Geelong, The Great Ocean Road and Victorian Coastline

Geelong | The Great Ocean Road | Victorian Coastline

‘Cafe Bear & Scoobs’

DT@Cafe Bear & Scoobs - North Geelong#

On the way to Cafe Bear & Scoobs I pass a Sphinx with a bottle shop underneath:  unusual to say the least, but an interesting gimmick for a pub. This part of town feels slightly ‘light industrial’ and I am surprised to find a cafe with giant teddy bears sitting at either side of the entrance in this part of town. I wonder what the guys in hi-vis clothing think? It doesn’t seem to bother them, because by the look of all the food coming out of the kitchen, and all the yummy cakes in the cabinet, I understand why. It’s a motley bunch of customers: with groups of women in exercise wear chatting over coffees and solo diners reading the paper. All I can say is that whoever owns the cafe knows a thing or two about how a Devonshire Tea should be. The scones are incredibly fresh, creamy and absolutely delicious. The organic strawberry jam is tart and absolutely fabulous, and a long way from the sickly sweet strawberry jams that are often on offer in cafes. The lashings of double thick cream is a nice addition and really tops off an already superb spread. The teddy biscuits with the tea are a nice touch.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A selection of Tea Forte pyramid tea bags served with a huge tea cup of hot water and beautifully presented on it’s own tray.

Price: $$

Overall: A huge space with a delectable scone, jam and cream spread.

Location: 18 Thompson Rd, North Geelong VIC 3215 Ph: 0408 290 298 cafebearandscoobs.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2019


‘The Teahouse’

DT@The Teahouse - Geelomng Botaical Gardens

The first time I try to visit The Teahouse, it’s 37 degrees with easterly winds so strong that they close the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Ten days later, I try again when it’s 12 degrees and wet, but luckily all is open. Established in 1851, the Geelong Botanic Gardens are the fourth oldest botanic garden in Australia! Located in a fenced off area in the expansive Eastern Park in East Geelong, the Geelong Botanic Gardens is a quiet escape from whatever is going on on the other side of the fence. The simple teahouse sits in a shady spot with shaded outdoor seating. There is very little room in the actual teahouse for much seating, so it’s ideal in fine weather. Tea and scones is the only way to finish off a stroll through the gardens. At first glance, the scone looks very sad, and although it tastes fresh and creamy, it’s hard to have a really good look as the scone arrives already dressed. The cafe is very generous with the whipped cream, which is lathered over the average strawberry jam. The whole thing tastes better than it looks but I think $10 is a couple of dollars too much for what you get. The little cookie on the cup is a nice touch.

Scones:  

Jam:  

Cream:

Tea: A range of Tea Drop pyramid teabags served in a small teapot and with a proper China cup.

Price: $$

Overall: A beautiful public garden with a simple tea house, suitable in fine weather.

Location: Geelong Botanic Gardens, Botanic Pl, East Geelong VIC 3219 Ph: 0413 706 535 friendsgbg.org.au

Reviewed in November, 2019


‘Lightkeeper’s Kitchen’

We’re staying at the old Head Lighthouse Keepers House at Cape Otway, which has, through the tiny window, a view of Australia’s oldest surviving lightstation. Built in 1848 from sandstone quarried at the nearby Parker River, the lightstation was the first sight of land for thousands of immigrants after months at sea. It gets busy during the day as many Great Ocean Road day tours drop in for a visit or for lunch at the cafe. The Lightkeeper’s Kitchen has a million dollar view from the enclosed verandah, straight down to the lightstation and Bass Strait beyond. The fresh scones are served with your standard strawberry jam and a small amount of thick cream. Our two-night stay package included two Devonshire Teas, so I got to enjoy them twice. A fabulous option is to stay overnight, as the area is different minus the crowds.

Scones:  

Jam:  

Cream:  

Tea: A small pot of hot water to accompany a teabag and several choices of tea.

Price: $$

Overall: A cream tea with a magical view is not a thing to miss.

