Archive | July, 2011

A significant duct

27 Jul
Blending into the scenery like a chameleon and spanning far into the distance, I ponder how it is that this 738 metre long, historically significant structure sits literally in our backyard yet many a local are oblivious to its existence.

Image: Kevin Patterson (2000) National Trust Australia

The Geelong Aqueduct, constructed in 1913 was purpose built for conveying a sewer pipe across the expansive Barwon wetlands. The Tasmanian engineers commissioned for the task of building the structure sort inspiration from a steel rail bridge in Scotland. The result was a reinforced concrete, fourteen pylon, cantilever aqueduct and upon its completion, the Geelong Aqueduct was celebrated as an engineering masterpiece and a first of its kind in Australia.

Today it remains a rare example this type of engineering construction and as Dr Miles Lewis, an associate professor of architecture at Melbourne University comments “the aqueduct is internationally significant and was one of the most extraordinary engineering structures in Australia”.

Decommissioned in 1993 the aqueduct and pedestrian footbridge that runs its length has sadly fallen into disrepair and is unstable for public access. Although you can sneak a peek of the beginning of the aqueduct from a property on Leather Street or a side view from the bottom of Tanner Crt.

Geelong Aqueduct Footbridge

Image Copyright National Trust

You can also catch a glimpse if you head across to Marshall and down Tannery Rd, being sure to look across the paddocks for the iconic structure.

Geelong Aqueduct

In the past there has been much debate about what should be done with the structure – demolish, repair, repurpose. Its future appears to remain in the too hard basket and a debate currently still without resolution.

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Wheely great riding in Geelong

20 Jul

With Le Tour de France currently in full swing and quasi-local cyclist Cadel Evans as a keen favourite for taking out the Gold Jersey I thought it the perfect time to bring your attention to some of Geelong’s bicycle & sport cycling facilities. Geelong is a great location for cycling with its wide open spaces, flat plains, scenic outlook and rolling hills.

Belmont Criterium Track

The Belmont Criterium Track was recently opened and to the non-lycra wearing audience (including me!) a criterium or a crit, as is commonly known,  is a short course cycling event. The purpose-built criterium cycling track which opened in September 2010, was constructed with the support of local government to encourage continued growth of the sport.

The track is open to the public for road cycling training but closed for public use during club training, competitions and events. Word from the Geelong Cycling Club is that they are drawing up a red-hot Crit program for the next season which starts in November.

Crit not your thing? Well many long time local residents are often surprised to learn that Geelong has it’s very own velodrome. The Geelong West football oval is also home to the Geelong Velodrome. The smooth, hot mix track runs the outer ring of the oval.

Geelong West Velodrome

Geelong West Velodrome

If you are more like me and a fully paid up member of the fair weather leisure bike riding set then Geelong also has a many leisure ride trails. I doubt a weekend would pass when there isn’t riders utilising the Bellarine Rail Trail which runs from The Geelong show grounds to Queenscliff via Drysdale. There is also the picturesque Barwon River Trail, leaving from various points along the river, the leisurely ride takes you along the river and loops you back to your starting point. For more information see the Visit Geelongwebsite for great walks and rides in the region.

Barwon River Trail Geelong

Barwon River Trail

Jack Rabbit

6 Jul

UPDATE 20/11/14 : As of mid 2014 Jack Rabbit Restaurant was rebuilt. On the site Jack Rabbit estate you can now find two different dining options. The rebuilt and highly acclaimed restaurant and Jack Rabbit House, a more casual yet just as picturesque cellar door with cafe styled menu.

Travel the road bound for Portarlington and you will be certain to come across what I consider to be one of the most ridiculous winery logo’s in existence. Its only once you read the winery name Jack Rabbit, that you realise the big white loops in the logo are representative of bunny ears!

Jack Rabbit Winery

Following the signposts down an unsealed road the only clue that a winery is nearby are the vines that line the hills.  Eventually the winery building presents itself sitting high on its elevated position giving you a hint of the majestic views across Corio bay that it commands. You begin feel almost like you’ve discovered a secret, however, as you pull into the busy car park you realise Jack Rabbit is clearly not a secret at all.

Tastings at Jack Rabbit or Kilgour Estate as it was previously known are conducted in the restaurant giving you the opportunity to salivate over the lunch and dinner menus and admire the truly spectacular view. The Restaurant is relatively small but still bright and modern. It lacks the intimacy of a small family run winery however the staff are well-informed and welcoming. I sampled four wines and despite my reservations the 2009 Kilgour Estate Chardonnay went down easily as did the 2010 Jack Rabbit Pinot. Surprisingly, my usual favourite variety, the 2010 Jack Rabbit Cabernet Sauvignon was not to my liking but I was pleased to finish with the Sparking Cabernet Sauvignon which was fantastic, light and fresh. On such a dreary day and priced at $40 a bottle, I just could bring myself to take any home. However now I know about this little winery gem and its amazing location, I’d be more than happy to hop (shameless pun!) out to Jack Rabbit and grab myself a bottle whenever the mood calls.

View Jack Rabbit Winery over Corio Bay

You can find out more about Jack Rabbit and get a glimpse of the wonderful views on their website