Most of Mornington Peninsula is farmland with loads of towns, beaches & bays to explore.
The Peninsula is also a popular holiday spot for Melbournites when the population can grow by 100,000 in peak seasons.
We visited Coolart Wetlands & its historical Homestead. Coolart is an 87 ha estate on the Western Port Coast (east side) of the peninsula near the village of Somers. The mansion was built in the late 1800's with gardens, an adjacent wetland & coastal woodlands walking tracks. Now owned & managed by Parks Victoria, this Reserve is open & popular for picnics, nature walks & birdwatching. It is a venue for weddings as well.
Coolart's land & buildings are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
A little further south was Balnarring & Balnarring Beach.
Balnarring Beach was a holiday destination for Rod's family as his grandparents owned a holiday home there, where the expended family would escape to for Christmas holidays.
The beach 1st began to attract holidaymakers in the 1910's, & beach stores & kiosks commenced operations for campers & day-trippers.
Balnaring Beach today consists primarily of holiday homes & camping grounds, with a general store, picnic facilities & several caravan parks.
and Balnarring Beach
This is all we could see of Rod's Grandparents holiday home. Rod says it appears to have changed a lot from the 1960's.
The beach that has been enjoyed by many generations of families, (no doubt minus the sea grass during the summer months, ) including Rod's family playing cricket on this beach.
There were no houses on that distant hill in the 1950's & 60's.
The general store obviously looks different, but is still in the same location.
After much reminiscing, we then explored further down the east coast of Mornington Peninsula around the town of Flinders. This is part of the most southern coastline of the peninsula - Flinders to Cape Schanck.
This is the memorial dedicated to the discovery of this part of the coastline by George Bass & Matthew Flinders in 1789.
More views from the Bass & Flinders monument.
West Head just near Flinders township.
Further south-west of Flinders is Cape Schanck, the southern most tip of Mornington Peninsula.
The prominent rock outcrop is Pulpit Rock which stands out at the very tip of the cape.
The lighthouse at Cape Schanck was built on 1859 & was the 2nd lighthouse built in Victoria.
We do some more driving around the peninsula.
Arthurs Seat is a hill & locality just south of Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula.
We explored the bush land with great views from this 314 m high hill overlooking Port Phillip Bay.
The seat has become quite a tourist attraction to the region, & I'm sure many a backside has been placed there for a photo shoot.......
We passed Enchanted Adventure Garden at Arthurs Seat. I was rather impressed with the front hedge. We didn't go in for any of the activities which consist of mazes, tube sliding & tree zip-lining.
We then followed a food & winery trail.
On recommendation we called into Port Phillip Winery. Their monumental external walls of limestone rammed earth that hides the buildings was telling us of something beyond.
The panoramic views over undulating vineyards & the sea are quite spectacular.
They specialise in Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, to say that they are expensive is an understatement.....Rod bought a single bottle to share & reminisce with his siblings when we got home of a past life at Balnarring. 1 of the cheaper wines on the list, but check out the wines description !
T share the $$, we chose to eat at another cafe in the hills along our spectacular drive.
We travelled further south to Sorrento near the narrowest & western end of the peninsula & visited the area.
Tomorrow we will be on that ferry from nearby Portsea to Kingscliffe that is on the western side of Port Phillip Bay.
Nearby is the Quarantine Hospital which had been set up following the arrival of a ship into Port Phillip Bay on the 5th November 1852. Over 100 passengers had died from Typhus, dysentery or measles with another 400 passengers seriously ill.
The historical precinct has almost 50 heritage listed buildings.
Shore near Sorrento.
The next day we're on the ferry Sorrento to Queenscliffe.
After disembarking at Queenscliffe we headed for Barwon Heads caravan park for a few days.
Cliffs at Barwon Heads
It's a long walk on the pier at Barwon Heads.
Cliffs Werribee South.
We moved south now along the coast again, & stayed at Anglesea beach front caravan park for 3 nights. We can hear the waves from our van, which is really peaceful.
This is quite a delight from the lookout.
Beach access from our caravan park
We also explore Airey's Inlet, just 12 kms away.
The lighthouse at Airey's Inlet / Split Point
In the gardens near the car park.
A little further along from Bells Beach.