy part of the review. There are not any showers!!! Remain smelly and un-refreshed. The toilets smell like they could do with a good clean. There are bits of toilet tissue on the floor, which isn’t a good look.
Food and Beverages at the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick
The food and beverages are laid out in the centre of the lounge on two stone benches.
We visit in the evening, since we have a 20:40 hrs departure time to Doha with Qatar Airways on the 787 -8 Dreamliner plane. Note it isn’t the Qsuite.
The food choices are appalling. We can barely bring ourselves to eat anything. Everything looks dry and tasteless. The food looks like it has been sitting there for a long time.
We’re going to loosely call this dinner, by default. It’s evening when we visit. There are breakfast items like a pancake machine.
The first shock is that you have to pay for champagne or Prosecco!
Any international business class lounge worthy of its class should have ALL beverages, alcoholic or non alcoholic, for free.
The selection of alcohol is pretty much like the selection in other Priority Pass lounges, like the one in Bangkok we have also reviewed.
The tea selection is pretty standard. Black tea and herbal teas by Twinings. At least it’s not Lipton black tea! Every true Brit tea drinker knows Lipton black tea sucks. We mean really sucks, you need about 3 tea bags per cup! Sorry to go on about it, but C is British and knows a good cuppa!
There’s an uninspiring coffee machine with soft drinks on tap next to it.
If you look down when you are at the centre bench, you’ll see a fridge with juices in it.
Wifi and charging stations
Final Thoughts on the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick
Here’s a summary of what you get and what you don’t in the Club Aspire lounge used by Qatar business class passengers.
It’s a horrible lounge and should not be used by an international carrier like Qatar for its business class lounges. The No.1 Lounge is better than this one. We will never, ever, fly out of London Gatwick again. What a disastrous way to begin your business class journey. We think, even if you don’t pay for this lounge, you’ll be highly disappointed! This is not the pre-flight experience we were expecting with an international carrier like Qatar Airways. We have thoroughly depressed ourselves looking at footage of the Qatar lounge at Heathrow on Youtube and other travel websites. Shame, we couldn’t sneak into the Emirates lounge!
You don’t get a lot of space. The Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick North terminal is tiny! Plus, there is not a dedicated working area or mini business area.
There is some natural light. But we are on a night flight, so it’s all artificial. Avoid this lounge if you can. Qatar Airways, if you are reading this, please stop using this lounge, it’s not fair on your business class passengers. It rates as a new low in business class lounges.
The food is inedible, unappealing and down right nasty looking. The drinks are ok, but paying for Prosecco, not even champagne, is just unacceptable.
It’s definitely memorable, for all the wrong reasons. Qatar say on their website for London’s Heathrow Qatar lounge that it is ‘warm, elegant and exclusive’. This lounge in comparison is exactly the opposite, anyone can use it and it looks cheap.
The lesson here is never fly out of London Gatwick with Qatar Airways, only fly from London Heathrow.
An evening take off with a flight time of just under 7 hours. Read our review about the Qatar 787-8 Dreamliner business class product Qatar from London to Doha. We are eager to compare the Middle Eastern airline to the likes of Emirates and Etihad. We have flown Qatar in economy and it isn’t great. Let’s hope the business class product is much better.
After a disappointing experience in the Aspire Lounge Gatwick North Terminal, we try to get on board the Qatar 787 – 8 business class as soon as possible. Also, we like to try and not get other passengers in our shots. We’ll blur you out for anonymity!
The configuration is 1-2-1 which is great for solo travellers and couples. Everyone has aisle access, yay!
There are two seats that you probably don’t want. These are located just behind this ‘bar’ ledge area, that seems to us, very strange. These two seats 6E and 6F are also closest to the toilet, so avoid them. A curtain separates you from the economy class cabin.
The service galley is at the front of the 22 seats so if your’e noise sensitive, you may want to choose a seat towards the back. There are 2 toilets at the back of the cabin.