Location: Cape Otway Lightstation, Otway Lighthouse Rd, Cape Otway VIC 3233 Ph: 03 5237 9240 lightstation.com

Reviewed in August, 2011


‘The Lighthouse Tea Rooms’

DT@The Lighthouse Tea Rooms#2

Along with my Devonshire Tea fetish, I must admit I have a penchant for lighthouses, and when I can combine the two I’m like a kid in a candy store. Not as isolated as Cape Otway Lightstation further along the Great Ocean Road, Split Point Lighthouse has high visitation due to its proximity to Melbourne. The lighthouse is visible from the highway and only a few minute deviation. After parking in the nearby car park, approach the lighthouse on foot passing the former lighthouse stables, which is now The Lighthouse Tea Rooms. With friendly staff, a cosy indoor eating space and plenty of refectory-style benches in a lovely garden, it’s ideal for watching the endless trail of visitors traipsing up to the lighthouse. It’s late in the day when I visit and I get in just before closing time. According to the sign out front, the Tea Rooms are famous for their scones. The scones are small, a perfect size for a snack rather than a meal, but are a tad bit microwaved. A shame I’m not here at opening time to grab a super fresh one. The raspberry jam is rich and fruity and the cream is thickly whipped. All in all it’s pretty good. Combine your visit with a 45-minute tour of the lighthouse or wander along the dramatic Great Ocean Road coastline.

Scones:  

Jam:  

Cream:  

Tea: An interesting range of loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: The ideal location for tea and scones.

Location: Split Point Lighthouse, 7 Federal St, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231 Ph: 0444 530 399

Reviewed in November, 2019


‘Charlie’s On East’

DT@Charlie's on East - Port Fairy

A visit to Port Fairy is not complete without checking out the beaches. And what beaches! The white sand and turquoise waters of East Beach goes on forever, and in good weather there is no other place you want to be. Perched above the East Beach Surf Club sits Charlie’s On East, a simple cafe that feeds off its prime surfside position. Perhaps prime real estate on one of Australia’s most famous and beautiful coastlines doesn’t warrant friendly service or maybe I am just unlucky and the waitress is having a bad day. I arrive just in time to nab the last scone, and from my later investigations in Port Fairy, I think the last scone in the whole town. One scone is enough as it is huge. It tastes much better than it looks and is fresh with a hint of vanilla. The average strawberry jam is acceptable but doesn’t do the scone any favours, but the double thick cream is a saviour. Try for a table out on the balcony for views of superb East Beach.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A range of Tea Drop tea silk tea bags served in a three-quarters filled tiny teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Fantastic endless views of East Beach and beyond.

Location: 4 Hughes Ave, Port Fairy VIC 3284 Ph: 03 5568 2885

Reviewed in November, 2019


‘Margaret & Agnes’

DT@MArgaret & Agnes - Portland

I’m in town with another 4,000 hungry cyclists, and food in cafes is disappearing like hotcakes after today’s long ride. At Margaret & Agnes I spy the pile of date scones on the counter and the friendly staff offer to put a scone aside for me so I can catch a few shops before they close. How nice is that? The date scone is huge, and I only need one. As it’s a date scone, it’s served with a few sachets of butter as well as the jam and cream. It’s over-microwaved and ends up being a bit dry around the edges. Straight out the oven or earlier in the day, the scone would be amazing – shame. The two sachets of strawberry jam are pathetic, but the double thick cream somewhat saves it. In fine weather grab one of the outdoor tables.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A basic range of loose-leaf tea served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A bright and welcoming cafe located along the waterfront strip of businesses.

Location: 73 Bentinck St, Portland VIC 3305 Ph: 03 5548 4768 facebook.com

Reviewed in November, 2019


‘Port of Call’
DT@Port of Call - Portland#

Not as enticing as many of the other towns along Victoria’s coastline, Portland perched on the southwest coast is undeniably a working port town. The site of Victoria’s first permanent European settlement is reminiscent of a British seaside town; cool and blustery with an old fishing port vibe. Port of Call cafe feels like an old- fashioned fish and chip/hamburger place that has been transformed into a cafe with a chippie on the side. It’s quite cavernous inside with long refectory style tables lining the footpath out front. In cooler weather, grab a table in one of the two dining areas or a seat along the window counter for a view of the port. There is a mound of plain and date scones sitting on the counter. I try a plain scone, which is small and a bit dry. I must admit that it is late in the day and perhaps if I were here this morning it may have been a different story. The strawberry jam is ordinary but good enough, and the dollop of double cream is rich and rewarding. Wander about town, as there are some lovely old heritage buildings and remnants of the whaling station it once was.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A basic range of Tea Pigs loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A great location overlooking the port and the park.

Location: 73 Bentinck St, Portland VIC 3305 Ph: 03 5548 4768 facebook.com

Reviewed in November, 2019

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