On the road for the Footy Almanac


by Richard Naco

Cometh the September school holidays, cometh the family holiday in September.  Always the wrong time of the year, always taking me away at Grand Final time.  (Last year it was as far away as New Zealand, which is a lovely bit of countryside but hardly AFL heartland.)


Except this year.


Original plans were for west coast USA to be our destination of choice, then this morphed into the Top End.  But now – and may Max Rooke bless my wife’s changed work roster – it seems we’re now going on the Grand Tour of Victoria instead.  (If we hadn’t already booked & paid for the tickets, a day trip to Blacktown was a viable possibility! 8o )


[Happy Face!]


We shall arrive at Tullamarine very early on Sunday 25/9, collect hire car and drive to Bendigo for a couple of days, then down to Ballarat for more of the same.  The (highly flexible & far more bleu monge than concrete) plan is that we then head south west to Port Fairy & then slowly east along the Great Ocean Road.  The only request from my wife is for us to see Victoria sans Melbourne this time around.


Which brings me to my first question: is the Great Ocean Road as amazing heading east as it so obviously appears to be going west?  Everybody raves about it as they head towards Mt Gambier, but I’m yet to encounter a single reference to anybody going east along it & actually writing about it.


We should, all things working out ok, lob in to Geelong by late Friday (or Saturday morning at the latest).


How very fortunate!


Second question: assuming that the Cats make the GF (and West Coast are a legitimate obstacle to overcome in order for that to happen), what’s the go watching the game in the Holy Town (specifically at the Temple That Art Kardinia Park)?  And – even bigger ‘if’ – what then happens IF the Cats triumph?  Where & when do the official celebrations take place (I’m thinking Sunday at lunchtime at The Holiest of Holies, but have no idea re the street parade on the Monday or Tuesday)?


Our plan from here is that in between (hopefully) GF Day and Tuesday, we’ll do the rounds of the Bellerine from our Geelong base before flying back to Sydney from Avalon on the 4th (which just happens to be my 54th birthday, and coincidentally to the very minute, the 54th anniversary of the launching of the first satellite to orbit the earth, making my astrological cliché Libra with Space Junk rising).


Last question (almost, it transpired): are any of you lot going to be around The Place on or about Grand Final weekend?  I’m still yet to meet a single ‘nacker.  Let alone a Geelong one!


So, as many of you are familiar with where we are looking at going, what are the ‘must do’s’ and the ‘avoid-at-all costs’ for our planned nomadic shuffle?


(Ta muchly!)

About Richard Naco

We are Geelong.


  1. Richard,

    I had some Tassy friends who wached the 2007 GF in Geelong. My son and I were able to get seats.

    They went to the ground but the weather was poor so they went back into town and found a comfy seat in a pub.

    They said the streets were deserted but at quarter, half and three quarter time people came out of pubs and etc and kicked the footy in the main street.

    When the final siren sounded they said the town went nuts.

    We arrived on the train at about eight and the town was going nutser. It went nutser till the early hours and started again at the footy ground next day.

    I can highly recommend being in Geloong on the night of a winning GF.

  2. I must note that we are a long way from winning but you have to take risks some times.

  3. Andrew Fithall says:


    I note that you are yet to see a “knacker” in its natural environment. Now this is going to take some negotiation with your family, and some courage, but according to the Lonely Planet guide, at this time of the year, depending on the rains and food availability, large numbers of knackers have been known to seek out the feed and watering hole known as the Clyde. A recent observation is that on the last Friday in September The Clyde, located in Parkville, has a strange attraction for Knackers. It wouldn’t be mating season – there has never been an official recording of this gathering ever resulting in…. oh never mind, we might leave that topic just there. There is however, an abundance of food and drink and good knacker company. Of the annual gatherings, there is only one larger event, and that is not until November.


  4. Clearsighted says:

    I’m too superstitious to discuss the possibility of you know what.
    However, as one who was born and raised on the Bellarine Peninsula, the geography of certain landmarks is well known to me.
    Head out the Portarlington Road.
    As a Geelong fan, Rick, you will of course worship at the altar of Max Rooke. Last I heard, he was raising a young family and involved in viticulture somewhere near Drysdale. Without getting into weird stalking territory here, a discreet question asked at the Drysdale Newsagency or pub (like, “Does Max Rooke live around here?’ or even, “Where’s Maxie these days?”) could lead you to a sighting.
    From Drysdale, drive on to Portarlington. Off the main drag, right down on the water’s edge by the old jetty, is a former beach kiosk turned into a Spanish Restaurant. Quiet, great food and the kids can play in the sand and water only metres away, while you and your wife enjoy another glass of Shriraz de Max.
    The Ocean Road is magnificent whichever way you travel but, as you will be heading towards the Town itself, one suspects that the journey from west to east will carry a heightened sense of anticipation.
    The Sawyers Arms, on the Moorabool St side of Kardinia Park, is a cosy, Cat supporter friendly, family pub. Great meals.
    Billy Brownless’ pub of preference is the Valley Inn, which is on the other side of KP, just up the hill from the Barwon River and Landy Field.
    The Lord of the Isles is another pub frequented by both the faithful and ex-players.
    As Phantom has stated, KP houses a screen for viewing the GF.
    Let’s hope the Cats are playing that day – the only team in the top four whose mascot is not feathered.

