This part of our journey could easily be done in 2 days. We even came across road bike riders who were cycling the entire Phillips Bay (over 200 km) in one day. But, we chose to take it slow, took lots of pictures, chatted with strangers, and enjoyed the ride.
Cold but sunny weather greeted us this day. We had been staying with a lovely couple Barrie and Jenny who we’d met at a highway rest area north near Goulburn several weeks before. To say we “hit it off” was an understatement. From the moment we said “hello” at the rest area we clicked chatting for over an hour. Barrie and Jenny had invited us to their home and sure enough, two weeks later, we gave them a call..
Me: Barrie, I don’t know if you remember me. This is Penny from….
Barrie: Of course, from the rest stop. How are you?
Me: Great! We’re heading back towards Geelong and just realized that you live nearby.
Barrie: Have you got plans for accommodation tonight?
Me: Not confirmed but we have some ideas.
Barrie: We’re heading to Geelong now for dinner. We’ll just stop and pick you up. You can stay with us. What time does your train arrive?
An hour and a half later when we hopped off the train there were our new friends waiting with their “ute” (pickup truck) to take us to their home.
We had a blast! Great conversation, delicious food, beautiful coastal walk, sightseeing in Queenscliff, and relaxation in a home..
Ocean Grove to Rye: (47 km)
After eating a leisurely breakfast, Barrie, Eric and I cycled to Queenscliff. As I’ve mentioned before, Eric and I love having a fellow cyclist lead us out of town. With a tail wind, a cycle lane and a cycling path the entire way, it was easy to appreciate the scenery.
We missed the 11:00 am Queenscliff to Sorento ferry by several minutes so we had a good excuse to linger over a coffee at the ferry cafe overlooking the harbour.
After boarding the ferry we found a large table in the lounge area to lay out our maps and plan the next few days of our journey. After learning that it was Food and Wine festival weekend in Sorento, we decided to ride north along Phillip Bay to secure lodging before we got too cold that afternoon. (It’s consistent that the days turn cold around 3:00 pm.
After checking into motel and buying food for dinner, we hopped back on our bikes and cycled north about 5 km to watch the many kite surfers (wake board + kite) taking advantage of the strong winds. Many of the surfers were amazing to watch: jumps, 360s, tacking, switching feet.
Rye to Frankston (57 km)
This was a very cold, windy day with the threat of rain always at our backs. As soon as we stopped into the Information center (I-stie) in Frankston the sky let loose. The freezing rain reminded us why we were choosing to head back up north.
When the rain let up a bit, we cycled 5 km east of town to the Frankston Motel. With plenty of daylight to spare and the rain subsiding a bit, we rode back to town and found a movie theater where we watched “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy. The movie was a little slow, but the theater was warm and dry.
Frankston to St. Kilda (55 km)
This was a great riding day, sunny and dry. We found the Long Beach Trail which took us north about 20 km.
We then headed west and found a coastal trial that took us the entire way into St. Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne. The route included many nice photo opportunities and no stress because we weren’t on a highway.
I loved this ride and could see doing this often if I lived here.
We found the reasonably-priced Cosmopolitan apartment hotel in St. Kilda where we decided to stay for four days to rest, catch up on personal business, and do general planning for the rest of our time here in Australia.
St. Kilda to Melbourne (12 km)
The ride into Melbourne from St. Kilda is so easy that we did it many times over the four days we were there. Aside from business items like topping up sim cards, banking, writing emails, and calling family, we did lots of sightseeing: riding the tram to the end of the line, visiting the National Gallery, attending an organ/tenor recital at St. Michael’s Unifying Church (my favorite), cycling the Capital City Trail in both directions, listening to many great street musicians, taking advantage of the “coffee culture”, seeing the movie “Aloha” which we both enjoyed, and eating some tasty pizza (our only restaurant meal this visit to Melbourne)
Due to the Queen’s Birthday filling up all the hotel rooms, we had to change hotels on our last night. The Duty Manager Andrew at the Seasons Hotel Melbourne, is my new best friend. He upgraded our room to a beautiful one bedroom apartment with a beautiful kitchen, balcony, washer/dryer, and king sized bed. We really relaxed but also found it hard to leave the comfort of our first “real” apartment since starting this trip.
Although this segment of our trip was quite short, the slower pace and the variety of activities was just what we needed to mentally charge up for the next couple of months.