31/3-1/4/16. We have made it to Frankston which is a suburb of Melbourne, or at least “joined” to the city, judging by the train ride today.
The ferry from Phillip Island to the mainland runs at Very Early o’clock, lunch time or early evening. With a 10 o’clock booking of a computer and printer in the local library (so that we could complete and print our boarding passes for the cruise – did we mention that we are going on a cruise??!! – before the deadline) we went for the middle option.
It was quite uneventful apart from requiring us to unload all the bags from the bikes and carry them down quite a long way down steps and along the jetty before getting on board and then reversing the procedure at the other end – a pain in the derriere!
Once back on the mainland we had a shortish journey to the campsite in Somerville which was mostly along quiet roafs or a cycle trail. However, there was a spell on a busier road where Christine got a foretaste of the attitude of local drivers when she was sworn at by a passing van driver, the only apparent provocation for which being that she was riding along “his” road!
The campsite was another one principally given over to permanent residents with only a few sites for “travellers”. We took the last available site – which was lucky as it was quite some way to the next one. For pretty much the first time we encountered a camp kitchen where it was better to shut your eyes than look at the filthy state it was in! (But the loos were spotless!) Another first was a kitchen where the water was not advisable for drinking being from a borehole. Potable water was available from a tank about 50 yards away.
The plan for Friday was to take a short ride to an offshoot of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens nearby and then go to a nearby campsite. A double fail for Stephen’s navigation, ably assisted by his “pet” Garmin satnav!
Firstly, the ride to the garden was over 20 km, not the “12 or 13” he had promised Christine, this on a morning when she was feeling a bit under the weather. The longer distance was made worse by the undulating nature of the landscape when we had both been naively expecting flatness.
The Australian Garden was, however, even better than expected. It was given over to native plants and presenting them in situations representative of the natural landscape that they come from – as the name implies, of course. It was very different to a British garden such as Kew or Wisley, but none the wose for that. We were both very taken with it.
The second navigation faux pas was heading for the wrong campsite – one further from the garden and also, sort of, heading back the way we had come. This was compounded by the unfriendliness of the roads (more undulations) and the traffic (what is it about Victorian drivers compared to those in NSW?). Christine was quite “spooked” after she was “buzzed” three times by drivers taking exception to her presence on the carriageway when there was either no shoulder or one covered in gravel and sand. She resorted to walking the last 5 or 6 km, except where there was a footpath or, briefly, a track away from the road.
The campsite, when we arrived, was a blessed relief even though it was relatively expensive at $40 per night