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Mornington and old friends, week 2

January 15, 2016

So, after a hectic but fun filled week in Melbourne, we headed down south to the Mornington Peninsula, to spend time with two of our oldest friends, who emigrated to Australia way back in 1986. I can still remember waving goodbye to them as they stood on the doorstep of her parents’ house, wondering if we’d ever see them again, or indeed if we would manage to keep in touch. I certainly never imagined we’d ever be able to afford the fare to go and visit for a holiday. Yet here we are, on our sixth visit, as we saw wages rise and relative air fares lower since 2000 when we first saved hard for our first trip for the Sydney Olympics.
It seemed only a short drive to Mornington, a reminder of how close this beautiful coastal resort is to the enduring hectic craziness of Melbourne – time for a bit of R&R. Our accommodation was perfect – a former ‘granny flat’ attached to the owners home in a quiet street in Mornington, just a few minutes from the beach and the town. Our first night was spent with a supper of cooked prawns, brown bread and Aussie champagne, for a fraction of the price of a similar feast in England. We spent the week barbequing with our friends, spending every spare minute outside, going to local markets, exploring the far reaches of the peninsula – Sorrento, Portsea and Hastings – where the novelty of seeing local fisherman feeding scraps to the pelicans will never wear off.
One highlight was a trip of the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff for lunch, a bar cruise, (pub crawl!) sampling wines, cider, beers and cocktails. Sadly we didn’t see any dolphins, unlike our previous trips – I think they are hiding somewhere or on holiday with the elusive kangaroos and koalas (many signs telling us say be careful they may be crossing the road). Of course, our week had to conclude with a drive to the local wineries – Yabby Lake is only ten minutes from Mornington, it looks quite scruffy from the outside, but step inside into a sophisticated cellar door and restaurant, with one of the most gorgeous red wines, a Syrah, that I have ever tasted. A beautiful meal followed (trout, then steak) with a few glasses of wine – a visit to another winery, then a good old Aussie brewery, which was pretty lively on a Sunday afternoon, with live music too. After saying goodbye to our friends (hopefully for only a year or so) we headed back to pack for week three and the long drive north to Byron Bay.

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