Circumnavigating Devil Bend Reservoir yesterday afternoon was took us nearly three hours, consequently we are a little stiff today. The reservoir was commissioned in 1965 to supply drinking water to the Mornington Peninsula, but has since been bypassed. It is now a Natural Features Reserve, complete with water birds, including the handsome Great Crested Heron.
Foolishly, we hadn’t brought a snack, but the wild blackberries provided a juicy flavour hit.
The remains of water management infrastructure kept us interested, and new signage had been erected for access tracks.
Yesterday I helped my daughter-in-law, Rosalie, accompany the Mornington Girl Guide group in the Australia Day Parade. It gave an unusual view of this annual event, starting with the assembly of participants in a side street adjacent to Main Street, then following behind bagpipers and girls on stilts, with the Royal Airforce Cadets following behind the Girl Guides in the march.
The crowd was large and appreciative. We marched to Mornington Park, where a young singer sang the National Anthem and the Guides raised the flag, assisted by the cadets.
After a celebratory dinner at my sister and brother-in-laws, complete with china cockatiels and gum blossoms decorating the table, we walked down to the seaside to watch the fireworks, feeling very patriotic.
Another 25km walk but mostly at sea level on a balmy autumn day. After going through a surreal tunnel under the marina entrance, we passed the Safety Beach Sailing Club, where lessons were in progress in charming little boats called Opties.
We stopped by a cute coffee shop in Dromana called The Alley for a cappuccino and muffin, before hiking past the lighthouse at McCrae to lunch in a foreshore reserve near Rosebud. From there it was only a short walk past holiday campers to the Rosebud jetty, where children paddled in the shallows. We returned the same way, with increased activity from fishermen and dog walkers, and even a wedding car across the road. Distant ferry and container ship provided an opportunity to test the x20 optical zoom on my new compact camera.
Starting with sulphur crested cockies outside the Dromana information centre, at sea level, we climbed steadily over the shoulder of Arthur’s Seat, pausing to take in the view across Port Phillip Bay towards McRae lighthouse . There were enough walkers on the track to make it sociable and some steep stretches to give us a heart workout. As we trekked inland, we were rewarded with grass trees, grazing Eastern Grey kangaroos and pastoral vistas. We didn’t quite make it to last weekend’s starting point before turning back. Even so, it took us 8.5 hours to do 26km.
On Sunday, we did our longest day walk to date – 22km. We are in training for doing part of the Pilgrims Way in Spain, and were delighted to practise by walking through Greens Bush – unspoiled bushland in the centre of the Mornington Peninsula. The sandy path traversed creeks through fern gullies, banksia woodland and skirted elevated ant nests. They say they build them up in anticipation of rain. We crossed a bitumen road and lunched at a convenient bench before a track took us to Bushrangers Bay, returning to the car by the same route. A pleasant way to spend a sunny autumn day.
Last Monday we took a walk along Merricks beach. The tide was out showing the seaweed and attracting gulls and wading birds. Kite surfers were riding the wind and waves. The long shadows showed the sculpting of wind on sand as it blew against grasses. On the return trip, we were heading into the setting sun and had beautiful silhouette effects.
A couple of days ago David rescued this little critter from our swimming pool. After consulting the Museum of Victoria app, it appears to be Haskells frog, by the line down its back and the black eye line.
It sat on the front porch for a bit before disappearing into the greenery. We are pleased that frogs are still in this area, as it is the first we have seen here.
In the nearby bushland, I found this beautiful specimen of a hyacinth orchid, which is indigenous to the Mornington Peninsula.
Finally, a photo of our garden in the early morning. I liked the way the soft sunlight picked out the geometric shapes of hedge and umbrella and the symmetry of the reflections.
Yesterday we visited an open garden on the slopes of Mount Martha, overlooking Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay. The hillside was densely planted with (mostly) Australian native plants, flowering for spring, interspersed with sculptured wildlife and water features.
I particularly liked the spidery hakeas.
And this blue lily which the nurseryman who was present identified for me.
One of the homeowners sculpts in wood and I bought a little bowl for olives.
A couple of evenings ago, we drove as the setting sun cast warm glows on the bushland and vines, to Bluestone Lane Winery, the home of Veraison Restaurant. We had been invited by our friends Jan and Len to an event held by the Mornington Peninsula Wine and Food Society, of which they are members.
The prearranged menu with accompanying wines had been carefully selected by these foodies to complement each other and delight the senses. The owner filled us in with background details about the wines and what we were eating – which very much added to the total experience.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed with the winery’s sparkling white made by the methode champagnoise accompanied by canapés including a delicate salmon on miniature blini.
Then we sat down to tables set with white cloths and lillies to nibble on rolls with the most divine olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The entree was a mystery and we were invited to identify the ingredients. It turned out to be Canadian giant scallops on Spanish black pudding – I kid you not! Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.
This was the main, which was also a mystery and turned out to be Flinders Island milk-fed wallaby with crunchy dried mushroom topping and a beetroot jus.
The sweet was their signature
dish – violet gelato with white chocolate ice cream and honeycomb – a sweet indulgence to finish with. By the time I drove home it was almost midnight and I was glad that I had resisted the lure of the carefully selected wines. Thanks, Jan and Len, for the invitation to an evening of good company and sensory treats.
Yesterday David led a Probus walk through Coolart Wetlands & Homestead,on the Mornington Peninsula, an hour and a half south of Melbourne.
This park has an imposing homestead built by pharmaceutical magnate Frederick Grimwade in 1895, surrounded by a formal English-style garden with a pretty fountain.
We did the 6kmWoodland walk and checked out bird hides with cormorants, a curious egret and nesting ibises. A short beaked echidna tried its hand at tree-climbing and a raven ogled our picnic lunch longingly.