We left Melbourne on Friday morning with Lucy’s little gold bullet packed to the gills with art supplies, food, wine, and a few clothes squeezed in and headed down the highway towards the Mornington Peninsula to visit Arthurs Seat and Point Nepean. I was using my new camera, a Canon 7D for the first time and was looking forward to trying it out.
We ended up taking a very circuitous route thanks to Tom Toms odd navigation but arrived in Arthur’s Seat a little after 1.pm. First stop was the Enchanted Maze Garden for lunch and a walk around the beautiful gardens. Stunning place, there is 5 acres of formal gardens, indigenous sculptures, mazes and walks
We spent a good 2-3 hours wandering around the gardens… up hill and down dale… across bridges, past billabongs… ending with the 3D maze.. (which we had not been warned was not for the faint of heart….scared a few years off both of us 🙂 )
At the end of the day we retired, very weary back to our lovely apartment, a lovely little B&B in Rosebud that we had booked for three nights.. where we arted till late lubricated with a wine or two…..
cloudy outside… sad faces…but we decided to sally forth irregardless….We headed off around 10.30am towards Pt Nepean National Park… partook of breakfast at ‘Baked in Sorrento’ and then fortified by Latte’s and Berry Muffins we arrived at the park… left the car and boarded the transporter…
Point Nepean is the very tip of the peninsula.. all ships entering Port Phillip Bay must go past Pt Nepean, so it was considered a strategic point hence the building of a Fort at the very tip.
Our first stop was the Gunners Cottage (we bypassed the Quarantine Station). At Gunners cottage is the only access in the entire park to the beach… lovely deserted looking thing with a decaying relic of a cattle pier built around 1850. Apparently the settlers brought cows, sheep and horses with them and this was where they were unloaded.
From there we walked the 1.7kms to Cheviot Hill .. just near here was where Harold Holt .. Australia’s 17th Prime Minister went missing in wild surf on Dec 17th 1967.
Cheviot Beach was at that time restricted, but Holt had special permission to swim there. While he was a strong swimmer, he was apparently carrying a shoulder injury and Cheviot is a treacherous beach with strong undercurrents, and that day the sea was apparently very rough. He entered the surf, dissapeared, and despite the largest and most prolonged and extensive search in Australia’s history his body was never recovered.
Bizarrely enough, Point Nepean fired the first shots in both the first and second world wars (trigger happy?). On 5 August 1914, the German ship SS Pfalz attempted to escape Port Phillip. Within minutes of being notified that war had been declared, Lieutenant-Colonel Sandford at Fort Queenscliff gave an order to Lieutenant C Morris, the Fire Commander at Fort Nepean, to “stop her or sink her”. After the Pfalz ignored signals to halt, the B1 gun fired across her bow. The Pfalz then turned around and the crew was arrested at Portsea. Then at 1.30am on 4 September 1939, within hours of war being declared, the A1 gun fired across the bow of a ship which failed to identify itself. The ship then identified as the Australian freighter SS Woniora. These were the only occasions any of the Port Phillip batteries fired in anger
We wandered around Point Nepean fort.. down the 115 stone steps to the engine house ..legend has it that the soldiers training at the base had to go UP them and their best time was 34 secs… it took us longer than that to walk down them!
After making it back to the top we took the transporter back to the car park and then headed to Ella Bache in Rye for a ‘Heaven On Earth’ massage.. I can say.. after doing approx 5 kms walking around Pt Nepean.. it was! massage totally rocked and the hour was way too short.. can highly recommend them!
That evening we arted some more, and played cards.. great day followed by a fab night!