I recently did a post on coastal drive from Sydney to Melbourne (with a few links)…our most recent was from Mollymook Beach (near Ulladulla) as we have a house there (feature photo of rear garden); so this post is Part 2 of that.

The garden in Mollymook (photo above) has been a decade long project – buying/planting a few things when the weather is at it’s peak ie. in Spring or Autumn. The climate here on the South Coast is similar to Sydney…a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney (outside of peak times like Christmas/New Year)…and similar distance to Canberra although the traffic is often lighter on our regular drives “home” to Canberra. In coming years, “home” might be more like Mollymook as now we’ve retired we have been staying longer, particularly when the weather is lovely – which it has been over recent months.

We have four seasons but the winters aren’t as cold as Canberra and surrounds. Our neighbour has planted a banana tree and I was so surprised to see small bananas growing in mid September!…they’re tiny at this stage but even so! 🍌

My feature photo on this post shows a close up of the grafted gums I planted a few years ago. The top photo also shows the kayak which Tony and our sons mostly use on Lake Narrawallee ….around the inlet is great for fishing too – we often have fish for dinner. Our neighbour (with the banana tree) goes deep sea fishing and sometimes shares his catch with us. Recently we had a freezer full of fish! A popular fish recipe is at the end of this post 🐟

It’s a 5 minute walk from our house in Mollymook to the main beach which can be seen below the house in photo below (not ours unfortunately!)…I like walking along this hilltop street as many of the gardens are gorgeous…

This walk also leads to Rick Stein’s Mollymook restaurant where we went for our recent wedding anniversary. It was gorgeous as can be seen by photo below; we were there for the Friday lunch which is a great deal and we plan to do again before the summer crowds arrive, when this Friday lunch ends – probably until next Autumn.

Flower (lily?) on railing matches umbrella…surely a coincidence!

and a few more glimpses of gardens taken on my walk home from Rick Stein’s restaurant – Spring is around the corner and the weather has been glorious (20ish today C)…

Many native flowers can be seen including 1 of my favourites – grevillea…love way they attract native birds + bees etc

First photo above gives a close up of gorgeous lily type flower near where we dined (on outdoor balcony) yesterday. The middle photo are natives; the last photo look like Australian natives but are actually Protea from South Africa. Loved the proteas at the Botanical Gardens in Cape Town (another previous post if you’re a garden lover like me). Back to another love…FOOD!…

More photos from Rick Stein’s restaurant on Friday 23/8/19…menu was part of their regular Friday special lunch deal… https://www.bannisters.com.au/rick-stein/mollymook-menu/

1st pic is view from our table; entree…green mango salad with crispy smoked trout; also a ceviche tuna dish

I’ll search for a recipe for a similar green mango salad (this 1 had crispy smoked trout) and I’ll add it at end of this post; I’ve done a ceviche/tuna recipe post similar to that above…if interested, search for ‘passionfruit’ at end of home page.

Our lunch at Rick Stein’s was delicious (photo above), including the dessert we shared…a panna cotta (not too sweet like some…maybe buttermilk based?) with poached pear and a praline, walnut crumble (just a small amount to give perfect crunch 😋).

Here’s a recipe to start from one of many Rick Stein books that we own:

Green Papaya Salad – P170 – Rick Stein’s book “Coast to Coast” 2008…he calls this dish “one of the world’s great dishes” and if you can’t find green papaya go for green mango instead. We can usually get green mango (papaya as well), from our local fresh food markets in Canberra (Fyshwick) but it’s harder to buy during winter at the coast (clearly Rick Stein has a supplier here!…but we’re not rich & famous like him!).

Serves One:

1 small green (under-ripe) papaya (or mango); 1 teaspoon palm sugar (or light muscovado sugar); a pinch of chopped garlic; a pinch of red bird’s eye chilli (take care… they’re hot!); 5 x 10 cm pieces of snake bean or 5 French beans (halved lengthways); a few roasted, unsalted peanuts; a pinch of chopped, dried shrimps; 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla); 1 tablespoon tamarind water (p281); 4 cherry plum tomatoes, halved; juice of 1 lime.

Another version of above recipe can be found in our Lonely Planet book – Thailand, From the Source (P173)…

We made this last week at the end of winter and we found the green papaya (and all the ingredients) easily at our local fresh food markets – Fyshwick. Here’s a pic from our casual dinner at home in Canberra…

Served with Fish skewers (in a turmeric based rub)…plated up badly so focus on salad!

