The journey into Victoria was marked by a major change in scenery.We had been weaving in and out of the mountains of the Great Dividing Range for the last two weeks, but now the roads straightened out and we began to eat up the kms as we headed west towards Melbourne.We were after a convenient spot on route to stay for the night and we chose the tiny town of Seaspray, midway down the incredible Ninety Mile Beach.I managed to convince Andrew to rough it that night, and so we camped in a little rustic site (i.e. with no facilities) right by the dunes, just a 10 metre stagger over the sand to get to the beach.It was my idea of heaven, but Andrew remained unconvinced until he saw the beach, after which he reverted to an excited child seeing the ocean for the first time.To my amazement he ran straight into the sea and started splashing about and jumping into the oncoming waves.I waited to see whether he was immediately gobbled up by a shark or stung by jelly fish before I joined him.The good thing about having someone with you who is terrified of dangerous wildlife is that they are well versed on exactly where they roam - there are apparently no dangerous jelly fish in Victoria, and the only sharks are the elusive Great Whites who rarely come close to shore… I didn't want to remind him about the sea snakes.
After an awesome night at the beach we drove up to the Yarra Valley along one of the most spectacular roads I've ever had the pleasure to navigate, winding through acres of stunning forests filled with dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy of lofty Stringybark eucalypts. Our destination was Healesville, a gentrified country town on the outskirts of Melbourne that serves as the gateway to probably Australia's finest wine-producing region.After the previous night's bush camping we treated ourselves to a decent motel, with red hot power-shower, TV and air-con, and we stayed for two days.We headed out for a full day's wandering about in the baking sunshine, stopping by a number of vineyards to taste some wine and cider and finishing at a local dairy farm for lunch.The highlight was probably the Domain Chandon vineyards, which were just stunning, where we comprehensively tasted our way through their wine list before staggering out with a bottle of Blanc de Blanc under my arm.We also checked out the Healesville Sanctuary so that Andrew could come face to face with some of the Aussie wildlife.They had some pretty interesting stuff there that I hadn't seen before, like Duck-Billed Platypus and the Tasmanian Devil, and Andrew got to hug a koala, albeit a stuffed one.
We left the Yarra Valley for Melbourne, where we were to set ourselves up for at least the next couple of weeks.