Qatar uses mood lighting throughout the flight. The changing colours are said to aid relaxation. But they don’t help for taking good food shots!
The seat and its surrounds on the Qatar 787 – 8 dreamliner business class cabin
The seats themselves look very comfortable. After take off you get to ‘make your bed’ with the mattress, but, you have to ask for it. On Emirates and Qantas flights we have experienced, the mattress is already on the seat when you board. The curved back however, doesn’t give maximum privacy, but adds a touch of elegance. The window seats ‘lean’ towards the windows so you’re facing away from the aisle and the centre seat passengers. Even if you’re travelling alone and you get a centre seat, you can raise the privacy shield.
The seat controls move you into various positions. They are very well ‘drawn’ and easy to understand.
Underneath the seat control panel, there is an additional storage bin, which contains the noise cancelling headphones.
You get an extra bit of elbow room, whichever seat you’re in. Everyone gets a mini storage draw which contains a bottle of water and the noise cancelling headphones.
The foot well is somewhat narrow and very tall passengers, may find this a problem.
When you pull the table out for eating, if you move your legs to cross or uncross them, you may hit the table with your knees.
There is an international charging socket underneath the shelf
In flight entertainment
The Oryx entertaiment system is quite comprehensive. The Qatar in flight entertainment system has all the usual options. The latest films and classic films in various languages. You can watch the flight cameras or listen to music. The TV screen doesn’t move which is great or not?
You can either touch the screen itself or use a hand held device to select your entertainment.
In our opinion it is a bit too small, the hand held device. We much prefer the tablet you get on the Emirates A380 – 800.
The noise cancelling headphones are a nice touch. They are superior to the ones you get in economy class. If it weren’t for the three prong jack, the headphones wouldn’t be given back!
The electronics around the seat
The TV controller hides in a compartment to the left or right of your seat.
The seat positions allow for a fully flat angled bed. Not all Qatar’s business class seats do. Similar to Emirates, some business class seats are still the old fashioned angled style. Shock, horror, gasp!
There is a massage facility which is really good, if you like massages.
The charging socket is located underneath the shelf area where the seat controls are. The USB slot is next to the headphones slot.
The amenity kits on the Qatar 787- 8 dreamliner business class
We do love a good amenity kit with a toiletries bag you can reuse! The one provided for ladies is orange and filled with Monte Vibiano goodies, an eye mask, some rather fetching matching socks and ear plugs. The bag is from a family owned Italian luxury goods company, called Bric’s.
The amenity kit for men is blue. It contains exactly the same toiletries as the amenity kit for ladies. The only difference is the socks and eye mask are a different colour.
As it’s an overnight flight, we are provided with pyjamas and slippers. The pyjamas are not 100 per cent cotton, unfortunately. The black slippers are also a nasty nylon, which will make your feet sweat. Still, the pyjamas and slippers are better than creasing and sleeping in your own clothes. You’re also more inclined to fall asleep after the dinner service.
The food and beverages on the Qatar 787-8 Dreamliner business class
If you have special dietary requirements, like vegetarian or gluten free, this can be ordered on the app beforehand. You can even get a ‘bland’ meal. What would that taste like?!!!
Did we ‘relish sumptuous cuisine designed by the best chefs in the world and savour expertly served exclusive vintages?’ Those are the words from Qatar’s website. In terms of presentation, the food is very good. In terms of taste, we’re sorry to report that there is room for improvement.
The bevarages are not as expensive as Emirates offer either. Notably the wines are of a poorer quality. However, the signature mint and lemon drink is refreshingly delicious and you must order at least two throughout the flight!
The menu selection always reflects the place you’re flying to and from. So, on the flight from England there are traditional English and Arabic options.
The dinner service begins an hour into the flight. After a disappointing selection of food in Qatar’s London Gatwick North Lounge, we are hungry!
It’s appetiser time! The amuse bouche is very well presented. Top marks! It tastes good too.
