Arthurs Seat Climb

It was a cold spring morning in Rye. I woke up in the dark asking myself, “are you sure?” Despite I had readied my cycling gears, getting out of bed for a ride was never easy. The Mornington Peninsula has been a cycling friendly region, cyclists are welcomed and tolerated (yes imagine you are driving behind a big bunch riding at 30km/hr along Point Nepean Road) to ride at anytime of the day. I wanted to start early as I always enjoy riding in the morning, free from the traffic.

I walk quietly towards the living room, with fear of waking up my kids, put on my gear in the dark, turn on the bike light and off I went. I rode along the relatively flat Point Nepean Road with a tail wind on my back, towards Sorrento. You’ll have difficulty finding a better stretch of road for a warm up ride, cars free in the morning, with the sun slowly emerging from the horizon. It was sunrise when I made it to Sorrento. I had a little stop near the Searoad Ferry pier before I turned around for the major objective of the ride, The Arthurs Seat climb.

Brief stop near the Searoad Ferry pier in Sorrento.

For the fit cyclists, the Arthurs Seat climb is steep but short. One climb is never enough and many of them do loops as part of their training. It is a very popular climb for obvious reasons. The climb itself is very well documented, therefore I won’t repeat here.

It is however not just another scenic cycling challenge, but also a monument in Australia road bike racing. For many years the Arthurs Seat climb had been featured as a stage in the Herald Sun Tour. World class cyclists like Simon Clarke, Stuart O’Grady, Bradley Wiggins, Simon Gerrans and recently the Tour de France winner, Christ Froome, had all been sweating along this climb. During a race day, cycling fans and spectators would be gathering at one of the many hairpin turns along the climb, cheering for their favourites.

I took my time riding towards Dromana before I started the climb. I still needed my legs playing with my children in the afternoon, so climbing once was enough.

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Stopping at one of the lookouts along the climb, with Port Phillip Bay in the background.

At the top I was rewarded with a good view, and of course the descend. If you know what you are doing, descending the Arthurs Seat is a joy. On a dry day in good conditions, there are many hairpin turns to test your skills.

I ended the ride with an easy stroll back to the cottage, time for coffee and of course a dip in the hot tub.


Cycling along the Rye Foreshore

I can’t recall since when the local cycling scene was dominated by the lycra wearing, leg shaving bunches. I have been one of them, hiding in the slipstream, “sharing” the Point Nepean Road with the locals.

Rye foreshore beach access
Beach access from the Rye foreshore trail

Frankly this is not the only way to enjoy your time on two wheels. There are more than 30 bicycle tracks along the peninsula for all abilities. You can cycle along the foreshore from Dromana to Point Nepean. Some paths are strictly for bikes, but many are shared with walkers and even horses; so ride responsibly.

There is a good bike trail along the Rye foreshore. It suits cyclists of all abilities. You can enjoy this trail with mountain bikes and leisure bikes. For road bike with thinner tires, it should be fine as soon as you pump them up to 110 PSI, and bring spare tubes for the gravel sections just in case. I did fine on my road bike and not yet had a puncture. The trail is very scenic and it passes through many shops and attractions along the foreshore.

The The Mornington Peninsula Tourism website already has good information on this trail, parking and supporting facilities. I won’t repeat them here, rather, I’d highlight some attractions and good cafes along the way.

1840 Rye Lime Kiln Replica

Rye Lime Kiln Replica
1840 Rye Lime Kiln Replica

If you make it to here, well done. You are at the west end of the trail. You may continue along the Pt Nepean Road to Sorrento however you will share the road with other cars, please be careful.

Set just behind the sand dunes at the base of Whitecliffs lookout, a replica Lime Kiln has been built by the Rotary & Lions Clubs of Rye in 1989.  It has been sited where once the historic ‘Devine Kiln’ stood, as well as an old loading point where bullock teams would drag wagons loaded with bagged lime into the shallow waters, transfer it to barges, then to small sailing ships, to be transported to a special Limecraft Dock which was constructed c 1849, near King Street in Melbourne. This is nonetheless an important history of Rye, describing lives of our early settlers.

A Mini Kitchen

One of my favourite cafe in Rye, a short walk from our cottages and the perfect way to end your ride. Small in size, big in heart, the name actually comes from owner Amy Minichiello. Fantastic cakes and good coffee, refill your sugar intake here.

Flat White Coffee Banana Bread Toast A Mini Cafe Rye Foreshore
Flat white coffee and banana bread toast with butter from A Mini Cafe

Lazy to Pedal? Rent an E-Bike

The Rye Bike Shop offers rental of bicycles and batteries powered e-bikes. They also provide full bike services and sell cycling accessories.

The Rye Bay Trail is an easy ride suitable for cyclists of all abilities. It is a flat trail along the foreshore, which connects Rye to Dromana through Rosebud. The closest access point of this trial is just 250m from our Rye cottages.


Rye Yacht Club

The sport of sailing is an easy sale, the sparkling water, cool gentle sea breeze (unless you’re into racing), and the occasional visit of dolphins swimming next to you …

Learning to sail at the Rye Yacht Club
Learning to sail at the Rye Yacht Club

What people may not realise are many more benefits, especially for the development of our younger ones. One of my friend’s family have been learning to sail at the Rye Yacht Club for a few summers now.

“How do you sail back against the wind?” I asked. “You go zigzag.” My friend replied. “What happens if the wind and current bring you far out into the open blue waters?” … “Well, you’d learn to work the situation calmly, one step at a time, and you make it back to the shore a better man/woman.”

Well said indeed. At the Rye Yacht Club, they teach you more than the skills of sailing, but to be determined and self motivated towards problem solving. Every Sunday morning during the warmer months, you see kids as young as seven, dragging their little sail boats out, with a smile on their face, ready for their challenge ahead.

Learn to sail port phillip bay rye yacht club
Australian Instructor of the Year 2017 teaches children to sail

The Club ran courses for children, supported by safety boats, and taught by the Australian Instructor of the Year 2017. The second time the Club had won this recognition. People may be mistaken that sailing is a sport for the riches. I was amused when I heard about the costs. The Club is very noble in promoting the sport, and ran by many volunteers. They are a strong community who have supported each other and the sport since 1970s.

You don’t have to be the strongest swimmer nor a dare devil to get into the sailing. It can also be a family sport, about a good morning spent over the calmer waters of the bay.

Come visit the Rye Yacht Club at the Rye Foreshore, just a short walk from the pier, or from our cottages; smiles await.