During our weeks in Melbourne we did two day trips: first to Williamstown and then to Mornington Peninsula. We did plan to do places like the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island as well, but being without a car creates limitations. But we were happy with the trips we did, and like Matthias always says, the undone attractions gives us a reason to come back.
Williamstown we visited on our own, since it is an easy location for a day trip from Melbourne CBD. Just hop on a train and you are there 20 minutes later. If you want to get closer, you can take another train, but we decided to walk.
Williamstown was the first white settlement in Victoria. It is relatively small neighbourhood, but still a cute town with charming, Victorian era buildings. When it is combined with huge, green parks, it is definitely a place for a nice day out. During our visit Williamstown felt a bit sleepy, but I think it is mostly due to us visiting off-season.
During summer the Williamstown Beach is a popular place for Melburnians to visit. Like St. Kilda beach, this one is also quite calm due to Melbourne being located in a bay. We ended up on the beach after first walking the coastal line for an hour.
During our last weekend our lovely hosts drove us to Mornington Peninsula, which is located in the south-east of Melbourne. In the area you can experience both calm waters of the bay and also beaches that are facing the more powerful open sea. Eventhough the trip is doable by public transportation, it will take hours and you would need to stay the night. By car you will get there in one hour and half, so we were very happy that they took the time to take us there.
Mornington Peninsula is a beautiful, summery seaside destination. We happened to visit on a cloudy day, but it still did not lack the charm. We visited some beaches, a lookout and had a nice meal in Sorrento township.
After that we headed to Point Nepean National Park in Portsea, the tip of the peninsula. Previously army occupied the area, but it is open to public for recreational purposes. I think the Finnish word jylhä describes nature at the area the best. Dictionary translates jylhä it into gloomy, majestic and proud.
Because of the earlier army presence, there were some blocked areas and gloomy signs warning us of possible unexploded bombs. If those areas expose a real threat or not is unknown.
At the tip there were also bunkers with informal text boxes. Also recorded stories and sounds were playing on loop in the empty bunkers, which was slightly creepy. Both first shots during World War I and II have claimed to be fired in Australia, right there in Fort Nepean, as astonishing as it sounds.
The area has also other kind of gloomy history, since the Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared December 1967. Apparently he went for a swim and never returned. He had a special permission to use a beach, that was still controlled by the army. There were all kinds of speculations, including kidnapping by Chinese frogmen, and the police had to explore all possible explanations.
Gloomyness aside our visit to Portsea was wonderful and we had a great time. After hours of walking we both had trouble staying awake at the car. Luckily we did not have to make the journey by train, since that would have been painful. So thank you Fab and Dan for the company, we are so greatful!