|Cook St. in Flinders, long ago|
General Store on the left
The Flinders of my childhood was a farming community where a few people from Melbourne had beach houses. My parents were dairy farmers, surrounded by other dairies, beef, orchards, strawberry farms, chickens and eggs. It was quite acceptable to trudge into the General Store in your gumboots and ask Mrs Commons 'do you have....?' We went to the back of the store for dog and chook pellets, right for hardware and farm supplies (men's stuff) and left for newspapers, the Commonwealth Bank, haberdashery and clothing (women's stuff). Clothing was limited to overalls and gumboots but that was the farmers uniform then. The beach houses were just that, small, mostly fibro shacks clustered around the golf course and over looking the thundering Bass Strait.
Roll forward a year or two! The dairies have gone as have most of the chickens, the eggs and the fibro shacks. The Peninsula now sports multi-million dollar holiday homes, boutique wineries and vineyards, chocolate factories, award winning restaurants, posh private golf courses, hot springs (who knew), and fancy shopping. We now have Masaratis and Lamborghinis in town and every other car is a Merc or BMW. The Flinders General Store sells beautiful local produce and products at resort prices. Not a chook pellet in sight!
Whilst Flinders is no longer the town I grew up in, we rather liked some of the perks of progress. Our favourites being:
- The cycling - there are so many kilometres of fabulous riding on lovely, well maintain paved roads. The drivers are courteous and we even have a switchback hill climb, Arthur's Seat. Arthur's Seat rises 300 vertical metres in just over 3km. We didn't ride this, although the we did the gentler climb up 'the back way' on Purves Road!
- The hiking - from the Two Bays Walking Trail to the hikes up and down from the various beaches.
- The beaches - hundreds of them ranging from the calm, kid-friendly beaches of Port Phillip Bay such as McCrae and Sorrento to the thundering surf beaches of Gunnamatta. Those requiring a hike down the cliff or sand dune to those with full vehicle access and a pier to jump off!
- The National Parks - my parents' overlook Greens Bush NP with its kangaroos and grass trees. We explored the Point Nepean NP which was once a quarantine station and military base at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The entrance to is a notorious 3km wide stretch of known as The Rip. Even today, pilots are required on ships going into the Port of Melbourne and yachties will only attempt the entry on slack tide. Now it can be explored by foot or bike (we did both). The old gunnery posts with their lookouts and tunnels protecting Melbourne are well maintained and fabulous. And an interesting fact, the first Commonwealth shots fired in both WWI and WWII were from Point Nepean!
- The wines - The Peninsula is considered a cool climate wine region and does a particularly tasty Pinot Noir. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Tempranillo are also considered rather good. Our favourite was the Secco Splendido from Quealeys Wines in Balnarring.
It is odd, despite growing up in Flinders and spending roughly three months in the region, we are leaving with the feeling that we have left some of the best of The Peninsula unexplored! But one thing is certain, we will be back!
|Flinders today - General Store on the left|
|Kangaroos in the garden!|
|on the Two Bays Walking Track|
|grass trees on our bushwalk|
|sandy trail to the beach|
|parasail launch pad above Flinders back beach|
|relaxing at Fingal beach|
|Simon and Angus play beach cricket|
|Kate on the cliff above Flinders pier|
|fun with the kiddies at Dromana beach|
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