After just over a month in Melbourne it was time to explore Victoria for the first time and what better way than with a road trip to the Mornington Peninsula. Now I’ve done my fair share of travelling around Australia, spending four months here back in 2009. I covered most of the states and managed to work my way up and down the East Coast multiple times, but I never had the chance to visit Victoria, the state I currently call home.
For those of you who are a little rusty when it comes to the world map (Carl!), Victoria is situated on the southern eastern tip of the country and is home to the city of Melbourne, which in case you didn’t already know, is where I am now. Yes, I have hung up my backpack for a while and have got an actual job (boohoo) and am no longer sharing a room with six or so others (yippee!). But there’s always time to travel of course, my wanderlust is still very much there and I’m just itching, ITCHING to explore further. My fellow Vietnam companions, Aimee, Nicola and Phoebe organised the weekend, with six of us English and two Aussies driving an hour and a half or so down the coast to the town of Blairgowrie.
We rented a sick (that means cool these days) house close to the beach equipped with trampoline and bikes. Some thing’s never change and the M25-like rushhour traffic meant we didn’t arrive till 7:30pm, so a dinner of chips, dips and cheese was on the cards and wine started the night rather nicely. The evening was spent chatting and singing along to Christmas songs, before rolling into the most comfortable bed everrrrr at 2:30am.
My alarm woke me at 8:30am the following morning, just in time for the wine tasting that we had booked for 9:30am. I couldn’t think of anything worse than drinking wine this early in the morning after the night before, but it happened, and the first winery Port Phillip Estate was absolutely stunning, despite the thunderstorms.
Isn’t it always the way that the one weekend I take a trip to one of the most scenic places in Victoria, the heavens opens and it pours down the whole weekend? It was like being back in England. Johno our driver took us on to our next stop T’Gallant, which I felt was a little more touristic and less personal than Port Phillip. Here I was clearly just a number and when we asked if we could pull up a few chairs for the eight of us in the cafe, we were told that we would make it just too crowed so we took our business elsewhere.
Luckily Johno knew his stuff and recommended we go for lunch at a pizza place called Epicurean in Red Hill that he often visits. The guy done good because Epicurean served up some of the most incredible pizza’s, including one with fresh seafood which was a big hit for all. I enjoyed a glass of Cabinet Merlot, a favourite of mine at the moment as I was sick of Pinot Noir (eugh!) which unfortunately for me is the main red produced in the region.
After completely sobering myself up on rustic bread, chips and pizza we headed to Mock Red Hill to try their cider, all of which I liked but none I preferred to some of the brands at my local store. We then made our way to Trofeo Estate to try some of their wines mainly, Pinot, Chardonnay and Shiraz, which again are all my least favourite grapes.
By this point we were desperate for something sweet, so headed to the Whispering Vine’s cafe at the winery for coffee and cake. My almond and custard tart wasn’t great but the salted caramel and mixed nut tart was divine, as was the caramel slice. I enjoyed a soy piccolo which has become my regular pick-me-up.
Next up was Whinstone Estate with even more Pinot’s, Chardonnay and Shiraz which I long to love but I so prefer a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot – see I’m not as fussy as you thought! My preference of grapes meant I didn’t buy a bottle at any of the wineries but I did manage to pick up some small bottles of Muscadet (a sweet white wine I am currently in love with) for just $2 at the local Bottle-O.
It was gone 6pm by the time we arrived back to the house, which meant we were out on the wine tour for nearly nine hours and astonishingly I wasn’t drunk one bit. Whilst waiting for the Thai takeaway to come, Phoebe, Emma and I went to explore the nearby beach on scooters and had great fun playing around with the awesome camera on our new iPhone 6.
The perfect day ended with a perfect evening sat around playing board games, watching movies and chatting over a cup of tea before retreating to the land of nod.
It was another early start the following morning but this time, for something a little healthier for my body. A trip to the Mornington Peninsula isn’t complete without a trip to the natural hot springs which was made even better by the cold rain. It was both relaxing and refreshing to spend a good hour or two immersed in hot natural water when the outside air was bitterly cold (in my eyes). It was so relaxing I couldn’t keep my eyes open once I had come out so I grabbed strong coffee to keep me going past brunch, which we had at Rusty’s Cafe in Sorrento. Phoebe, Carl and I didn’t want the trip to end so we stayed back to browse the nearby shops including a long look in the organic food store where I bought a ridiculously overpriced and quite frankly disappointing peach – a sucker for health shop food me. It took a while to get home as we took the scenic route along the coast which boasts a number of glorious beaches and numerous viewpoints which there was little point us stopping at due to the poor weather, but I can imagine it would be absolutely stunning on a clear day.
Although the weather wasn’t on our side, my trip to the Mornington Peninsula gave me a good taste of what Victoria has to offer and left me thinking about my next trip this summer. Australia is such a vast country it would take me years to see everything I want to see but I hope my time here allows me to get started on my infinite list of “must see’s”. I highly recommend a drive down if you’re visiting Melbourne as it only takes an hour or so in good traffic and it’s always good to get out of the city for a bit of fresh air. Good food, good wine, good company. What more can a girl ask for?
Living life, loving travel,