For main course the most exciting sounding dish is the beef fillet. Let’s see if Qatar can pull off a medium-rare steak in the air!
Unfortunately the beef was really overcooked. It had a nice flavour, but, it was not gourmet standard. We were offered a chicken alternative, but, we didn’t want white meat. Thumbs down for Qatar’s main course. The flight attendants were eager to hear our feedback, but, will anything be done about it for future customers?
So far two strikes for the appetiser and main course. Can Qatar win back some points with the dessert?
We choose the healthy option, because how wrong can you go with mixed berries? Even here, attention to detail is lacking. There are still some green parts of the top of the strawberries in the bowl. Overall, a disappointing dinner. It certainly didn’t meet our expectations of the “finest dining in the skies” with “extraordinary cuisine” as the Qatar website suggests.
One hour and 20 minutes before landing in Doha, you are offered breakfast. We choose the cooked option, knowing that there will be middle eastern breakfast choices in the Al Mourjan Lounge, when we land. The next flight we take to Singapore on the Qatar Qsuite will also start with breakfast.
The service of the Qatar staff
The staff greet you by name which is a good touch. On this flight the staff are very friendly, but not over friendly. They ask for feedback and are more than happy to take pictures for you.
The Qatar 787 business class toilets
Why didn’t you go to the toilet before?!!! The bathroom, the restroom, the wash closet. Whatever you want to call it, it’s where you do your ‘business’ in the plane. We are sorry to report, the toilets are a bit disappointing as business class toilets go. It is the same size as an economy class toilet.
The Qatar 787 -8 dreamliner business class bar
There isn’t one!
Ok there isn’t one as in bar service with a flight attendant mixing you cocktails. You can place some drinks here on this ‘bar ledge’ and congregate if you need to stretch your legs. But, how awkward for the passengers sitting in 6E and 6F!
Not that we crave alcohol, you understand, we just like comparing on board bars on different airlines! There is only a bar on the A380 Qatar business class product. After take off, some fresh fruit, nuts and a few bottles of alcohol are placed on the “bar” ledges.
Summary of the Qatar 787 -8 dreamliner business class cabin
Firstly, we like the layout of the cabin. It works really well for everyone, offering privacy to all passengers.
Secondly, the seats are very comfortable and the fully flat position is always welcome.
We love the amenity kits. Good quality and a great souvenir of the flight.
However, the Qatar 787-8 Dreamliner business class does have some down sides. There’s no real bar on the Dreamliner. Oh well, next time we must fly the Qatar A380. It seems to be an A380 thing!
The biggest let down is the food quality and taste. Qatar need to up their game on this aspect of the soft product on this particular flight.
Have you flown out of London Gatwick on the Qatar 787-8 dreamliner in business class? Do you agree with our review? Let us know, by submitting a comment.
This is our most anticipated flight review yet! The business class Qsuites have really been a game changer for Qatar Airways. The first of its kind to offer first class like suites with extreme privacy. The two middle seats can be joined to make a double bed! Is that encouraging the mile high club????!!!! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!
Read our review of the 7 hour flight from Doha to Singapore. It’s an early morning start. Well, early for us, 8.30 am. We get on after a quick visit to the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha.
Find out which planes in the Qatar Fleet have the Qsuite
Not all Qatar business class planes are made equally! You are not guaranteed a Qsuite unless you are on the A350-1000. Some of the Boeing 777-200LRs will have Qsuite. Similarly, select Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350-900s might have Qsuite. We did our research very carefully!
The Qatar A350 business class cabin
After a sumptuous feast in the Qatar Al Mourjan business class lounge in Doha we reluctantly board the plane. Just joking, any time we board a business class flight, we are pretty excited!
The configuration of the seats is a glorious 1-2-1. Off to a good start. This is one time where a window seat is great, when travelling alone. From the picture above, you can see that some seats face forwards and some face backwards.
The seats in the centre section that are closer together can make a double bed after take off! That’s what all the fuss is about. A first class experience at a business class price is the selling factor here.