Other recipes we’ve cooked in this book is:

A RICK STEIN RECIPE BOOK (“Coast to Coast”) DIVERSION (skip over if Melbourne of more interest:):

Mildly Spiced Potato Curry with Cumin, Black Mustard Seeds and Coriander…topped with a poached egg…so a meal in itself. P218

There’s a long list of ingredients in above recipe (although most things many good cooks have in their pantry). I assume there might be a similar on Net? We always add turmeric (preferably fresh)…helps assist brain health my Indian/Australian GP tells me:)

Other delicious sounding recipe from this book include:

Also Lamb – Butterflied (with fresh herbs) P226; P223 Scallops with Noodles; Mussels – P240…an easy 1 I’ll type up at the end; Raspberry and Hazelnut crumb crust tart P244; Buttermilk Pancakes P276; BBQ Prawns P269…we love this prawn recipe; Sri Lankan Fish Curry P203 (also see my Sri Lankan post if interested…we were there this year).

BACK TO THE COASTAL ROUTE TO MELBOURNE – Part 2…

If interested also see last post for helpful links on this route.

Eden – on Far South Coast of NSW…

On our drive not so long ago, we drove from Mollymook to Eden in half a day…stopping for lunch at a great place on the water in Narooma (recipes from their restaurant can be found in our books “South Coast Cookbook” (we have both book 1 and book 2).

We went whale watching with https://www.catbalou.com.au/ . We didn’t do the lunch cruise…we find they’re usually overpriced/ordinary food but we enjoyed the day and saw whales and so many dolphins frolicking beside the boat…

In Eden we stayed at Snug Cove B&B…. http://snugcove.com.au/ (from our experience a few years ago, highly recommended). Here’s are our photos…

The Killer Whale Museum http://killerwhalemuseum.com.au/ is one of the most fascinating small museums we’ve ever visited…read up on the history of the whaling industry in the 1800s – sad but fascinating as one particular whale was trained by whalers to shepherd the others into the cove. Here’s a few photos…a much more tranquil place now…

Photos below…Tony taking in the sea views from our B&B balcony; me reminiscing about times with my Scottish/Australian grandfather who was a fisherman on Sydney harbour in the 1920s-1960s (previous posts/photos show their house on harbour in Balmain).

From Eden we travelled onto Lakes Entrance and stayed there for 1 night. It was a boring/standard/modern (but dated) hotel so we wouldn’t recommend it. If anyone’s reading this and has a more interesting suggestion on good places to stay, please leave a message. I saw that one of the websites I noted in my last post on this coast route did have some suggestions. Of course if you don’t mind driving more than 4+ hours in one day it is possible to travel onto Phillip Island I think? That was our last lovely stop before we arrived in Melbourne.

Along the way we did stop briefly at a famous historic lighthouse – the details of that could be found in the tourist info website I noted in the past post. There’s also a small museum near this lighthouse.

From here we visited Phillip Island…mostly to see the penguins but we also stayed at a memorable guesthouse/B&B called Holmwood Guesthouse. Here are a few photos from that guesthouse…strange thing was that even though it was early December, the weather changed from being hot one day and very cold the next when we arrived at this guesthouse. It was warm and welcoming on our arrival with the fireplace blazing away…

It was particularly cosy at the guesthouse after rugging up to see the famous penguin parade https://www.visitphillipisland.com/listing/penguin-parade/

Here are a couple of photos from the Net…from the Phillip Island site above as photography by tourists isn’t permitted…

While in Phillip Island it’s well worth visiting the main nature reserve where many sea birds can be seen nesting – all just stunning!…here are some photos from the boardwalk which is about 500+ m long…

When we left Phillip Island we took a drive around to Apollo Bay…a pretty part of Victoria with green hills meeting the sea…

Also so many places to explore…forest walks; beachside picnics/strolls as well as small museums like the Telegraph Station…

If feeling energetic, while in Apollo Bay think about doing the walk up to the hilltop lookout called Mariners’ Lookout. We plan on doing it on our next visit…I hear there’s a small carpark part of the way up…might be worth doing mid week when not too busy? Here’s a pic from Net…

View from lookout over Apollo Bay, Victorian coastline

Other interesting things to do in this region include spotting koalas in the wild (you don’t always need to go to wildlife parks to see them) plus picnics in beautiful places…I think the name of this picnic spot was Campbell.

