MERRICKS, VICTORIA – walking on the mild side

A car may come along, but it probably won't.

A car may come along, but it probably won’t.

Like most right-thinking people, we ate and drank more than was absolutely necessary over Christmas. Fortunately we did it in an area with ideal places to walk off the damage and the guilt.

I’m not talking serious hiking here, just gentle morning strolls on beach, country lanes or rail trails.

The Mornington Peninsula, the strip of land between Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bay is Melbourne’s summer playground.

The Port Phillip side is the busy, almost suburban one, boasting all mod cons and proper shopping. Westernport is more rural – farms and wineries, broken by patches of forest. We’re committed Westernporters.

Port Phillippians pity our lack of attractions. Where are the cinemas and bars? Where’s the nightlife? Where’s the golf and the surf? And those daggy shops…!

As we listened to the New Year’s Eve fireworks popping from the distant side of the hill, we toasted our good sense in choosing the quiet side.

Westernport towns (Hastings, Bittern, Balnarring) stock the basics, but they are a little dull. We like that.

Merricks General Store. Once a general store, now a restaurant and wine outlet.

Merricks General Store. Once a general store, now a restaurant and wine outlet.

Westernport beaches are not great for swimming, at least by Australian standards. They’re generally safe, even for kids, but there is no surf except at Point Leo. Somers Beach has all but disappeared, replaced by a stone sea-wall protecting the now rather run down Somers Yacht Club.

Shoreham is rocky. Merricks is famous for the seaweed that sloshes in the water and clings to the legs and hair of swimmers.

They’re all excellent walking beaches, however, with rockpools to browse at low tide. And they’re seldom if ever crowded.

Merricks Beach

Further inland there are lovely walks too. It’s been many years since a railway ran between Merricks and Red Hill and we don’t expect it back any time soon. Meanwhile the route has been turned into a 6 kilometre trail for walkers, joggers, mountain bikers and horse riders.

Red Hill rail trail

Victoria has led the way in building these rail trails. Would that other states could emulate them. The Red Hill to Merricks route is well used, but not so much that it becomes overcrowded. We still manage to wish everybody we meet good morning.

There are a few busy roads cutting across the Peninsula, though there are plenty of quiet ones too, attracting serious and recreational cyclists to their rolling hills. I must bring the bike down here some time, though I’m intimidated by some of the fast-moving traffic on narrow roads.

A few more warning signs would help…a bit.

Kentucky Rd 2

We haven’t been getting down here often enough. We must do it more in future.


Filed under travel photography, Travel-Australia

11 responses to “MERRICKS, VICTORIA – walking on the mild side

  1. I love the walking trails, but give me a beach with surf any day.

  2. What a beautiful place. These trails are to die for. Nice!

    • Thanks Angelia.

      The combination of native eucalyptus with the darker (introduced) radiata pine is very attractive, though perhaps not environmentally ideal.

      But it is an area where considerable attention is paid to preserving the environment and there is a lot of bird and animal life in the bush that remains.

  3. Looks good Richard and hopefully no forest fires nearby?

  4. I love a walk in the country, it is something I do when visiting my parents in rural NSW and with my Dad when we visit family in New Zealand. Merricks looks like a place where I could easily relax.

  5. Walking that trail through the bush with the three of you and the dog – that’s one definition of heaven, I’d say. I can almost smell it, and hear the wind in the treetops and the crackles and rustles in the leaf-litter on the forest floor.

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