Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Day trips around Casey and Cardinia

As it is Holiday time I thought you might be interested in a few local day trips. The trips originally featured in the book The Herald Short Tours. I picked it up for $2.00 in a second hand book shop. There is no publication date, but the original owners had annotated the book with the dates on which they did some of the drives, so this puts the date of publication sometime after February 14 1966 (the day we changed to Decimal currency) and April 14, 1968 - the first date listed in the book. It has a number of tours varying in length from 29 miles (about 46 kilometres) to 226 miles (360 kms). Below are some of the drives that take in parts of the City of Casey and Cardinia Shire.

This first trip, Go south to Beauty, covers much of the Shire of Cardinia - it starts at Dandenong then goes through Berwick, Pakenham, onto Bunyip (the easternmost town in the Cardinia Shire) onto Gippsland to Drouin, Triholm, Nyora. We then re-enter the Cardinia Shire at Lang Lang, travel around Western Port Bay to Tooradin, then back to Dandenong via Cranbourne. This would still be a good trip today, it is 150 miles (or about 240 kilometres) though perhaps the part from Dandenong to Pakenham could no longer be described as leisurely. The deviation at Pakenham East (as the town which developed around the Pakenham Railway Station was officially called at this time) onto the back road to Nar Nar Goon is still a good option as it takes you through not only Nar Nar Goon but Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip. Views of French Island can be seen from Lang Lang and Tooradin and Koo-Wee-Rup was once a part of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp but is now the biggest producer of asparagus in Australia.

The second trip, Trip to Fishing Village, which is 82 miles or 131 kilometres also goes through Tooradin. Tooradin is still picturesque and a good spot for a picnic and for fishing, but is no longer a commercial fishing centre. Just out of Tooradin, off the Tooradin Baxter Road, are the three coastal towns of Cannons Creek, Warneet and Blind Bight, on Rutherford Inlet. Cannons Creek and Warneet were initially fishing camps with a few holiday shacks. It was around the late 1960s and early 1970s that the permanent residents moved in. Blind Bight is a newer town, with the first land sales held in 1974. The coastal towns are
well worth a visit as there is significant remnants of coastal vegetation, interesting cliff formations, mangroves and a good spot for bird watching and fishing.

The trip then goes onto Pearcedale, which was known as Langwarrin until 1905. Pearcedale is at the south western end of the City of Casey and is still market garden area. The trip then takes you to Frankston, a popular sea side resort, back to Carrum Downs to Dandenong. Carrum Downs, now in the City of Frankston, was part of the Cranbourne Road Board when it was established in 1860 and in the Shire of Cranbourne Boundaries until the 1994 Council Amalgamations.

Our last trip, the Varied Scenic Run, takes us through the northern section of the City of Casey. It is a run of 60 miles or about 96 kilometres. In the late 1960s you would have seen bushland, new housing areas, market gardens and an occasional orchard. If you done this drive in 1968 and not been back to the area in the intervening 42 years, then you might be surprised to find that your trip along Heatherton Road now takes you through Endeavour Hills. The first land sales for this suburb were held in 1973. In 1968 you would have passed Brundrett's Roses in Narre Warren North which was established in 1926 and is now a Housing Estate. Another surprise would be the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre. The area occupied by the Shopping Centre, which opened in 1980, was a farm in 1968.

The book suggests that this would be an ideal drive to run in a new car or for a new driver. The drive would be a bit busier today than it would have been in 1968, however if it was undertaken in peak hour it would certainly give Learners experience in driving along busy roads!

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