Our next family has $500 and David assures us they not only spend it wisely, they have money left over!
Here we go on another family weekend with $500 to spend. This week we are in Victoria at the beachside village of Lorne, one of the most popular spots on the Great Ocean Road along Victoria's surf coast. It really buzzes in summer and there are plenty of activities for everyone to occupy themselves with.
More than 100 years ago, Lorne was the first Victorian place declared an area of special significance and natural beauty. In the timber-cutting days of the 1850s it was known as the squatters Riviera and has lost none of its physical appeal. It is on the Erskine River estuary and has a backdrop formed by the heavily-wooded Otway Ranges. Its beaches are wonderful for swimming, surfing, fishing or just wandering along the shipwreck walk. The 22,000ha Angahook-Lorne State Park hugs the coast and flows back into the ranges, providing a mix of secluded coves and bays, walking trails leading to waterfalls, valleys and ridges.
Lorne is a comfortable 136km drive from Melbourne and one tank of petrol should get you there and back. The inspiring scenery along the way gets everyone in holiday mood.
The Forsyth family chose to stay at Lorne Foreshore Cabins. These are public reserve and managed on behalf of the Crown. There are campsites and caravans there, as well as cabins, ranging from basic to deluxe. It is walking distance from the heart of town and a stroll to shops, beach, pier, restaurants and walks to the shipwreck and state park.
The self-contained cabin the family stayed in are fully self-contained, with kitchen, colour television, double bed, bunks, ensuite bathroom. Guests supply their own bedding and towels. There are barbecues, laundry facilities and playgrounds. Accommodation cost for two nights is $180.
The budget allows for one night eating in and one night out. The supermarket near the cabins can provide snacks, milk, bread, deli items and liquor. Of course, some travellers pack their own breakfast provisions, fruit, soft drinks and other bits and pieces to cut down on spending.
The Lorne Ovenhouse is a Mediterranean-style café and serves wood-fired pizzas with gourmet toppings, pasta and risotto. Eighty dollars was allowed for dinner there and everyone was satisfied.
If you had some luck catching fish, you could have a seafood barbecue. If not, a visit to the fish co-op and $20 worth of fresh seafood will provide more than enough delicious food.
There are picnic spots with views galore in Lorne. Some have barbecues, so you could cook your lunch or maybe buy a barbecued chicken and bread rolls.
Activities which are free of course include going to the beach. Loutitt Bay has a gentle surf and is safe for swimming. Shelly Beach past the jetty is ideal for families, too. There are pretty shells to fossick for and little crabs scurry across the sand. Bushwalks are enjoyable and a number of them lead to waterfalls where you can have a quick dip. A stroll along Mountjoy Parade doing some window shopping is a pleasant way to pass the time.
Paddleboats can be rented at the kiosk from LORNch. They cost $10 for 20 minutes, seat three and a paddle along the Erskine River to the swing bridge is something everyone enjoys.
You can fish from the Lorne Pier, but anyone over 18 years old needs a licence. These cost $5 at the Tourist Information Centre and you need to take your own gear. There are plenty of snapper, bream and salmon in the surrounding waters.
In summer months a trampoline is set up on the foreshore and a 10-minute bounce costs $2.50.