Queenscliff is a town on the southern end of the Bellarine Peninsula, near where Port Phillip Bay enters Bass Strait.
Queenscliff has a lovely small-town feel to it, even though it’s only a half hour’s drive from Geelong. There is a very real sense of leaving the rat-race behind and stepping into a friendlier, more relaxing existence.
It is a town with lovely old buildings and churches, and a wide main street lined with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, including two ice-cream parlours, two old-fashioned candy stores and — best of all — two book shops!
On the cliff above the beach is a lighthouse built from local basalt in 1881, and a historic fort that is still in use as the base of the Air Force Cadets.
There are some great spots to sit and watch the boats, including the ferry to Sorrento at the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula, just across the bay.
It really is a delightful spot, and I am already keen to visit again.
Albuquerque was established in 1706 as an important south-western outpost.
Some of the town’s early character and Native American influence has been maintained in the “old town” sector. The streets surrounding the old town square are home to shops, restaurants, museums and galleries. Most of the buildings are stucco and painted in assorted shades of terracotta, yellow and brown with accents usually in white or turquoise.
There is some beautiful jewellery and artwork created by Navajo and Zuni artisans for sale at quite reasonable prices. There are also some more individual pieces that are more expensive and unique, for those with a budget that allows them to be more discerning. Of course, there are also the cheap, junky “souvenirs” that come from assorted places across the seas.
It’s true enough that, as the saying goes, there is always something for everyone.
I refuse to come to a place like this and buy things that come from someplace else. For me, it’s important to support the economy and people of the local area. I want to take home something that has something of the character of the place I have visited.
The old town of Albuquerque has plenty of character. The people are very friendly and apparently don’t have many Australians visiting here. They were all very enthusiastic about our “cool accent”.
The shops are all quite different even though they sell similar types of things.
The Church of San Felipe de Neri is prominent in this part of town. It has been beautifully maintained and still operates as a working church. It offers visitors a place for prayer or reflection as well as the freedom to take photographs as long as it’s done respectfully.
The restaurants offer mostly Mexican food, as is only to be expected. We had lunch at Hacienda del Rio. The decor was very attractive and the restaurant was clean and well maintained. Tables did not remain messy for very long at all.
The waiter was very friendly and attentive. In response to my food allergies, the chef was more than happy to create my meal using only wheaten tortillas and no corn at all. I had a chicken fajita salad in a crispy tortilla bowl. The salad was fresh and crisp; the chicken and the salsa were both feisty. The combination was sensational.
We also had sopapilla – a warm, dense bread eaten with warm honey. I had never had that before, but really enjoyed it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day I spent in this part of town. I will leave Albuquerque with some very happy recollections as well as some beautiful locally crafted souvenirs.