As we did last year, Australia Day 2011, to celebrate Australia Day we head down to the Geelong foreshore with our friend Kathryn for a day of photos and fun.
First though was a quick stop at the Wyndham Cache for breakfast. We had lunch there last Sunday and have to say our second visit wasn’t as great. Clearly they weren’t prepared for the crowds of the public holiday and the horse show that was happening just up the road. Only two front of house staff were on, pretty sure the owner and his wife, and two kitchen staff. The kitchen kept up better than the front of house and after a bit of a wait to place our order or breakfasts arrived. I had French toast, which after ordering seemed a little wrong on Australia Day.
When we got to Geelong there was a slight hitch. Some boofhead (read “I”) forgot my camera and left it sitting on the kitchen table at home. Thankfully Kathryn was travelling with all three of her camera bodies that day; a Nikon, a Canon and a Konica/Minolta. Kathryn was going to let me borrow one of her bodies for the day, as they’d most likely just be sitting in the boot.
I think, however, that both David and Kathryn could tell I was a little miffed that I wouldn’t have my own camera and David suggested we go home and get it. Kathryn opted to stay and start visiting the festivities while David and I made the hour-long round trip back home to get my camera.
On our return, now much happier with my own baby in my hands, we set about exploring the foreshore. It was set up much the same as last year. From where we parked, on top of the hill, it was a short walk to the skate park where the “grungy” bands were playing, then past the pier, over to the first part where food stalls were set up and the main stage was in place. On the main stage our new Australians were being sworn in as little Aussies, with this year’s group including a gentleman of 88 who has lived in Australia for over 60 years but this year was the oldest person in Australia becoming a new Aussie on Australia day 2012.
Further along was another park with another stage of performers, followed by the Giant Sky Wheel (just past the marina) and the beach volley ball beside that. Across from these were yet more stalls.
We took a bunch of photos at the volley ball and moved on down to the far end, to the Eastern Beach Swimming Enclosure, where the kids (young and old) dive from the diving boards and fall, sometimes flailing wildly, from the high platform. These kids are quite often fun to watch for ages. They have so much fun bouncing around and trying new tricks.
One little girl was by far the highlight of the day. When it was her turn, she’d walk out to the edge of the diving board, look down, think about it, look back at her brother (who was waiting next in line) and then back at the water. Then she’d wander back off the board, too scared to jump and back to the end of the line. This went on about seven times before, on the eight, her brother went out on the board with her and stood with her while she did her “look and consider” routine. This time though her brother must have offered her comfort because she was suddenly crouching down and then launching herself off the edge of the board and into the water. Had it been one of my siblings I’m sure we would have pushed them off before the third time through. But her brother, and all those waiting in line, were very patient with her.
Of course once the first jump was out of the way there was no stopping her.
We had lunch at one of the stalls, I opted for a calamari and prawn basket while David and Kathryn had baked spuds. We also indulged in dagwood dogs, soft serve ice-cream and fairy floss, all right when I say “we” I probably mean just me. But it was a celebration so it’s all right for a little indulgence to occur.
While we had at first considered hanging around for the fireworks display later in the night we were all a little worn out form the sun and walking around and around. We instead opted for a ride on The Giant Sky Wheel, then home. On the way home we passed by Werribee South water front where they had just started celebrations, though I’m sure most of the people had been there all day, and it was packed. They were going to have fireworks there too, but we still decided it best to call it a day.
In all it was a fun day, we always have a good day when we’re out taking photos. I think we came back with a nice collection. Many of which probably won’t see the light of day. But here’s a few of my favourites from the day. You can see more in my Flickr set: Australia Day 2012.