Qatar were the first to introduce sliding doors, like in First Class on some airlines. However, these doors are purely visual. They don’t stop the sound of a crying infant from reaching your ears! Whether crying infants should even be allowed in business class is a whole other blog post!
Not only can some Qsuite seats convert to a double bed, but people travelling and actually ‘doing business’ can make a mini conference room of 2 opposite seats facing each other to form a group of 4. Qatar call this the quad set up. Movable panels can be opened up to form a social or business area. How cool is that?! On this particular flight, there were no people ‘doing business’. In fact, the flight was pretty empty, about 14 people in total. Therefore, we don’t have a picture of 4 people opening up the Qsuite dividers to make a conference room. Click here on the Qatar Airways website to see what the ‘conference room’ in the sky looks like.
The seat and its surrounds on the Qatar A350 business class cabin
Most seats are less than 2 years old. Qatar launched their first Qsuite in June 2017. If you’re on a plane that just got configured with Qsuite, then it could even be new! There’s a total of 46 seats.
When sitting up right for take off, there is a huge amount of legroom. Well that’s what business class is all about!
There is ample storage in the overhead lockers/bins and each one is labelled with your closest seat number. Additional storage can be found in the padded ‘armrest’ which contains the noise cancelling headphones and a bottle of water.
In flight entertainment
Every passenger in business class gets 60 minutes of complimentary wi-fi internet on board.
When you have finished ‘Whats apping’ and uploading Instagram stories to make your friends jealous, there’s plenty to watch and listen to. The screen is huge and has very good resolution. The latest Hollywood, Bollywood and world cinema films are available. In addition, you have TV series, documentaries and more music than you can ever get through.
The electronics around the seat
You can charge your laptop, connect to HDMI and USB ports from your seat. Everything is within easy reach and nothing is hidden or in a hard to reach corner.
To control the seat itself there are a variety of self explanatory buttons.
The ‘DND’ button is an acronym for ‘do not disturb’. So much better than sticking a sticker onto your seat in economy class. The Qsuite seat also comes with a massage function which is very effective.
The amenity kits on the Qatar A350 business class
Like the amenity kits from London to Doha, the kits are filled with Castello Monte Vibiano toiletries inside a Bric’s bag. Bric’s is an Italian luxury travel bags and fashion accessories company. It boasts that all merchandise is made in Italy. On top of that it remains a family company.
The bags are definitely classy and ones for keeping for future travels.
The Monte Vibiano toiletries are hypoallergenic, paraben free, nickel tested and cruelty free.
The food and beverages
It’s breakfast time on the Doha to Singapore flight. The mains to choose from are Arabic, Western or Asian. Having had the Arabic meze in the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha, we opt for the Asian prawn congee.
What we really like about the Qatar food service is the cute little touches like the mini salt and pepper grinders and the table light.
It’s a short flight from Doha to Singapore, about 7 hours. After catching a few hours of shut-eye it’s feeding time again. There is a choice of light bites ranging from a mixed garden salad, Thai red curry with seafood, spring onion panini with beef fillet or fresh finger sandwiches and scones. If none of that takes your fancy, there’s a snack platter, where you get snack size portions of world cuisines.
The service of the Qatar staff
Throughout the flight, the crew introduced themselves and asked for feedback on their service. The Qatar staff react with lightning speed to the call button. They are eager to promote the Qsuite and explained the cabin features in detail. The crew offered to take numerous photographs and open up the quad set up. We found the Qatar crew to be very friendly without being over bearing. Top marks!
The Qatar A350 business class toilets
Will they be as special as the cabin? Are they big enough to swing a cat in (like in the BA A380 business class)? Is the toilet tissue 3 ply? These burning and very important questions will now be answered!
The tissue paper isn’t 3 ply, it’s the same old rough stuff you get in economy. There is a box of disposable razors, toothbrushes and combs in case you come on board unshaven and with bad breath.
