Today we took a road trip around Port Phillip Bay, with the help of a ferry ride halfway through. We drove about 250k, including a few side trips and the 40 minute ferry ride must have been about 10k. Here is a map of Port Phillip Bay.
This huge bay has a narrow opening to the ocean of 2k. My dream is to be on either point of the entrance to the bay when a big ship is passing by. There were no big ships today-Jim’s theory is that the ship captains take the day off, but it may be that the dock workers take the day off. Some weekday I am going to pack a lunch and go sit at Point Lonsdale and watch the shipping traffic!
Back to today’s adventure. We left about 9 AM in sunshine but as we drove south and east the clouds rolled in and we worried that our sun was done for the day. But the clouds moved through and we generally had a mostly sunny day with temps topping out at a very windy 11C (52F).
We drove clockwise around the bay and our first stop was Point Nepean National Park. I was here early in our stay but was glad to go back. Point Nepean has an important part in the history of Australia and Victoria. It was the Ellis Island of Australia, the place where the immigrants spent their quarantine period. Later it housed military installations for both WWI and WWII. It was a Army Cadet training facility until the 1990’s. Today it is a kind of museum as well as a great spot to view the entry to Port Phillip Bay. From the hill at the tip of Point Nepean, there is also a great view back to the bay and the ocean and the narrow strip of land separating the two.
After our visit to the Point, we made a stop at the trail to London Bridge, a rock formation in the ocean. This is a different London Bridge than the one on the Great Ocean Road, but is still an impressive massive block of limestone in on the edge of ocean with erosion causing the formation of an arch or bridge. We were able to walk down to the beach level and right up to the rock and quite near the opening of the arch. We enjoyed watching the waves crash through the arch.
From here we made the final drive to the Ferry Terminal in Sorrento, VIC. This ferry would take us and our car across the bay to the town of Queenscliff. We sat in the bow of the vessel and endured the strong winds, but enjoyed the views and the sunshine.
Once we pulled away from the Queenscliff terminal, we realized it was 2PM and we were hungry! We had a bit of luck when we stopped in a cafe that looked busy and realized that we stumbled upon the place that was voted Australia’s Best Pies for 2013! Now pies in Aussie-land generally mean something different than in the USA. At home when we hear about pie, we think of apple, blueberry, peach, etc. Here it means a meat pie, frequently eaten out of your hand. We’ve had good ones and we’ve had less good ones. They are a staple at footy games and usually served with sauce (ketchup). So we had pies-I had a lamb one and Jim had one of their prize winners-Chunky beef. And they were very tasty! The place, the Rolling Pin Bakery, had a steady stream of customers getting pies to eat right there or to take home.
Our tour continued by heading to Point Lonsdale, the point opposite Point Nepean. There is a lighthouse and a pier here and we did enjoyed or walking in this area. The ocean waves were rolling in making for good photos!
After Point Lonsdale we headed for the town of Geelong. I have been here a couple of time, mostly to see the Wool Museum, but I was aware of the lovely waterfront area in the town so we found a parking spot near the marina area and started walking. In a previous blog about Geelong, i mentioned and had photos of Geelong’s famous bollards, wooden pillars painted to look like people who were or are part of Geelong’s colorful history. We’ve read that there are about 100 of these in town and we managed to see 66 of them during our hour-long walk along the waterfront.
One impressive feature of the waterfront was a swimming area in the bay that was made by building a huge semicircular walkway out into the water from the promenade along the water’s edge. From the bottom of this walkway was fencing that went to the floor of the bay to keep out things like sharks and other undesirable marine life! There were floating platforms out in the middle of the swimming area as well as a large area for lap swimming. Being the wintertime, this “pool” was closed, but we could both imagine how popular this place must be in the hot summer months.
We were back in our apartment by 5:30 PM and relaxed a bit before heading to Chapel Street for dinner. Our restaurant choice for tonight was the Greek Tavern that we’ve walked by a lot and which always seemed busy. We were able to take advantage of a Sunday special of 2 courses and a glass of wine for $30 which was a good deal. The food was tasty and the service good.
Tomorrow will be a domestic day, so unless something unusual happens, there will be no blog.