Commando Op shopping 

I take commando shopping very seriously- the ability to shop in a seriously restricted period of time has been something I have honed over years of kids with limited attention spans and a husband who hates crowds.

Heading away to Warrnambool was a chance to see some new shops. I had scoped a couple of op shops online before we arrived, and I knew there were a few vintage shops in Warrnambool as well to take a quick browse in. With only 3 days and an already full itinerary it would be hard to squeeze in quality browsing time. With a fully packed car with bikes and luggage it would also be a challenge to get anything home. Items bought would have to be small and compact.

The first shop was Colac Vinnies– the best thing about this place is its location, across the road from a park with a playground. It’s a perfect chance to drop in for 5-10 minutes while the kids are playing or heading to the toilets. They had books half price and I scored a couple of titles to keep me occupied in the evenings. Total cost $2.50 for two books.

Op shop haul- dress and 2 books

Op shop haul- dress and 2 books

I also managed to slip out for 45 minutes in the afternoon one day while the kids were winding down after a big day out. I made a quick detour to the atm then visited 3 op shops and a vintage shop in quick succession. Three of the shops were all in the same street which made it easy to visit. I managed to score the dress above for $5.00 at the Salvos. The Vinnies and RSPCA did not yield anything, and there were some lovely coats to be had at the Long Gone Antiques and Collectibles, but I wasn’t in need of any.

We spent the final morning at the Fletcher Jones Market. The market is similar to the Mill Markets in Daylesford, Geelong and Ballarat with heaps of stalls of antiques, collectibles and bric a brac.

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Fletcher Jones Market and Gardens

It’s situated on the site of the old Fletcher Jones factory which closed in The market itself is located within the part where womenswear was manufactured, and you can still see vestiges of the factory.

Artwork still on the factory floor

Artwork still on the factory floor

 

The upper level looks like offices and allows for little stalls- I found one room with linen, fabric and yarn.

A knitters dream!

A knitters dream!

I stepped away from the yarn as quietly and as quickly as possible- yarn has an innate tendency to want to come home with me and I have enough of a stash without bringing more home :). I got myself a little cup and saucer and platter and MrBG managed to score a nice tweed Christian Dior jacket. By this stage the kids were clamouring to head off and hit the road.

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Warrnambool or bust

When the winter school holidays come to Ballarat, you have the choice to embrace the cold or to escape. We did a bit of both, doing the obligatory Sovereign Hill trek to see the winter night lights and to sample mulled wine. It was busier than last year, with lots of day trippers and weekending visitors from out of town.

 
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Friends and neighbours took the escape option and headed up north to Port Douglas, Rome and Paris (they are lovely people, and totally deserved their holidays- I lived vicariously through their Instagram pics #jealousnotjealous). Our escape took us south west to…Warrnambool.
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Okay, not the most tropical option, but we had sun, the sea, sand, ice cream, no rain and the temperatures were in DOUBLE FIGURES. For mere mortals accustomed to days with the top temperature of 8 or 9 degrees, it felt positively balmy.

We stayed in a little cottage not far from the Lake Pertobe precinct which we found through AirBnB, which suited us perfectly.
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Warrnambool has a kids festival in the first week of the winter holidays which we missed out on visiting- but we didn’t have any problems filling in our time.

Tower Hill just outside of Koroit was a great place to stretch the legs, check out the views of the surrounding countryside and meet some local wildlife.
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We met a few emus and wallabies, and even spotted a koala up a tree!

Nearby was the little town of Korout whereI had holidayed with my family there over 30 years ago. It hadn’t really changed much since then.
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The countryside around Koroit and Warrnambool feels so familiar, and its not just from holidays or school excursions. It’s very reminiscent of Ireland and I can understand why so many Irish settled and stayed in the area. Names like Noonan and Bourke abound in Koroit, and several of Mr BGs ancestors the Murnanes hailed from Warrnambool way.

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum, which was the maritime equivalent of Sovereign Hill. It was a great way to explore the history of the shiwreck coast, and even nicer when the sun came out. The kids were given a checklist of things to look for which they loved to do. There were also school holiday  activities which involved them making vanilla slices to take home 🙂

 
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We visited Logan’s Beach a few times in an effort to catch a site of whales in the bay. The second time we visited we were lucky to catch a glimpse of some black dots in the ocean which weren’t surfers :). There is a Facebook page for people to check if there are any whales in the nursery.
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The highlight for me was the flying fox at the adventure playground. It was something I wanted to introduce the kids to, having been on it years ago. They loved zooming down the line, hooting as they sped along, though pulling it back up wasn’t so fun. I managed to have a go on the last day we were there and loved the sensation of flying through the air, carefree and without a worry in the world.

I think we’ll be back ☺