  5. Richard – if Geelong wins the GF and you’re in Geelong you won’t have to wander where the party is. It will be everywhere.

    Great Ocean Road heading east is still magnificent. Problems arise when you hit Anglesea – what a bottle neck. Stop in Apollo Bay and take in the Otway Ranges. Beautiful place.

  6. Yay! Hopefully Geelong can make the Grand Final so you get to have the full experience, Richard!

    If Geelong makes the Grand Final, the ground formerly known as Skilled gets up a big screen in the middle of the turf. People can bring picnic blankets and chairs or hop a squat on the ground, otherwise there are seats up in the stadium.

    Otherwise, as Phantom suggested, practically every pub in the area (of which there are many) will have it going.

    And if Geelong does happen to win, make your leisurely way into the CBD (about a five min walk from Kardinia Park) and the street party and motorcade will be in full swing.

    And win, lose or draw, Sunday morning/noon-ish time will see the Cats post-season family day at Kardinia Park (to the best of my knowledge). Check the local legendary paper (The Geelong Advertiser) for more details closer to the date ;)

    And do yourself a favour while cruising the surf coast – if Geelong DOES happen to overcome finals rival WCE, buy a copy of the Addy each day – never will you see such beautiful media coverage for the Pivotonians :D

  7. Peter Flynn says:

    The Great Ocean Road begins at Torquay but doesn’t kick in until about Anglesea.

    Phantom and Clearsighted report accurately.

  8. Don’t expect to see the Cats on GF night if they win. They’ll probably go to Crown Casino in Melbourne. But that won’t stop the carnival-e that will appear in Moorabool Street and Malop Street.

  9. Lots of good suggestions from Susie et al. One thing she forgot to mention about the Geelong Advertiser. If the Cats make the GF, make sure you buy the Friday’s Special Premiership Wraparound Edition. You know the one with the “3 Premierships in 5 Years” special pullout poster in the middle.
    If unfortunately the Cats lose this weekend then here is an accommodation tip. Don’t rent for the week, you will be able to buy property outright more cheaply that week. Ring “Harms, Phantom & O’Donnell Realtors” as they will be doing great deals on deceased estate property sales in the aftermath of a Cat loss in the Prelim. Gotta pay those bills before the bookies send the bikies around to collect.
    Have a great holiday.

  10. Haha, poor Addy – they’re never going to live that down! Apparently the decision was made by non-Geelong folk to do up that 30 wins poster.

    There’s no need for a pre-emptive Friday poster – if the Cats make the Grand Final, win, lose or draw a special edition of the paper comes out on the Sunday dedicated to the game. There’ll be posters aplenty in that ;-)

  11. Peter,

    ABC docco last Sunday night 9and this Sunday at 6.00pm). Monkfish. Why do I think of you?

  12. As someone who lives in Drysdale I can confirm the Max Rooke sightings.

    Met him today,

    He is shorter that I imagined.

  13. Richard, sounds a grand plan!

    Re the Great Ocean Road from west to east, I drove Swedish friends from Port Campbell to Geelong a few years ago. I was glimpsing magnificent scenery in my rear vision mirror as I drove along and constantly implored my visitors to turn around! I was also driving on the inside (land side) of the road, which in places has a peculiar adverse camber; and is also the wrong side for stopping at lookouts. We still had a great time, but my choice if we did that trip again would be from east to west. (ocean side)

    Airey’s Inlet (Frank Costa country) has an amazing cliff top walk, and the lighthouse would most likely be open to climb, being school holidays. Fantastic views of the coastline.

    Grand Final parades are usually (!!!) on the Wednesday; this one would finish at the waterfront (should we make it this year!) There would be heaps going on before then, though, as others have posted. IfFwe win the Prelim, the town SHOULD be decked in blue and white in Grand Final Week.

    And Grand Final Night in Geelong is not to be missed…..a massive street party, high fives and hugs all round!
    That would cap off a truly memorable holiday! GO CATS!!!

  14. Richard Naco says:

    Many thanks for all of the generous advice on this thread. One direct result of actually taking suggestions from here is that we’re now opting to do the Great Ocean Road from east to west & then scooting back to the Holy Town from Warrnambool via Colac on the Friday.

    After I’ve sent this, it’ll be on to the packing, with all of my navy blue +/or feline motif clobber now ensured a place in the suit case after today’s triumph (which I was never banking on till 3/4 time).

    All we need now is a dry day in order to watch it on the Sacred Turf, and I’ll be one very happy li’l black duck.

    (Very Happy Face!!!)

  15. Sadly, it appears the game will not be shown at Skilled Stadium this year due to the redevelopment. I’ve heard talk to the effect it is being shown at the Geelong Waterfront (a lovely place just 3 mins by car from Skilled Stadium).

    More details to follow – check the Addy, the Cats webpage, keep your ears open for confirmation/more details ;)

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