Melbourne, Victoria – May 1999
The kids are back at school and the weather is mild. This is the perfect time to hit the road and see the sights. Let’s go around the bay!
The City of Melbourne is perched at the Northernmost end of Port Phillip Bay. The bay itself is about 100 km in diameter and quite narrow at the southern end where it spills into Bass Strait.
A large tract of Melbourne’s urban area stretches down the eastern side of the bay (I live in Frankston Ã‚â€“ see if you can find it on the map). At the eastern tip lies Portsea, where the well-heeled spend their summers. The pub there has a reputation for great lunches.
The Belarine Peninsula at the southern end of the bay leads to Geelong Ã‚â€“ the second biggest city in the state.
The Western side is mostly flat open farmland until you start getting into Melbourne through some of the industrial areas of the town.
So, you ask, how are we going to make this trip? Well, says I (sagely rubbing my chin), it all depends on the style and speed you wish to take.
Come Fly With Me
A light plane can do a lap of the bay in an hour. The view is fabulous from up high and the weather at this time of the year is very stable for a silky smooth ride. If you can organise the trip to finish around sunset the view is magic.
You pay for the plane by the hour (about $150 an hour) and can fit three passengers. Splitting the costs with two others, a jaunt like this is an affordable proposition. If you want to feel really flash, you may be able to organise a stopover along the way.
Essendon airport (close to the city) and Moorabbin airport (30 minutes out of town) are the two general aviation airports close in the metropolitan area. Someone like ‘Schutt Aviation‘(not a very impressive web site) at Moorabbin would be happy to help if you want to get your feet off the ground. Ask for Mike and tell him Steve sent you.
If you want to try something a bit more adventurous, there is a seaplane that runs out of Williamstown at a slightly higher cost.
Of course there is always the dawn balloon flights over Melbourne. With chicken and champagne for breakfast you won’t really notice that you don’t travel too far.
On The Road
A regular ferry service runs across the mouth of the bay and so it is possible to travel the loop by road.
There are several Harley ride companies around town. Get
the leathers on and find your darkest pair of sunglasses.
Practice you best James Dean snarl and make ‘vroom, vroom’ noises on the back of a big throbbing Harley.
You’ll know you’ve enjoyed it by counting the bugs on your teeth from smiling so much.
Grab a car and drive yourself. If you have the time to linger, there are plenty of sights to see and places to stay along the way. It wouldn’t be too hard to spend two or three days to complete the loop.
If you are travelling by car then you might like to divert from Geelong and head for Bells beach Ã‚â€“ famous for its waves. It’s not too far out of the way.
…ride a bicycle
Bicycle Victoria holds a ‘Round the Bay in a Day’ ride every year. You get the pleasure of organised puffing and panting for a whole day AND you get to keep the T-shirt.
The big bonus is that the ferry is really cheap for the huffers and puffers!
…mix it up
Trains run down the western side of the bay to the city of Geelong. Take your bike with you and ride to Queenscliff for the ferry.
Once you hit the eastern side of the bay, ride from Sorrento to Frankston where you can pick up a suburban train to complete the journey.
You could be adventurous and travel on local buses. Check here for train and bus timetable information.
Tried it once. Lost interest half way round and caught the bus home. Definitely a summer activity when the passing parade of holiday makers offers some amusement.
Hitch hiking is not officially allowed.
Whichever way you go., make sure that you allow some time to see the sights. This trip has it all – industrial areas, paddocks and cows, bay views, mansions and beach huts, grand yachts and little boats, Urban sprawl,… the works.
If you want to know more about Melbourne look at the following links:
And best of all …. a picture of my boots