The Qatar A350 business class bar
Unfortunately only the Qatar A380 business class product has the bar. You have to ask yourself, what’s more important the bar or the seats? You can get the bar effect by ordering as many cocktails on demand and glasses of champagne as you can manage!
Summary of the Qatar A350 -1000 business class cabin
Firstly, we love the layout of the Qsuite cabin. The flexibility of transforming spaces into work and leisure zones for people travelling together is fabulous. Solo travellers are not neglected either, with the best window seat view and privacy screen.
Secondly, the seat comfort in all modes is good. Some people may experience issues with the table when eating. If you’re very tall, your knees may bang against the underside of the table as you cross and uncross your legs.
Thirdly, the Qsuite is modern, clean and has great electronic features. The mood lighting enhances rest, even though it isn’t ideal for taking photographs.
Qatar Qsuites A350 vs Emirates A380 Business Class
How does the Qsuite experience compare to our current favourite business class product, the Emirates A380?
Well, let’s do the scoring!
The first let down for Qatar is the lack of chauffeur service. Getting a complimentary ride to and from the airport is a big plus in our eyes.
Secondly, sorry Qatar, your flagship AL Mourjan lounge in Doha, misses a few points. In terms of food presentation and choice, shower facilities and of course, who can compete with the Moet and Chandon Lounge Emirates has in Dubai?
A plus for Qatar Airways is the larger screen. Size does matter! The Qatar screen (21.5 inches) is 3 inches wider than the Emirates screen (18.5 inches).
The second plus for Qatar Qsuite is the sliding door, which none of the Emirates fleet in business class have.Optimum privacy is guaranteed on the A350-1000 fitted with Qsuite seats.
Emirates win back a point with the food and beverages. The quality and taste of the Emirates dining experience is superior to Qatar’s, notably the choice of premium alcohol, served on board.
Just for the flight experience, the A350-1000 Qsuite is the better product. However, overall, in our opinion, if you include the lounge and the limo service (pre and post flight experience) we will still pick Emirates A380.
If you’re looking for cheap business class flight deals direct to your inbox, we recommend luxuryflightclub.com
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne was established in 1846.
A haven of green foliage and exotic plants in the middle of a fast paced city. The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne is free and a delight for young and old.
Taking a stroll in nature and then spreading out a picnic blanket, overlooking a lake is our idea of a great way to relax. Doing this in the heart of a city with over 4 and a half million inhabitants is still possible in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne.
Spread over 89 acres the landscaped gardens are a must see attraction when visiting Melbourne. 1 million people visit the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne every year. Are you one of them?
The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne are, you’ve guessed it, in Melbourne! They are a short walk from the CBD (central business district).
You can get here by tram, on foot, by bicycle or by car and taxi. Since we have a base in Melbourne, we always cycle or walk if we’re feeling energetic. If we have a picnic planned and need to bring food and drinks, we take the car and park just outside the gardens.
Parking is not free (except on Sundays), but the gardens themselves are. Melbourne has a parking system that must be read very carefully. Often there are time restrictions, such as a 2 hour maximum period. The closer you are to an attraction, the shorter time period you get to park. So, if you want to spend about 4 -5 hours in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne, you will need to park further away from the entrance gates. There’s nothing worse than worrying about a parking fine!
The botanic gardens are of historical, scientific, social and architectural significance to the state of Victoria and Melbourne, in particular. There is an elm tree that has been growing since 1846. See if you can find it.
It’s just like going to Venice when you see the lake in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. OK, we’re just joking, but you can go for a gondola ride! OK, OK, it’s a boat, not a gondola. The lake is a central point and you can admire the views from outside seating areas or from the restaurant. Often you’ll see ducks, swans and other birds swimming and sometimes chilling on the edges, doing some people watching!
In the warmer months, you will often see a wedding ceremony near the lake.
