After spending Saturday going from viewing to viewing to viewing to viewing (we found an apartment that is tiny and cute and a little house that would be perfect if it wasn't so terribly run down) we really, really needed some fun so Sunday morning we headed to Mornington Peninsula to spend the day at the beach. Mornington Peninsula is one of Melbourne's two quick-getaway beach areas -- it is one of the wings of the bay that protects Melbourne. Mornington is a haven of wine country back roads, scenic little beach towns, and national parks: as soon as we drove out of town we were greeted by beautiful, rolling hills:
We drove along the bay side of the peninsula and stopped in a little town called Rye Beach. It is a tiny village with a main street that is two blocks long and a large public beach that stretches in both directions. The water is calm, aquamarine blue and luminous; the sand white and coarse:
These pictures really do not do the color of the water justice -- the water glows with it's own light.
We ambled along the beach, gathered shells, and played in the sand. The early spring air was brisk so we were quite chilly and quickly got hungry. Deciding to eat lunch at Rye, we walked up and down the tiny strip to find a cafe. To my great amazement we ran into a bakery that had gluten-free sandwiches, pies, and desserts. I had the absolute, most delicious chicken pie and the best gluten-free cupcake I have ever eaten. The ladies who ran the shop were so wonderful to us; they even gave the boys some sausage rolls to try. They kept trying to get Nik to say "gwuten fwee" and "gwuten awergy".
After a long picnic lunch, we headed to the other side of the peninsula to see the ocean-side beaches. Rye Ocean Beach is located within Mornington Peninsula National Park and is only about 5 km from the beach where we had lunch but the two beaches couldn't be more different. The sand on the ocean side is coarse and the waves are wild and intense:
There are craggy cliffs and tide pools:
This beach is not somewhere you would want to swim -- I have never seen less inviting water. The ocean is more intense and intimidating than any I have ever seen before. Even during a storm the water in the outer banks seemed less scary.
We had a wonderful day... it was the tonic we needed at the end of a long and difficult week. We did learn one important lesson today that should stand as a warning to any potential visitors. Today was a cloudy day, it is still very early spring, and I wore a hat the whole day -- and I still got sunburnt: