The announcement of a Raw Brit gig gave us a great excuse to head to Melbourne, catch up with friends and also tack on a couple of nights on the Mornington Peninsula to make a handy short break.
Friday morning saw Lee catching the ferry up to Melbourne for a day in the SSW office. Meanwhile, Ky packed the car (and Lola) and drove up to Brighton, checking into Quest Brighton on the Bay mid-afternoon. We decided to revisit this property following a good experience last time, the promise of a quiet room and their amazing dog-friendliness. After work, Lee caught a train to Middle Brighton station and met Ky walking with Lola. A quick bite to eat at the apartment and change into gigging clobber, before it was time for Ky to drop Lee off at Morris Moor to meet friends Michael, Craig and Tony at the very busy Stomping Ground Brewery. It was great to catch up with them over a drink, especially after being prevented from accessing hospitality venues for so long during the COVID-related restrictions in recent years. Heading over to the Lucky 13 Garage just after 7.30, we had plenty of time to catch up with many old friends over a few more drinks before Raw Brit finally hit the stage at 9.15pm. They couldn't have opened much better, kicking things off with "Caroline" and proceeding to play three forty-minute sets with short breaks in-between. The second set included "Paper Plane" and the third "Rockin' All Over The World" so the Quo fans had a great night! The gig wrapped up at about 12.30am and Ky did a late-night pickup run (with Lola) for the short trip back to Brighton.
We didn't make an early start on Saturday after our very late night, but 10am check-out meant we had to get organized to head off. The forecast wasn't great for the day but it was dry as we left the Quest so we headed down to Mordialloc for a long walk along Aspendale beach, our old favourite from when we lived there almost twenty years ago. Lola loved exploring the wide sandy beach and we enjoyed checking out the stunning beachfront properties. The weather turned as we were walking, so the return walk to Mordi was quick and very wet. We were glad to find shelter (even with outdoor dining with Lola) at the awesome Conscious Cravings vegan cafe. This gorgeous little cafe is doing great business and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch and coffees, while waiting for the weather to clear. Eventually heading back to the car, we drove on as far as Frankston for another decent beach walk, before wandering into the town centre for coffee and cake at Nature Cafe Bar. It was good to try this popular place and again great to see a vegetarian (largely vegan) place doing so well. Driving on, we stopped at Mornington for a nice walk down to the pier and along the beach before rounding out our drive for the day, reaching our accommodation for the next two nights, Kanasta Caravan Park, in Rye at about 4.30pm. After unpacking in our simple cabin, we wandered down to Rye beach for a final short walk of the day before more rain set in.
After a lazy start on Sunday, we drove to Rosebud for a walk on the beach and tracks as far as Capel Sound. A few showers swept through but we dodged most of them before driving on further to Dromana for another beach walk. Lola enjoyed exploring these new beaches and we'd built up a good appetite, so it was then time to head for lunch at the excellent Wombat Cafe. The only outdoor table with cover was thankfully available so we could enjoy a leisurely lunch and coffees there with Lola in tow. This cafe does amazing business with great food - and we also grabbed more food to take away to save us having to cook dinner! After a long lunch, we drove over to Flinders, waiting out a thunderstorm on our arrival. It then turned sunny and we enjoyed a stroll along the lovely main street with its nice homewares shops and galleries. We stocked up on organic sourdough from Flinders Sourdough and took in the fine views across to Phillip Island from the lookout above the long pier. Flinders has a lovely feel to it, different to the hustle and bustle of the beachside Mornington Peninsula towns and well worth the short drive. Heading back to the cabin, we chilled out and enjoyed our Wombat cafe takeaway food for dinner.
Monday typically dawned nicer than the other days of our trip, being our last day away! We drove out to the Rye back beach with the intention of a walk but sadly, as part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park, no dogs were allowed (even inside the car!). Heading onto Gunnamatta beach, it was unfortunately the same story! We decided to abandon the idea of a walk and instead headed to Hunter, a small vegan cafe near the Rye back beach. We enjoyed a nice coffee outside in the sun and vowed to return for lunch. We drove back to the main beach at Rye and got a good one-hour walk in along the beach and tracks, before returning to Hunter. A hefty shower thankfully passed and allowed us to sit outside the cafe with Lola and we enjoyed a great lunch. Yet again, it was awesome to see a small vegan business doing so well - and deservedly so. After lunch, we drove to Sorrento and walked along the main street and down to the pier, but the showers really set in and we decided to head to the ferry to make our way back over to our side of the bay. The 3pm ferry was quite busy and luckily ther weather cleared up so we could stay on the outside deck with Lola to enjoy the brief journey across the heads to Queenscliff. It was then an easy half-hour drive back to Portarlington.
It was great to get to a live music gig again (our last one being Status Quo in Hyde Park back in September 2019!) and catch up with friends. Our time enjoying the various vegan cafes and lovely towns on the Mornington Peninsula was relaxing, despite the less than ideal weather.