This part of the trip was more devoted to family and friends than for any other purpose – like having a holiday.
Whilst it is always great to catch up with family and friends, it is not always a part of a trip that is envisaged at the start of the trip preparation phase.
Basically, we planned our trip, and then worked out a way of “fitting in” our family and friends. Sounds crass and uncaring, but this really wasn’t part of the holiday for me, and my passenger was along for the ride. Without disrespecting our families we wanted to include them in our trip but not at the expense of the trip.
Fortunately, we could do that, resulting in a nice trip down to Sorrento, for a coffee in that lovely little shopping village.
Where did we stay in Melbourne?
Actually, we had a few options but the one which best fitted our plans was the worst for our family duties, shall I call them!
Our determination to capture stories from various parts of the country included a visit to the Mornington Peninsula, a majestic place with a character all of its own!
Accordingly, we chose the Frankston BIG4, and I must say, it has improved since my last visit there 5 years or so ago.
Other locations, included a BIG4 in Coburg but that put us in a compromise situation, closer to family and further from the Mornington Peninsula but the advantages were negated somewhat by the difficulty in driving through Melbourne traffic to get to see family.
What a contrasting place, wineries inland slightly are plentiful, complemented by other farming activities. The coastline is littered with housing, taking away from the natural beauty of the pace, only slightly though.
Camping along the foreshore most of the way down the coastline is closely controlled, as many thousands of people want to enjoy the lovely quiet beaches of the bay.
On the other side of the Peninsula is the ocean beaches open to the ravages of nature including BIG seas, can smash the unsuspecting person into rocks or straight onto the beach. Many people have really enjoyed their time surfing along these beaches.
At the very bottom end of the Peninsula is a reserve for all to see and enjoy, however there is an entry fee and no animals are allowed inside.
This ruled us out, as we had a domestic cat, which according to the locals are the worst of the “human pet brigade”.
This is a very quick snapshot of the Peninsula but one last word on this area: Arthur’s Seat.
This is not a particularly “big” hill, but the road up is twisty and gnarly, frequenting many “back to first gear episodes” for us.
The view from the top, is wonderful, a bit more “commercialised” than many years ago but nonetheless, a wonderful place to visit. And the “chair lift” from the top to the bottom is a memorable ride, one worth trying. Many years ago, during my first visit we tried the “chair lift” and it is sufficient to say that the ride is far less “scary” than in the past. It is really easy to enjoy the ride, one of the better benefits of modern times!
As our time in Melbourne ran out we did a quick run out to Sassafras in the Dandenongs, an area describing a beautiful part of Melbourne with a very strong rain forest appeal.
Even on quiet days, the Dandenongs are very busy, often having to queue at coffee shops for a coffee on weekends, during the week is usually a bit easier.
We were there on a weekend, quite busy, and only had a quick look around.
There are numerous gift shops with all kind of local memorabilia, many coffee shops each with something unique to offer and you will be doing yourself a disservice if you go there and miss out on a coffee.
Our time was up and we needed to head out for dinner with friends.
Time to leave Melbourne
Our time had come, I was very pleased to move back into the country as I had seen enough of the BIG smoke! However, my travelling partner enthused about “everything” Melbourne and cannot wait until they can get back to check out all the little things!
Their main levels of interest were in the lane-ways and back streets of Melbourne, the restaurant culture of Lygon St in Carlton and allowing time for a much grander look at the Dandenongs.