My second instalment of our Victorian trip is an insight into the Mornington Peninsula. Following a wet, cold and windy introduction into the Peninsula, we woke up the next day to a beautiful fresh sunny morning in Rye. A sleepy beachside town in winter, Rye is a hive of activity and full of people migrating from Melbourne during the warm summer months. Today we just wandered down the street and dove into a warm cafe with a sun drenched window to wake up and consume some yummy breakfast.
Our plan was to head up the west coast to the town of Mornington and check out the weekly Wednesday street markets, followed by a coastal drive including Arthur’s Seat and further south to Sorrento and Portsea, just driving and exploring - nothing too structured. For once we had no deadlines to meet!
I took the opportunity to test out a new piece of equipment I am contemplating getting - a Smartdrive. It’s a powered wheel that gets attached to the back of the manual wheelchair and a watch controls it via bluetooth with my arm and hand movements. I had tried it back at Mogo Wheelchairs a couple of weeks earlier and loved it.
We attached it and set my chair up ready to surf the small crowds and check out the stalls, a mixture of artsy handcrafted items, fashion and some fresh produce from the local area. The settings on my Smartdrive were a bit faster than the ones I’d tested on back in Sydney. Navigating the crowds made it a bit more challenging and totally confirmed that running it at 70% power was the go. (More reading of the manual required!) After a few near misses and some purchases including organic locally grown raspberries and stained glass butterflies for my garden, we headed off to Arthur’s Seat.
When we got there we spotted Arthurs Seat Eagle, a state of the art newly built gondola taking you up and down the mountainside to get a birds eye view of the peninsula. I couldn’t resist, I had to do it even though the winds had picked up. The adrenaline junky in me likes a challenge! We drove up the windy path to Arthur’s Seat and navigated up the ramped pathway to the box office. No timed bookings taken but best of all, totally wheelchair accessible and off I went on the 14 minute ride down the mountain.
Spectacular views to the coastline and beautiful bushland all around, the gondola was surprisingly stable and I was well protected from the howling winds. Dave met me at the bottom with the car and we continued on south to the more affluent suburbs of Sorrento and Portsea. This is where the other half live. Well manicured gardens and palatial sized properties with private beaches and upmarket stores was the flavour of this end of town.
We headed back to Rye for some dinner. The local pub has been renovated and sports a modern gourmet menu. Not your cheap pub food, but nicely executed. That was last night’s choice, tonight we decided to check out the local RSL Club. A very large choice of buffet food to complement the daily roasts and also a decent a la carte menu, the club was partly renovated and full of peninsula locals.
The next day was a lazy day, the weather was a little overcast with moments of bright sunshine. We headed towards the east coast of the peninsula this time. Complete eye candy weaving through Red Hill countryside passing wineries and local farms that were amazingly well kept and manicured - it all just looked so pretty. We went to Hastings to check out another street market but sadly this was nowhere near the calibre of the one in Mornington - more of a carpark boot sale! We didn’t even bother getting out and headed south instead towards The Cups Estate winery in Fingal for lunch instead.
A delicious degustation of the chef’s best dishes and the absolute highlight was the Syrah red wine and finishing the meal with Sfinci, Sicilian donuts that will definitely get me back there in a heartbeat! We continued east along the coastal road to Cape Schanck and then turned back to revisit some of our favourites - Portsea, Sorrento and Blairgowrie. We had to capture the famous beach huts and end a beautiful day watching the sun go down.
Our last day consisted of checking out and heading to the ferry terminal to cross the harbour and head to Queenscliff where our Great Ocean Road adventure commenced. A very smooth and efficient process getting the car on the ferry and taking the 45 minute ride across. Well worth having your own transport at the other end. Totally loved the Mornington Peninsula I will be back many times for sure!
Stay tuned for the last instalment, capturing another iconic aspect of this gorgeous state. Victoria you have impressed me!