We were on the way to the historical Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet along the famous and scenic Great Ocean Road when we spotted the Willows Tea House sign. I love stopping by at quaint and charming buildings and Willows Tea House definitely looked lovely and cute from the outside so we made a note to visit on the way out from the lighthouse.
Willows Tea House is located about a few minutes walk from the lighthouse. The lighthouse, also known as "The White Queen" by locals, can be explored through a 45 minute guided tour to find out more about its cultural connections, the marine sanctuary and maritime responsibility as well as the engineering associated with the lighthouse. If you are a movie buff, the tall, imposing and majestic lighthouse was the famous setting for the television series "Round The Twist".
Constructed in late 1890, the lighthouse was built due to shipwrecks along the coast with cement-rendered concrete, crushed rock, cast iron stairs and balustrades. Most people visit though, for the spectacular sweeping 360 degree views of the coastal vistas as well as the beautiful Eagle rock located next to the lighthouse.
During summer (December 26 to January 29), tours begin on the hour at 10am-4pm daily. At other times, regular tour hours are between 11am-2pm. The tour guides are knowledgeable, having attended an Australian Maritime Safety Authority training course and they currently maintain a level 2 First Air or above.
After our stint at being a tourist, it was time to relax at the Willows Tea House, housed in a homely English-style cottage. There is a relaxed beach feel to the café with friendly service. The range of food to choose from includes leaf tea, creamy milk smoothies, homemade cakes, scrumptious muffins and scones, as well as delicious coffee. There is also a brunch menu if you would like something a little heavier.
Next to the ordering counter, souvenirs and gifts are available to purchase and browse through while waiting for your order. The items available definitely looked inviting with reasonably priced dresses, colourful bags and scarves as well as handmade local gifts.
Inside the cafe, decorations and pictures on the wall are homely and inviting. On a cold winter's day, you can retreat to a warm space by a cosy fire in a small, comfortable space. As it was a warm summer's day, we headed outside where they had nice wooden tables, cute little chairs, colourful potted plants and fixtures set out on the lawn, giving the place a rustic countryside look. While waiting for your order, you can look out at the lighthouse and the panoramic scenic views beyond.
We ordered mochachinos and lattes, which was delicious, frothy and came in a pretty homely mug with marshmallows on the side. Definitely stop by at this cafe if you want to feel pampered but also right at home. You will be treated as a treasured guest, as if you are just visiting a friendly friend at the countryside.
Visit Willows Tea House at 7 Federal Street, Aireys Inlet Victoria 3231.