The Rain Forest walk
This is a really cool walk that makes you think you’ve gone back in time to the Jurassic era! The rain forest walk is completely enclosed like a true rain forest. The trees are really tall and it has a humid feel to it, all year round. Ancient ferns are the main plants at ground level. A walkway has been introduced for easy access and for those with mobility issues.
If it all gets too much, you can now relax in a swinging seat. You’ll have to fight for it however, children seem to like it a lot!!!
The Herb Garden
You can easily miss this little pocket of delights if you don’t look for the signs. There are many types of herbs that you can rub gently and inhale. Our favourites are the pineapple and chocolate mint varieties. They really do smell of mint and pineapple and chocolate and mint. Don’t try and take a sample to grow yourself, there are huge fines for those caught stealing! Children will find the herb garden particularly fascinating. It is actually very educational for everyone as the little placards tell you the scientific names and uses of each herb. The herb garden is one of our favourite areas when we visit the botanical gardens.
Our top tip – If you love taking bee shots, like we do, the herb garden is the place where most of them hang out.
You will find rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, lemon verbena and much more. A couple of benches have been strategically placed to take in all the aromas!
A place for big kids as well as small kids. When you go through these gates after the sign, a wonderful, interactive world awaits. It’s a space for children to discover and explore the wonderful world of plants, including vegetables. There’s a water fountain that sprays upwards (perfect for hot days), various trails, possums hiding in the roof and a vegetable garden to explore. Many educational school trips spend part of an excursion in this area. Therefore, avoid going on a Monday or a Tuesday, during Victorian school term times.
When you’re feeling cold in Winter, pop into the glasshouse for a reminder of warmer climates! The glasshouse is small and you can go through it in 5 minutes. We particularly like the pitcher plants and the orchids. Whilst nothing like the amazing orchid gardens in Singapore, you get to see native Australian orchids and some plants from all over the world.
Guilfoyle’s volcano is the most recent addition to the Melbourne botanical gardens. Guilfoyle was a director of the botanic gardens in 1873. Originally created as a water reservoir it was dormant for 60 years before recent restoration.
At the ‘top’ of the volcano there is one information board we love standing in front of.
All things prickly and drought resistant live here. We’re not just talking about that man in the photo below!
Melbourne had a terrible drought in the last decade. Keen gardeners are encouraged to grow water saving plants such as cacti and succulents. Unsurprisingly, the cacti gardens came out of the drought unscathed.
Restaurants and Facilities
The gardens are used for concerts, plays, and movies under the stars! To find out what is going on at the gardens click here
There are plenty of toilets dotted around the gardens. They are well maintained. The biggest and best ones are just behind the building in the picture below.
There are two main places to grab a bite to eat. The more informal cafe Jardin Tan, focuses on the paddock (farm) to plate philosophy. You can get coffee here and ice cream as well as a full meal. The cuisine is from the Indo China area (modern Vietnam). Drool over crunchy coleslaw with prawns or get that authentic bahn-mi you miss from Vietnam.
Pho (pronounced ‘fur’) something more substantial, how does Flinders Island lamb shoulder, pickled vegetables, firecracker sauce and steamed buns sound? Er, hello, book us a spot online now!
If you happen to enter through Gate A of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne, you will be closer to the Terrace. This is the place for clotted cream scones and high tea. You have to book well in advance for high tea. Also touted as Melbourne’s best kept secret for wedding and corporate events.
Breakfast is served from 9 to 11.30 am. We don’t have any breakfast pictures, sorry, we’re not up that early!!! Lunch is from 11.30 to 3 pm.
At certain times of the year, there is an electric mini bus for people with mobility issues. You can catch it just after the Herbarium. We hope you visit these magnificent gardens and love them as much as we do!
Werribee Gorge is only 75 kms outside of Melbourne along the Western Freeway. It takes about 45 minutes to drive there. It’s a great Melbourne day trip which we love doing. City dwellers love Werribee Gorge as it’s a chance to do some ‘bushwalking’ and get some fresh air. If you’re basing yourself in Geelong, the drive is just over an hour. The nearest town is Bacchus Marsh, which is 8 kms away.
