Lots to update you with about our time on the Peninsula but first of all an update on the footwear situation. The purchase of new trainers (or runners to do it in Aussie speak) has caused some debate amongst our avid readers. Yes, Jon did actually purchase new trainers and yes they do look very similar to the old ones apart from a day-glow strip (which incidentally match very nicely his day-glow socks). But I can confirm, beyond all doubt that they are new ones and here is the proof……..
He has also beaten all previous records of wearing them in and looks very dashing in them. The usual timescale is around 6 months. At around the 2 month stage they are allowed out of the bag for re-lacing, followed by the occasional excursion but we were done and dusted within 24 hours. Hallelujah…….
Piers on the Peninsula
After all the excitement of our trips into Melbourne, we decided to have a few quieter days. The weather had turned a bit damp so nothing better than heading out to a wet and windy pier or two to face the bracing, choppy bay. We took a stroll north on the first day to Seaford Pier and then south on the second day to Frankston Pier.
Luckily for us, they both had lovely coffee shops with cake! Never having seen Hummingbird cake before, we opted for this and were not disappointed. We were told it was calorie free.
Our new healthy lifestyle dictates that we should compensate for treats by going for a nice long walk. Or alternatively, a trip to the cinema which better suited to the climatic conditions. The local cinema chain is Hoyts. Unbelievable, they have just upgraded all their seats to Gold Class.
After settling into our leather armchairs, reclining to the correct angle, discarding shoes and positioning the leg rests to suit our tired legs and full tummies, we watched Bridge of Spies. Initial concerns were that we may nod as it felt like being in bed but the film was too good for that and it is fully recommended. Inspired by a true story don’t you know. Feeling lazy we upped the pace for a brisk walk home. This was followed by watching the sunset on the beach but no little penguins this time to keep us company.
Picnic (and so much more) on the Peninsula
Sunday was a red letter day. We were meeting up with Shelagh and Brian for a day out. They kindly picked us up from our Airbnb place and from that moment on the day just got better and better. They had even arranged for perfect sunny weather with a light breeze. For those not in the know, Mornington Peninsula runs along the Eastern edge of Port Phillip Bay. So there is no confusion for non-Australian readers, this is no normal sized Peninsula. Officially it doesn’t start until you are 40 km out of Melbourne then runs for about 55 km to a very narrow point at Point Nepean. So the total road distance from Melbourne is around 95km. Not quite in the same league as Greenwich Peninsula then!
Our first stop off was Arthur’s Seat. This a hill of about 1000 ft which gives stunning views out over the bay and the Peninsula. Evidently the original indigenous name was Wonga which roughly translates to pigeon not “loadsa money”. The settlers decided it looked similar in shape to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh so duly renamed it.
From Arthur’s Seat we headed down to McCrae’s Homestead which sits between Dromana and Rosebud. It is a National Trust property and is one of Victoria’s oldest homesteads. It was built in 1844 by Andrew and Georgiana McCrae who purchased a few thousand acres of land round Arthur’s Seat. She was an artist, architect, mother and prolific diary keeper and basically a wonder woman. How one person managed to do fit what she did in puts me to shame. Unfortunately, her husband wasn’t quite so industrious or talented and after some financial difficulty they had to move to Melbourne after only 7 years. After some time in the museum and gallery we were taken through for a tour of the home. It was in amazing condition and full of the original furniture which had been donated to the National Trust by the McCrae’s descendants. Shame more visitors don’t find this little gem.
So much history – I was in my element but there was even more to come. Each stop was taking us further and further down the Peninsula and our next port of call was the Quarantine Station. If you have read our previous blogs this was similar to the one in Sydney Harbour but on a much bigger scale. This one came into operation following the arrival of the ship Ticonderoga in 1852 from Liverpool. It was overcrowded, not suitable for passage of this sort, with many small children on board and sanitary provisions totally inadequate. During the voyage over 100 passengers of the 795 died of typhus. The ship was moored off of Point Nepean and the headland was turned into a quarantine station. On arrival there were another 400 ill passengers and 70 more deaths occurred. Hurried burials took place in shallow graves. The Quarantine Station was converted in 1952 for use as an Army Officer Cadet School and is now kept as a museum.
Cars are only allowed a certain way down towards the end of the Peninsula so after a very “up market” picnic which included Branston pickle and a Kabana (spicy sausage), we took the bus down to Point Nepean which is also called Fort Nepean due to it’s previous military use. Barracks were built at the Point as early as 1873 with guns located there from 1886 to serve as colony coastal defences for the relatively small entrance into Port Phillip Bay. We looked around all the gun emplacements, tunnels and of course the stunning views from this fantastic vantage point. It is a really rugged coast line and view of the Rip (currents) at the entrance to the bay would scare even a sea dog of the salty type.
As usual I kept everyone waiting, reading every plaque I could but this was unnecessary because our Tour Host had already given us all the facts we needed to know. Plaques and signs were not needed to tell us that the first shots of both World War I and II were both fired from the this location. Shelagh had already told us all about this….. Brilliant fact.
What a day! We had seen so much but there was more. After a walk at Ocean Beach to see London Bridge rock formation (see photo) and a couple of bride and grooms braving the surf to get scenic photos, we headed to Fish Fetish for a fish and chip take away which we managed to get most of the way through on Sorrento beach being stalked by chip loving seagulls. Perfect weather, perfect location and perfect company.
Then it was the majestic drive back up the Nepean Highway to our temporary home. Although we did have to fit in one more quick stopover at Mount Martha beach to see the colourful beach huts and glimpse another breathtaking sunset.
As usual my post has ended up much longer that intended but nothing could be left out I’m afraid. The only omission being the incident of forgetting a knife for the picnic but I promised Shelagh and Brian I wouldn’t mention that so it isn’t a problem.
With rosy cheeks, massive thanks and big hugs we said farewell again to our friends again for a few weeks while we are off on the Great Victorian Road Trip. More updates on that (and the trainers) soon.
5.11 – 8.11.2015