Thursday, May 13, 2004

AUSTRALIA Day04//25.Jan.04 - Sun, Sea, Strawberries & Scent: St. Kilda, Strawberry fields, Lavender farm & Phillip island

This long day started with a drive along St. Kilda's beach, with quirky beach/vacation houses on one side, and the sea on the other side. We stopped at a lovely arts and craft market along the beach. Melbournians are quite a creative and artistic lot! Works of arts made from recycled, gum trees, shells, springs, etc. It was quite a feast for the eyes. Next on the itinerary was fish & chips for lunch at Mornington, popular with local sun/sea/sand-worshippers. After that, it was a pleasant drive to the strawberry farm. We made a pit stop at Arthur's Seat which gave us a grand view of the peninsula before continuing on to the farm. At the farm, instead of strawberries, the first sight that greeted me at the farm was bowls piled high with scoops of ice-cream in shades of pink. Tourists seated at the open air café were spooning Sunnyridge's strawberry ice-cream with triangular wafers. Instead of joining these merry strawberried-out tourists, we were given punnets and ushered to the fields. Strawberry picking was a blissful affair. Every sighting of a plump, rosy strawberry is greeted with joy and ceremoniously plucked and carefully arranged in the punnet to ensure maximum capacity!

Pink gave way to purple as we made our next stop at a lavender farm. We were given a tour and history by the owner on how she converted a barren patch of land into rolling hills of lavendar shrubs. The tour ended with lavender tea and lavender cookies overlooking the serene landscape. Simply lovely!

One more stop at a koala sanctuary before we reached Philip Island, in time for dinner. After dinner, we huddled up against the freezing cold winds and waited for the penguins to waddle up shore. Didn't expect them to be so adorable! They were so cute, especially when they waddled about that it was worth the long ride to Philip Island and back.


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