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Mornington Peninsula

***Disclaimer: this blog is very punny, proceed with caution.

Hello Pilgrims,

Funny seeing you here... Just kidding welcome back.

My time is winding down in Melbourne. I have been creating a to do list of things to do before I leave. There is no way to take advantage of everything that Australia has to offer, in just a year but I can do the highlights.

About an hour outside of Melbourne is Mornington Peninsula. Mornington is a region with a lot of beaches and it is a favorite holiday destination for Melbournians. My friends and I took a day trip to Mornington Peninsula.

In Australia, to be eligible for a second visa in Australia, I could do similar farm work for about three months. Due in part to timing, but mostly my own personal qualms, I decided not to. The weekend adventure was lovely because I was with friends, the weather was nice, and I literally got to enjoy the fruits of my labor. This experience coupled with my dairy farm adventure, I'm confident that farm life isn't my first choice of lifestyle.

We went at the close of the cherry picking season so the admission to the farm and price of the cherries as well as coat of admission were discounted. On the outset, we were advised that we would really have to go looking for the cherries. We grabbed buckets and set out on the orchard. At first, the pickings were slim. Most branches had been picked clean. The remaining cherries were either overripe, eaten by wildlife, or just plain out of reach.

As we walked toward the center of the orchard we started finding more and more bountiful trees. Moment of honesty: I had no idea of what I was doing. Fruit picking seemed easy enough but when faced with the reality of doing it, I suddenly had more questions:

Do cherries ripen off the vine? How long do cherries last once picked? What does a ripe cherry look like? Should I keep the stem while picking?

Who knew? In the middle of the orchard I consulted the experts. After watching a three minute YouTube video, I was ready. The weather was cool, but sunny and the company was great, and the cherry on top (see what I did there) was we were also able to pick plums in another part of the orchard. The plums were nearing their peak so they were easy picking.

After our orchard adventure, we headed to lunch and a vineyard. I've been to a winery or two in my day, and I think this is probably the best executed. The PT Leo estate had an elaborate gift-shop, a full restaurant for sit down dining, a bar area where they had scheduled wine tastings and a sculpture park (admission not included) on the vast grounds that borders the sea.The wine tasting was already booked up (it was Australia Day weekend), but we weren't sour grapes about it.

I couldn't have asked for better weather that day especially since the weeks prior were plagued by the Australian Fires. The Saturday we went had live music. It was a surreal moment when at this beautiful vineyard, on this wonderful day... the acoustic guitar player sang Nate Dogg (and later Curtis Mayfield). The sculptures in the park were very unique and featured prominent artists from Australia and abroad.

Although,we weren't allowed to touch the sculptures, my friends and I were able to interact with many of the sculptures. We even became a human sculpture of our very own.

After the sculpture park at the winery, there was still enough time to squeeze one more activity out of Mornington Peninsula. We hoped in our caravan and drove down to the beach at Rosebud. At this moment, I wished I had watched Citizen Kane so that I would make some smart comment. I haven't yet, but one day I will and that comment will by sooo witty.

The day was beautiful, the sky was blue the sun was warm, but none of us were prepared for the impromptu visit to the beach. We hung out on the beach for a while just joking and enjoying the day. One of my friends and I rolled up our pants to walk out on the sandbar at the beach. It was my first time on a sandbar and we were able to walk out about 1,200 ft (400 m) from the shore.

Unfortunately we had to wade thru a bit of water before reading the sandbar, so I left my phone on the shore with friends. I've already lost one phone to the ocean while here in Australia.

You guys will just have to take my word for it. But I promise I will make a bigger effort to bring my action camera with me on more excursions.