What is there to see at Werribee Gorge State Park?
There are spectacular views of the gorge and lookout points over the hills. There is good native vegetation featuring plants such as the white flowered Snowy Mint bush. Parts of the walk are open grassland and there’s even a mini beach! There are a variety of walks as well as some basic rock climbing available to everyone. There is also an abundance of native animals such as the black wallaby, snakes and wedge tailed eagles. Keep your eyes peeled as you go on this fantastic bush walk.
cenery constantly changes in Werribee Gorge State Park. Get out of the city and experience Melbourne’s mini ‘outback’.
When to go: As long as it’s dry, any season is good to go.
Difficulty of hiking trails: Easy to hard. The hiking trails offer something for everyone. Even young children can do some of the river walk as it’s pretty flat.
Car Parks: There are 3 car parks off Myers road.
The first car park is directly off Myers road as you come off the Western Freeway. There is limited car parking in the first car park, so just keep heading down the unsealed road if it’s full.
The second car park is the Quarry picnic parking area. This is the second parking lot and can be reached down the same road just further along from the first car park. It has picnic tables, toilets and water taps and quite a lot more parking than the first car park.
The third car park is at the Meikles point picnic area. To reach this car park you have to go down a narrow-unsealed road which can be quite challenging if a car is coming the other way. It also has picnic tables, toilets and water taps.
Provisions: We recommend that you take half a litre of water per person, per hour, that you intend to walk as well as some emergency rations.
Sun protection: Don’t get caught out with the harsh Australian sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat. You might not feel like you’re getting burned, but sun burn is never a good look!
Shoes: Hiking shoes are the best choice for most of these walks, as part of the walks are quite difficult and rocky and can be slippery as well. However, you can get by with running shoes if you have to.
Mobile phone reception is limited and unavailable through parts of the walks in Werribee Gorge.
Flooding: The gorge is subject to flooding during heavy rainfall, so it’s best visited outside of heavy rainfall. The path can also be quite slippery when wet so, it’s even more important to have hiking boots, if walking when wet.
The map above has been republished with permission from parks Victoria. It’s the best map of the available walks. It can be found with additional information at the Werribee gorge state park sitehere
3 km return 1-1.5 hours easy/medium grade .Start at Meikles point car park. Follow the river along an old aqueduct until you get to a rock face with a rope to climb around. At this point you turn around and go back if you only want to do the river walk. The path is narrow and mostly flat. Look to your left and you will see the amazing layers in the rocks. Note, there is no sign to tell you this is the point to turn around. If you continue it will be along the circuit walk and will add 2-3 hours to your return time. There are some swimming opportunities along the way.
The River Walk in Werribee Gorge is mostly flat.
3km return 1.5-2 hours medium grade. Start at Ironbark point car park off Inguston road. Some up hill trekking for a magnificent view over the gorge. Keep an eye out for wedge tailed eagles and hawks. This is also the only area where rock climbing is allowed according to Parks Victoria.
4 km return 2-2.5 hours medium/hard grade. Start at Quarry picnic parking area and follow the circuit walk until you see the sign for Centenary Walk. The climb up to the top is steep and the path is rough in spots. You will be rewarded with wild flowers and amazing views of the gorge. There’s some open woodland and a creek to spot some frogs.
Short Circuit Walk
5 km return 2-2.5 hours medium grade. Start at any of the three car parks. This follows the eastern part of the walk heading down to Meikles car park via the river after the Eastern viewpoint. Some steep parts but doable for families.
Long Circuit Walk
10 km return 3.5-4.5 hours medium/hard grade. Start at any of the three car parks. Lots of different terrain to cover on this circuit. Steep hills, rocky flat paths, sand and grassy banks. This long walk provides the best opportunities for spotting the native black wallaby. The scenery is constantly changing. There are many information boards detailing the rock, river and beach formations.
