We based ourselves out of a cottage in Merricks with easy access to the broad beaches of the region and the many, many vineyards in Merricks and Red Hill. We were surrounded by rambling gum forests teaming with King Louis parrets, Cockatoos, and Galahs. Kookaburras serenaded us early in the morning and we were greeted by a haughty but curious pair of Alpacas in our back field.
|Jus and Chelsea at the Stonier Vineyard a few meters from our cottage|
Given that it has been a wet and chilly winter thus far, we were delighted to welcome a weekend of warm sun and blue skies. Over three days, we fit in visits to five wineries. Wine tastings carried on to more "tastings" back at the cottage followed by cozy dinners and relaxing movies curled up in front of a fire. Lots of beach walking helped exorcise and exercise the energies of boys (young and older) and dogs.
|Point Leo Beach, Merricks|
On Saturday afternoon, we joined a group on horseback for a trailride out to wild Gunnamatta Beach on the Bass Strait. It was J's first real horse experience and pushed him hard outside his comfort zone but he did it and by the time it was over, he'd loved the experience and his sweet horse Chewie, and was very proud of himself. Truth be told, it pushed me somewhat out of my comfort zone too as we trotted through narrow ditches ducking under low branches, trying somewhat in vain to convince our mounts not to chew on the tempting tidbits growing on either side, and making our way through the crashing surf and roaring tide at Gunnamatta. My back is not thrilled a day later but wow what an amazing experience!
|Heath, Porka, Gus, and Chewie|
|Chelsea on Heath, Jus on Gus|
|J on Chewie|
J is loving having his big cousin to play with, to roughhouse with, and to learn from. Justin is an awesome role model who cuts J no slack with rudeness or entitlement. He makes him finish his dinner, excuse his burps, and remember to say please and thank-you. J takes it all with good humour, good effort, and (for the most part) good manners.