A Month on Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula, south of the city of Melbourne, is along the east side of Port Phillip Bay, and covers about 723 square kilometres. We had never heard of the peninsula (said peninSHula) before we secured two back-to-back house sits in this region of Australia. With vineyards, cheese makers, beaches & beach huts, national parks, animal sanctuaries, restaurants, and sunshine galore, it’s good we ended up being here for a month.

The Official Wine Touring Map lists 49 wineries. Forty-nine!

No, we did not get to them all.

With the help of our hosts’ wine bible, we selected some that appealed to us, and we were off! With the influx of tourists after Christmas Day, we had to be selective. Sharing wine tastings with tour buses and large, rowdy groups reduces the opportunity to learn about the wines.

The peninsula is known for it’s cool climate grapes. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the two biggies here, but they’re generally pretty low on our hit parade. All told, with 49 to chose from, we muddled through.


Flinders blew me away. Honestly, I typed that before I caught the pun. We visited the Flinders Blow Hole at low tide and at high.  Dramatic rock formations seen at low tide were completely hidden the next visit. One day I was carelessly jumping from rock to rock, getting ever closer to the water; the next, I was very mindful of slippery rocks and waves crashing close to my feet, threatening to soak me or take me away, altogether!

This picture is taken from a cliff, high above the action.

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Mother Nature has taken her toll on these rocks. At low tide, it was easiest to see where the blow hole has been eroded clear through Elephant Rock. The elephant’s trunk extends into the water in the top right hand of the above picture.

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Water and foam splash over the elephant’s trunk, across the blow hole and damn near soak my feet. At this point, I thought I was taking a video, but not being able to see the damned screen in the sunlight, resulted in a slightly less dramatic picture. Work with me. It was fantastic!

Due south, across these rocks and the crashing waves of the Bass Straight, lies Tasmania. That will have to wait until another trip.

 


At this point, I could assault you with pictures of Dromana Beach, The Briars nature reserve, bush walks, and views from Arthur’s Seat, and maybe I’ll share some of those spots at some point.

Some of the big memories of this area, that will stand out for years to come, will be the time we spent at our house sits. We had Watson, the Wonder Spoodle in Mt. Martha. We walked, we played, and he tried to be a lap dog.

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In Mount Eliza, Lucifer, is our entertainment. This little Staffordshire Terrior, this grinning ball of muscle just wants to be loved. He’s happiest with us. Walks, belly rubs, feeding the chickens, spending happy hour under our chairs; it doesn’t matter. He’s one happy fella.

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It would be all shades of wrong to talk about Australia without bringing up Vegemite.

This is my chance to declare loud and proud:

I HAVE BEEN CONVERTED! 

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Like many first timers, I was approaching Vegemite all wrong. My very wise friend, Sue, told me to apply only a “thin scraping.” Thought I: not thin enough. The stuff is vile!

Watson’s Mt. Martha family further encouraged us to try again. A thin scraping with a slice of Strong & Bitey Cheese. Sold!

I think Vegemite is one of those very strong flavoured foods like olives, asparagus,blue cheese, & sardines. It takes a few tries to acquire a taste for it. I will no longer malign this Aussie classic.


Are you ready for a food controversy?

Please prepare. This could get ugly.

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Pavlova.

The inception of this cloud-like dessert of meringue topped with cream and fruit is an on-going topic of debate. Australia or New Zealand? Where was it first made? What is widely agreed is that it was named after Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and that it’s debut was in the 1920s.

After repeatedly seeing the likes of Mary Berry & Nigella Lawson make the delight on food television, I had assumed it was a very British concoction. No idea. All I know is Marion made the very first pavlova I’ve ever tasted and it was heavenly. Until some Kiwi convinces me otherwise (while serving dessert), pavlova will forever be one of the many Aussie delights we discovered on the Mornington Peninsula.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “A Month on Mornington Peninsula

  1. Photographs are beautiful as always. About strong flavours: you failed to mention pickled herring which I love but which the other members of my family could barely watch me eat. About Pavlova: the late, great Val made the only Pavlova I have ever tasted and I agree, it is a heavenly treat; however her filling was a very rich custard with mixed fruit. About Flinders: a friend has given me a book called Flinder’s Cat. It is based in Australia. Haven’t read it yet but I wonder whether there is a connection. Enough.

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  2. I’ve never had pickled herring, but I would try it with you!

    The late great Val made a great many fabulous things, and I can only imagine that hers was on the rich side. Marion told us the secret is to make it not to sweet, and I think she must be right. The fruit really sings that way.

    Flinders is a very pretty town with a bustling main street with quaint little shops and cafes, and amazing cliff-top views at one end of that street. You can have that picture in your head and see if it matches up to anything in your book, Leona.

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  3. Oh crap. Now I absolutely must make that meringue confection with its strawberries and what, clotted cream? I’m sure I will have to invite people over, or I’ll eat the whole thing myself. Pavlova, one of my childhood heroes. Btw, while it’s true that I might, in another, less violent time have thought of having a photo album–or three–thrust at me as an assault, I never think of your photos that way, perhaps because I can choose when to enjoy them, as now, with my mid-morning snack and coffee. Your travelogue is, as always, sheer delight.

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  4. I am so glad you continue to enjoy, in your own time. I look forward to your post when you do make a pavlova. I can picture the grands digging in!

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