Sunday, 17 June 2012

Mornington Peninsula and the Dandenongs

We are lucky enough to have friends and family living in the Mornington Peninsula to the south of the city, and also the Dandenongs which is a wooded range of mountains to the east of Melbourne.  This has meant some very enjoyable jaunts out of town!

The Mornington Peninsula is a lovely part of the world.  It reminded me slightly of Long Island, NY which we visited last year.  Our friends in the Peninsula took us on a wonderful drive right down to the bottom where we had a wander along the beach.  It was a beach of small black pebbles with a sprinkling of shells.  I was sorry to discover that you are not permitted to pick up shells from the beaches in Australia, let alone take them out of the country, but there were some types I haven't seen before and I enjoyed the running waves!
We stopped in the village of Flinders which is a very pretty little place with a couple of excellent cafes - we visited one and I can report really good cake.  There are a few nice shops too.  Here's Tree, with it's rather whacky front porch sporting red rags - they were rather lovely actually!

There was also a small chocolate factory, Mornington Peninsula Chocolates, with some very yummy wares in their glorious sweet smelling shop!

Another shop had these lovely grasses growing outside.  I've seen these in quite a few places and think they are very pretty.  I must have a look and see if I can find them when I get home.
We drove back along the coast and stopped by this beach.  It really is a beautiful coastline.  
with wonderful waves.
We also made a brief stop at one of the many vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula.  There are many good wines from this part of the world.  The Port Phillip Estate was extremely impressive. Very beautiful and immaculately kept, and the views from the deck were spectacular, especially with the late autumn colours in the vines.  There was also a very sophisticated bar and restaurant. It was a very impressive place.
We drove to the top of Arthur's Seat!  We know the Edinburgh version well - the view from this one was a little different with Melbourne sitting mistily in the distance.
The next day we saw Melbourne again from across the water.  This time the waves were not so much running as crashing!
The Dandenong Ranges offer a very different landscape.  They are heavily wooded mountains - quite modest mountains but the gum trees are gigantic!
Can you see the tiny wee person at the foot of the tree?

We walked through the National Rhodedendron Gardens near Olinda which were really beautiful with lots of different trees as well as the stunning tree ferns and wonderful Autumn colour.

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