From this point the coastline close to the NSW/Victorian border gets spectacular in parts – particularly along the Great Ocean Road which I’ll write more about another day but here’s 2 basic maps and a few photos…

Some of our photos from the Great Ocean Road below…the day was beautiful and we often stopped for short walks along the way. There is a hike you can do over a number of days – worth choosing either Spring or Autumn, maybe even winter but would recommend avoiding the day long hike in summer.

So it was a lovely, slow trip to Melbourne (a week), with various scenic/interesting/tasty stops along the way.

In Melbourne on that trip we stayed at a B&B in Carlton (169 Drummond Street) which was incredible value for money (photo below) as Carlton is only a very short tram ride to the CBD as well as many cafes and restaurants (mainly Italian) a short stroll away. We had the largest room (with ensuite) on the top floor – recommended!

When we lived in Melbourne in 1986 Lygon St Carlton was very touristy (it still is in parts) but there are also some great places…we just took the recommendations of the B&B owner – and we were impressed.

Over the last few trips we’ve used Lonely Planet’s “Food Trails” book to help us with planning some food related destinations in Melbourne as well (photos below)…

On our very recent visit we went more upmarket for a week at https://treasuryoncollins.com.au/ – we stayed in a loft style apartment with small kitchen & lounge downstairs; bedroom + ensuite upstairs…it was an upgrade! Drinks/snacks were also included from 5 pm on the attractive Mezzanine level. The restoration/renovation of this

Treasury on Collins Apartment Hotel
Drinks on the Mezzanine level as well as breakfast each morning

More things to do in Melbourne (see last post on Melbourne too):

Federation Square…

Not far from Federation Square is the National Gallery of Victoriahttps://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ to see the Terracotta Warrior Exhibition and the contemporary Chinese artist, Cai Guo-Qiang’s exhibition…both were fascinating (photo below).

Before visiting the National Gallery of Victoria we strolled along the Yarra River near the inner city (photo below). We’ve strolled along this river in better weather but it wasn’t cold and the grey skies do add to the uniqueness of Melbourne…a certain moodiness at times with the sun breaking through at unpredictable times.

The 2nd photo here is from a stall at the Queen Victoria Markets

Reminds me a little of London weather but not as cold. In fact in the evening it was much milder than Canberra in July and we enjoyed strolling and (and eating!) around the inner city.

“Flavours of Melbourne” (coffee table book in our hotel) is a series of food related books on Australia’s major cities. I have seen the Sydney one before but this was the first time I’ve browsed through this one. It’s great but I wouldn’t buy it as already it’s becoming outdated and a couple of the places we searched out have closed down or changed names…even after a few years. (The books can be found in many public libraries). However, we did find a few really interesting places they recommended including a Danish restaurant and a Chinese restaurant.

Queen Victoria Markets... https://qvm.com.au/

Melbourne is very multicultural (and generally harmonious)…we loved the colours and variety of the Queen Victoria Markets…

The trams are fabulous in Melbourne…

Photo above…if you’re a first time tourist in Melbourne, the free historic tram is a great way to view/get around the inner city. The regular tram service into most parts of Melbourne is excellent too…we used it a lot when we lived in South Yarra, an inner city suburb in 1984…

It’s similar to those red tourist buses but so much better. The commentary is clear and interesting and there are regular stops at fascinating places such as the Old Treasury Building… https://www.oldtreasurybuilding.org.au/

OLD TREASURY BUILDING – Exhibitions…

Wayward Women? Was my favourite exhibition at the OTB...a few interesting exhibits and information boards below:

The exhibition mostly describes things as they were for women in 1800s Melbourne, Victoria…often difficult!…especially if you weren’t lucky enough to be born into money or privilege. However, the exhibition is in no way bleak plus it encourages a sense of purpose and optimism as the womens’ stories in this exhibition are often inspiring…

There is also an Indigenious perspective throughout all the exhibitions at the OTB…

In the same building there is also an excellent Gold Rush exhibition as well as another that focuses on how World War I affected the people of Victoria.

If you have time after these exhibitions, take a stroll (just around the corner from the Old Treasury Building) to the Fitzroy Gardens…a beautiful place to take a picnic lunch too…

Image from Net of Captain Cook’s historic cottage in Fitzroy Gardens

As usual I’ll end with a recipe (although there is a recipe earlier in this post of course) but it’s now late on Sunday so I’ll do that tomorrow. I’ll make it an Italian recipe seeing that Melbourne has the largest population in the world with Italian ancestry…outside of Italy 🇮🇹 of course! Goodnight!…or morning if you’re reading this on the other side of the world!