I never got around to posting any of my photos from my Mornington Peninsula Holiday last year, and it's too late to embark upon a detailed travelogue, but bear with me for some excerpts: the light down there truly is extraordinary, and so changeable as the clouds scud on by.
The shot below was taken a few days after a wild storm, so wild we felt the edge at one hundred and fifty kilometres north on our journey down the Hume. We drove from our resort to the National Park and walked along a bush track, where to the delight of my children we startled an echidna, to the bayside beach at Observatory Point. There we gazed along the rotting stumps of a jetty at acres of windswept bay. The waves swirled strangely as they broke on the sand, overcoming the tug of the strong currents racing through The Rip at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay about a kilometre west.
The beach was full of flotsam, ribboned around the base of the dunes, where the tussocks of saltgrass seemed oddly nude. I realised that the storm waves had washed away the usual detritus, tussock-fluff if you will, that usually surrounds each plant. Wisps of dead stalk, windblown twigs, food fragments dropped by overflying birds and packaging dropped by careless humans either on the track or in the bay, then blown into the catcher's mitt of spindly grass: none of that was there. It had all been scoured, leaving the tussocks clinging to the sand limply, robbed of their hoard of mulching debris. Disturbingly, the dunes to the east of the jetty were a protected sea-bird nesting zone. I couldn't tell whether the storm had sent the waves crashing high enough to was away the nests as well.
Further along the beach to the west was this astonishing acumulation of driftwood. I have no idea whether this was chaotically tossed up by the storm, or purposefully arranged by a whimsical beachcomber. I just know it was beautiful.
Away from the wilderness of the tip of the harbour heads, Mornington Peninsula is a gardener's playground. The soil sits on a limestone base, and flowering plants grow mighty there. Enormous ancient buddleias, vibrant climbers and brilliant rosebeds. Throughout our holiday, most days we drove past this extraordinary planting, a colour combination in spring-flowering shrubs that I've never seen before.
Does anyone know what these two plants are?
The limestone is good for vintners as well. There are many fine wineries on the peninsula, but our serendipitous discovery (I admired their gardens from the road) was Myrtaceae Winery in Red Hill. A small winery with limited plantings, so they make sure that they only plant the best for their location, namely a typically creamy chardonnay and a rewardingly complex pinot noir. Mmmmmm.