Away from the hustle and bustle of the grey city, surrounded by green meadows and songbirds, busy city people can find some peace and quiet. In fact that is what Mornington Island has become over time. Developing from an immigration centre to a popular tourist destination, it has undergone a 100 degrees shift.
Washing Away the Past – And Germs
I wasn’t aware how paranoid Australia has always been – well ever since it learned its lessons the hard way – about introducing foreign things. Ok, you can interpret this is many ways and I am not going to comment on this now.
What I want to tell you about is the Quarantine station in Nepean. It was where immigrants were held to check their passports and not only clear that but also clean them. Literally. And quite drastically.
So imagine coming to the country you thought was the land of milk and honey just to find that your property was taken away to get steamed and sorted out just as your clothes. Of course you had to strip and get washed down properly.
Why all this? To rid everyone of bacteria before entering the country. If you were sick, there were even two hospitals on site to nurse you back to a germ free state.
Even so, mostly the immigrants who were scrubby and filthy from spending hundreds of days on a ship without proper hygienic conditions entered their new home country with only the quarantine shifts, their own shoes and empty suitcase. What a good start of a new life. Tabula rasa, right?
Having seen how people came to the country, we also were shown how they were kept from entering it. Enemies during the World Wars, to be precise. The peninsula and Nepean point was part of a triangle of cannons to stop any ship from entering Port Phillip.
Very close nearby there is still a huge area filled with bombs and mines that nobody bothered to list. So nobody knows how many there were to begin with and how many there still are. Just two weeks ago one active bomb was found 1.5m away from a walking path. I told you before, Australia is a dangerous country!
More peace of mind we were able to find in the obviously touristy coastal town Sorrento. Strolling through the shopping streets, popping into funky little stores and tasting the famous vanilla slice was a pretty good morning wrap up.
The cake was rather much and so I well survived the drive to pick up the other tour members that had booked morning activities, such as tree surfing, hot pool jacuzziing and horseback riding.
Then we got to The Pig&Whistle, where our meal awaited us. Given a choice of 5 dishes before, I had opted for the chicken parmigiana. Then there was an on-site wine tasting before we left for our next target.
Wonderland of Landscaping
Do you like gardens? Getting lost in mazes? And big slides? Well, I do and you can imagine that I had a fun time exploring the Enchanted Adventure Garden. Cheesy name, I know. There were many different mazes created through hedges and in turfs, even out of metal.
I went in thinking myself extremely clever and got lost many times. Embarrassing. I also tried out the tube slides and yes, I was a little bit scared when it started spinning like mad, I bumped over the uneven surface and had water sprinkled in my face.
It was fun, though. I had to do it again. And then I was completely exhausted from racing up the hill, dragging the tube behind me just to be faster than the kids (beat ya!).
Our last stop was a special treat (and a very German summer pastime as well). We were put in strawberry fields and could pick as many berries as we could squeeze into our box.
I made a whole science of it, trying to maximise the amount of strawberries in the designated space and spent most of my time rearranging the small and large juicy fruit. I can get greedy like that. Don’t ever stand between a foodie and their source of happiness!
Is the Mornington Peninsula Worth a Visit?
It was a very nice day outing with Bunyip Tours on the Mornington Peninsula. The landscape was green and the weather was fine and we saw many interesting places and heard unbelievable stories that entertained us along the way.
Particularly cute were the colourful bathing boxes, for which Mornington is popular. I was never hungry today with morning tea being provided at a scenic lookout, the drop off where we could buy the famous vanilla slice and the big portion of lunch before our strawberry picking.
A big bonus for that. I believe this trip is great with its different activities and if you want to enjoy a nice day out with fun activities.
570 Flinders Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000
I would like to thank Bunyip Tours for showing me around the Mornington Peninsula. As always, my opinion is my own.