A new adventure begins! We fly to Melbourne where we spend a couple of days before embarking on the cruise ship Grand Princess for a 13 night circumnavigation of New Zealand. Returning to land, our holiday continues at Phillip Island and ends with one last day back where we started in Melbourne. Join me for a round trip, on sea and on land, to destinations both new and familiar.
In November 2022 we spent a few days exploring Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. This narrow strip of land, at its widest just 20 kilometres across, is surrounded by water on three sides – Western Port to the east, Bass Strait to the south and, on the west, the huge expanse of Port Phillip.
The largest bay in Victoria, Port Phillip covers an area of 1930 square kilometres. It may be large but it’s also very shallow, with half being less than eight metres deep. Opposite Mornington Peninsula is the Bellarine Peninsula, its coast just visible on the horizon.
While its 264 kilometre coastline is dominated by the cities of Melbourne and Geelong, there are several pretty seaside towns around the bay. We stayed at the peninsula’s largest town Mornington where the views of the bay were superb, especially at sunset.
The two peninsulas end at Point Nepean on the east and Point Lonsdale on the west. The 3.5 kilometre gap between the points, called The Rip, forms the only entrance to Port Phillip. One day we drove out to Point Nepean National Park and hiked to the end of Point Nepean.
We watched in fascination as large vessels negotiated the tricky waterway, guided by experienced Port Phillip Maritime Pilots.
In March this year, it was our turn to sail across Port Phillip on the cruise ship Grand Princess. We said farewell to Melbourne and left Station Pier at 5 p.m. before sailing in a south-eastly direction alongside Mornington Peninsula.
It took almost three hours before we arrived at The Rip. After seeing this narrow entrance from land, it was fascinating to be on the water as we sailed through between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean.
We could even see where we had stood watching the container ships pass by.
Due to large variations in depth and tides, the Rip is notoriously dangerous. As we left the sheltered waters of Port Phillip and entered Bass Strait, the ocean changed almost immediately and we were glad to know there was a skilled pilot on board.
We took a south-easterly course across Bass Strait towards Tasmania as the sun set behind us. It was time to settle in and enjoy our sea days on the way to New Zealand.
With this last ocean sunset photo, I’m joining Denzil for his Nature Photo Challenge #11: Yellow