Thursday, 28 February 2013

Bathing Boxes & Sandcastles

Whilst staying on the Melbourne Peninsula we have visited the Peninsula Hot Springs. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into the pools providing the idyllic setting for relaxation and rejuvenation bathing in the naturally healing waters of mineral rich thermal waters.

Kevin relaxing in the Cave Pool
The Bath House has over 20 bathing experiences on offer including a Hilltop pool with 360 degree views, reflexology walk, Turkish steam room, sauna, cave pool, family bathing area and much more. A Bath House cafe offers healthy meals when you get hungry.

A view of the pools going up the mountain
The 50°C naturally hot mineral spring water flows from an underground aquifer 637 metres below the surface. The water runs untouched direct from the source to the pools, which range between 37°C and 43°C. Peninsula Hot Springs thermal mineral water contains a range of naturally occurring minerals including sulphur, calcium, magnesium, potassium and many others and is classified as a “Sodium Chloride Bicarbonate Spring” (Na-Cl.HCO3). The therapeutic benefits of the mineral springs are said to include the alleviation of neuralgia, bruising, articular rheumatism, stiffness of the shoulders, recovery from fatigue and muscular complaints and enhancing fertility.

The Silent Pool
It was a shame that it was raining as the views from the hilltop pool where not as magnificent as they can be according to a local I spoke with.

The Hilltop Pool with 360 degree views
We have also driven along the coastline from Rosebud, Dromana, Mt Martha, Mornington and Frankston. All these lovely beachside villages have the famous bathing boxes on the beach.

These boxes are on Mt Martha beach.
For over 100 years the Mornington Peninsula has been and remains one of Victoria’s favourite recreational destinations. Whether residents or visitors, generations of Greater Melbourne families have enjoyed growing up and holidaying on the Peninsula, thereby contributing to the Municipality’s heritage and cultural development.

A great idea to store canoes, chairs etc and somewhere shady to sit.
 The Mornington Peninsula has about 45 km or one sixth of Port Phillip’s coastline. 26 beaches between Mount Eliza and Portsea, home to over 1,300 bathing boxes, boatsheds and similar structures or approximately two thirds of Victoria’s 1,860 total beach boxes. The State Government (Department of Sustainability and Environment) permits occupancy of a beach box on Crown land reserves by delegating the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and other appointed Foreshore Committees of Management to issue a conditional licence or permit for a statutory (three year) period. The responsible authorities apply revenue raised from beach boxes to maintain and enhance the beach environment for all communities and visitors.

Mt Martha Foreshore area.
 The term ‘beach box’ means bathing box, boatshed or similar structure. Beach boxes have been built by members of the community over the past century, and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes often reflecting the architectural style of the period in which they were constructed. Individually, each one is unique in its appearance and character; as a group they are a colourful cluster of historical icons. They are part of the Mornington Peninsula’s identity and Victoria’s cultural heritage.

Mills Beach Scenic Lookout
You can purchase a bathing box if you are a rate payer of the shire. The asking prices can range from $100,000 to $585,000 which was the record set in January 2011 a Portsea when five bidders fought for the property at RT Edgar auction.

Under The Sea Sandcastle Exhibition
 The went to Frankston to see the sand sculptures. After 5 spectacular seasons of sand sculptures on the Waterfront, Frankston is definitely the home of sand sculpting in Australia.

For 4 months from Boxing Day, Frankston Waterfront is transformed as 3,500 tonnes of sand is carved into spectacular sculptures. This year, Sand Sculpting Australia's team of talented International and Australian sculptors will bring to 'life' in meticulous detail "Under the Sea" - a submerged world of breathtaking beauty and foreboding.

This amazing work was the back of a tortoise.
A world where reality and fantasy combine in massive sand sculptures that will delight and enthrall visitors of all ages. Sculptures of Mermaids, Sea Witches, Poseidon and Atlantis will stand alongside Whales, Submarines, Sharks and a Coral Reef.

Atlantis above is said to be the lost city that sank beneath the sea. Believed by some to be the home of civilisation and an earthly paradise. To others, it's merely a fable invented by the Greek philosopher, Plato.

Large octopus in the background.
 The sand used to create the sculptures is Brickies sand and each grain is square in shape. This means that it sticks together better than beach sand which is smoother and rounder in shape. The finished sculptures are sprayed with a bio degradable environmentally friendly coating that gives the sculptures a water resistant coating.

View from a distance and still the detail is seen.
 At the end of the event the sand sculptures are knocked down by a bulldozer and the sand is taken away and stored for next years event. Apart from water nothing is added to the sand it is the hard compaction that gives it the ability to hold it's form. The sand is compacted into wooden structures before sculpting begins and is compacted with industrial machines giving the general size and shape of the piece intended to be created. Whilst these wooden forms are in place the sculptures climb on top and remove the wooden boxing and start creating the sculpture before climbing down to the next level etc so they are standing on the supported sand within the framework on the lower level. No scaffolding or ladders are used.

Sea life council meeting.
The framework is made and filled with sand and water by bulldozers and compacted layer by layer as the forms take shape. Once the top layer is carved and shaped it is sprayed with the coating before the next wooden box structure is removed on the lower level. Although the structures are strong they do require maintenance by the resident sculpture daily to keep them looking their best.

This sandcastle reminded us a lot of Mont St Michael we visited in France.
The finished display opened on Boxing Day and is available for viewing until the end of April. The creations of 22 sand sculptors, both Australian (7) and international ( Canada, England, Portugal, USA, Netherlands, Latvia, Belgium, Ireland and the Czech Republic) have utilized their considerable talents to transform 3,500 tonnes of heavy or brickies sand into 17 massive sand sculptures.

Mermaids or sirens from the underworld.
The solid sand sculptures are of the Octopus Garden, the Mechanical Whale, Battlefish, Feeding Frenzy and the "Bergs" as well as The Dead Sea, Seaport Village, Mermaids, Poseidon, Atlantis, the Dolphin Dance, the Shipwreck, The Sign of the Seahorse Cafe and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea themes.

Above mermaids legendary magical creatures with women's upper body and a fish tail. In Greek mythology, they were associated with sirens, said to have lured sailors onto the rocks to shipwreck them. This is what is depicted in this sculptors design.

In the cut out area viewing the cogs etc there are miniture people carrying out work just extraordinary that such small details can be achieved in the work

Above the whales are the giants of the sea and are mammals although shaped like fish. The exhibit displays many different types from the small harbour whales to large blue whales. The sea ports are usually locations on the coast where ships dock and people and goods are transferred. They often contain support and storage facilities and are sometimes used in a military role.

I was really taken with the roman like landscape sandcastle.
We also had to try the local produce and went and picked our own strawberries at Sunnyside Strawberry Farm only a few minutes from where we are staying.

Holding breakfast for tomorrow.
 Kevin went for a walk out on the Frankston pier on a very windy day whilst I took shelter behind the bushes.

Looking back onto Frankston beach from the pier.
We ended the day at Cape Schanck lighthouse as the sun was setting. We went for a small walk to Bushrangers Bay Lookout. This serene location is contrasted by dark and brooding headlands and wild waves that often crash onto jagged basalt cliffs guarding the entrance to the bay.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse.

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