Today. Was. Awesome. Sylvie, Katie and I rented a car (Katie is a left-side pro at this point) and drove down to the Mornington Peninsula. The city of Mornington, where we started our journey, is about an hour or so from Melbourne and filled with cute shops and cafes like this one:
It was a chilly, rainy day for the most part, with intermittent moments of sunshine.
The epic-ness of the adventure started at a really pretty glass blowing shop. These birds graced the extensive gardens outside the shop:
I probably should have considered the fact that gardens=bugs, because we walked in and I immediately spotted a medium-sized spider in the corner. I have a sixth sense for spotting spiders, and an almost phobia-level fear of them. It creeped me out a bit, but it wasn't alarmingly larger than something I'd find in the house in Minnesota.
We turned the corner into the next room, and this monstrosity was just chillin on the ceiling.
At first we thought it had to be fake. None of us had yet seen the famed Huntsman spider, which is said to grow to the size of a dinner plate. They are allegedly harmless, but I mean look at that thing...it could eat me if it wanted to. It's hard to get an accurate idea of the size from the picture, but it was about as big as my fist. Aka wayyyyy too big. Needless to say, I flipped out. There was another couple in the store that weren't phased in the least and probably super annoyed by my dramatics...they even walked right under the thing! The lady working the shop laughed and told us it was "on the small side" and she must have missed it this morning when she took out the rest. MISSED IT??? THE REST?? Yes, this woman takes a broom handle and transplants those freakishly large creatures into the garden every morning. That's right. She voluntarily gets within 3 feet of these things for a purpose other than squishing it into a million pieces. And for that, I sincerely hope she gets paid a million dollars a year. Also, a hand blown glass shop is decidedly the worst place in the world I could have come into contact with my first Huntsman: I almost knocked over a $700 bowl in my panic. In conclusion, it was top 5 most terrifying moments of my life.
We continued onto a winery, which featured beautiful architecture and landscape.
I needed a glass of wine after that Huntsman.
We saw some of the best road signs ever today:
To my disappointment, we didn't actually see any kangaroos or koalas, alive at least. We did see two dead kangaroos on the side of the road. I spared you the gruesome photos.
Next we ventured to a goat cheese shop, complete with over 100 of its own goats. By the way, one of my dreams in life is to own a goat. Or 100s.
We ordered two tasting trays, which were fabulous.
My new goat friend! I think this one was named Pam, which is an epic name for a goat if you ask me.
No day trip would be complete without a trip to a chocolate shop! This one was in the city of Flinders, and had a really pretty selection. Sylvie is from Belgium and is therefore a chocolate snob, but even she thought these were awesome.
And of course good chocolate is expensive. This little guy was $2.50!
We continued down the Peninsula to Cape Schanck, which I still couldn't tell you how to pronounce. We walked the trails down to the water and the views were beautiful.
The lighthouse, which we didn't quite make it to, for reasons I will detail below.
For comparison, this is essentially the same photo taken with Sylvie's camera. She has a really fancy one that takes amazing photos so she let me use a few of them here :).
We decided to follow the stairs, which start here and go all the way down to the rock at the far left. It was windy, but we just threw our hoods up and started down the stairs. This is where is gets epic.
After turning the first corner, we hit wind so strong we literally could not move forward against it. This is Sylvie attempting to make her way down the first turn.
Great picture from Sylvie's camera. Katie and I turned against the wind so we could breathe. I'm not being dramatic here, I swear. I've never been in a hurricane but I imagine this is what it's like.
We got around a corner and found some refuge.
Sylvie's camera again. It captures the colors so well!
We finally got down to the end, and hung out at this protected beach for a few minutes.
Another photo from Sylvie's camera
Katie climbing the rocks
At this point, the third or forth rain shower of the day was about to pass over, so we headed back up. Either the wind got stronger (although I doubt that's even possible) or our change of direction made the trek back worse, but I kid you not, we feared for our lives for a minute or so. I don't have any pictures of this leg of the journey due to the fact that if I had taken out my phone, it would have undoubtedly blown away. We were pushed backward by the wind multiple times, and ended up walking hunched as close to the ground as possible to minimize the resistance. We were suspended over rocks and steep cliffs leading to really rough water, and seriously questioned whether the little wooden bridge we were on was going to hold up. We eventually made it to the top, but felt like we had run a marathon/climbed Mt. Everest. We collapsed onto the top staircase to catch our breathe, where I finally took out my phone to get some video:
This is our "after" picture.
I'm the first to admit I can be dramatic, but this was an unreal experience. None of us could recall being in wind that strong ever before. We saw a family with two small children start down the stairs and practically begged them to turn back.
After we recovered from that experience, we headed to a lookout point that provided amazing views of the city.
Before heading home we stopped for a burger at The Royal Hotel in Mornington.
All in all it was a great and memorable trip. In hindsight, we probably shouldn't have continued on the Cape Schneck walk in such high winds, but YOLO.