Want to know what types of rock you’re looking at in Werribee Gorge? There are many information boards along the walks giving great geological explanations.
Our Walk at Werribee Gorge
We did the river walk and the long circuit walk which includes half of the short circuit walk. We got a bit lost, but, hopefully you won’t!
We parked at the un-named car park, which is the first one you get to, if you follow the brown road signs. Get there early, especially on the weekends. It is very popular with city folk looking to escape the big smog. Werribee Gorge State Park is also popular with the fitness crowd. It’s a great place to spot the latest Lycra trends.
To start the River Walk from the top car park with no name, walk down this unpaved road.
Head down the unpaved road towards the named, Meikles Point picnic area. Watch out for cars as this is a shared pathway. When you arrive, make a U turn and walk directly along the river. This flat part goes for about 20 minutes. The gradient begins to change and you are now slowly going uphill. The path becomes quite narrow and the river is now on your left.
After the flat River Walk path ends, you’re quite high up. You are now looking down on the river below and get a great view of the colourful rocks.
When you get to this point and the path narrows, it’s the end of the easy River Walk.
The narrow path should take about 25 minutes. When you reach the climbing ropes, you have two choices. You can turn around and go back to the picnic area or continue. If you only plan on doing the River Walk, then turn back. If you choose to carry on, some challenging hills, change of terrain and river ropes await.
The river rope section is quite a fun challenge. You can’t see round the corner and don’t know how long you’ll be rock scrambling. In reality it’s only 5 minutes, but if you weren’t expecting it, it can seem like an eternity. If you’re not confident near water, the rope section can also be quite scary. We scramble over, thankful we’ve been doing lunges at the gym and working on our biceps! We carry on, oblivious to the fact that we’re now on the Long Circuit Walk.
Lionhead Beach is a welcome pit stop. Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the cool water.
Just after the ropes, you see Lionhead Beach. This is a good rest point and a chance to dip your toes in the refreshing water. The information board tells you reasons behind the name and some native trees to look out for. At this point, you are 2 hours away from the top, unnamed car park. You are now walking on sand and it’s relatively flat and open terrain. We see some other people and they tell us we’re in for some ‘goat trekking’. We laugh outwardly and inwardly groan because we only brought 600 mls of water each and it’s a hot day. So be prepared, unlike us!
Fellow hikers warn us of the ‘goat trekking’ part of the walk. Guess we found it!
The rugged beauty of the open landscape compensates for the sweat dripping into your eyes, as you trudge on. We pass ‘unstable cliff’ signs and trip over large rocks sticking out. Fellow hikers encourage you to keep going with words like, ‘almost there’ and ‘only another hour’. We keep going, telling ourselves this short walk that turned into a long walk is doing us good. We’re being spontaneous! In reality, it’s too late to turn back, so we might as well continue. We started at 10:00 am and intended to be eating lunch at 1pm!
Half an hour later, we are rewarded with a spectacular view. It takes our minds off the snacks we didn’t bring.
The Eastern Viewpoint is a spectacular pit stop. This is typical Australian bush landscape.
We take our time posing and congratulating ourselves on the rock edge at the Eastern Viewpoint. The beautiful views taking in the gorge and the open forest below is a sight to behold. We snap a few shots for Instagram and move on.
At the top of one of the hills, we see our car in the car park. Spurred on with visions of smashed avocado and sourdough, we pick up the pace. Three and a half hours later, we arrive back where we started. We promise ourselves we’ll do it all again next week!
Australian bush at its best! Native flora and fauna. Don’t miss out. Go and explore Werribee Gorge State Park, it’s an easy Melbourne day trip.
We hope we have inspired you to go to Werribee Gorge State Park and do some hiking. It’s an easy day trip from Melbourne or Geelong. For a taste of the Australian bush, you really can’t go wrong in Werribee Gorge. Have you been? What are your views on the various walks? Do you have any tips for fellow travellers? We would love to hear from you.