December has always been my favourite month as it meant a few special events. Christmas. Holidays. The end of a year and a time of reflection. The beginning of summer.
How I relish those Aussie summers. For the first time in 9 years, I’m spending December away from Melbourne and as you can guess, I’m missing it, sorely. Those long sunlit days, the cool nights, the seemingly never-ending possibilities of summer activities.
Well, I’m a few thousand miles away now so I’ll have to relieve my summer memories through writing. And if you are ever heading down to Melbourne for the summer, this could give you some ideas on what you can get up to.
So here we go – 5 things I miss the most about Melbourne Summers…
1. Christmas Gatherings
As a Christian, Christmas is always a special time for me as it is when we remember the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. With Christmas being held at the end of the year, it is also a time to reflect on our personal walk with God and how we can draw closer to Him in the year ahead.
So I love Christmas, for the significance to me as a Christian. I also love it as a season to gather round for Christmassy meals. Summer is the time when Australia’s produce is bursting with freshness and I reckon that makes our feasts so much better – one advantage of living in the Southern Hemisphere!
Being blessed with such beautiful produce, lots of Aussies cook and I must say, there are a lot of good home cooks out there. Just watch an episode of Masterchef Australia and you’ll see what I mean. And by personal experience, there are a number of people in my church who are masterchefs in their own right. I had the privilege of being invited over to their homes for Christmas lunches and dinners during my time there.
It was always a cosy affair, leisurely chatting and fellowshipping over delicious roasts, decadent desserts and fresh fruit, followed by singing of Christmas hymns and testimony-sharing. Ah how I miss these gatherings!
Being inspired by these masterchefs and fresh produce, I also had a hand in cooking up a couple of Christmas meals. A tiring affair I must admit, but oh so satisfying to see my guests enjoying the food and company!
Sigh, how I miss those meals and cooking up a storm. Don’t you agree that such feasts are a nice way to end the year?
2. Cherry Picking
Like what I mentioned earlier, summer is simply bursting with fresh produce and cherries are no exception.
I loooove cherries and once they are in season, they become my staple snack. So every summer, we take advantage of the season and pay a visit to the cherry farms.
There are many cherry farms to choose from in Victoria. I’ve blogged about my delightful experience at U-Pick cherries which ended off with a most delicious afternoon tea at The Piggery Cafe – quite a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon if you ask me!
3. Pippi Picking
Besides cherries, pippis are best picked in summer. You can’t get pippis fresher than them being handpicked from the beach right? So with many of us that love those fresh pippis, we have made a few trips to Venus Bay in the past summers to pick them.
It is quite a journey making that 3h drive. Fortunately, Venus Bay boasts some beautiful scenery so we always enjoy the roadtrip down, planning out picnic lunches too.
With those pippis in tow, we get to whip up some delicious dishes which means more meal gatherings! Yay!
It is hard work picking those pippis. There is an issue now with pippis being overpicked in Victoria so there are limits imposed as to how much we can pick. We have also found that over the years, it is getting harder to pick up to our limit. So we always try not to pick the baby ones and usually leave with less than our limits given. Oh dear, I hope that the pippi population can remain sustainable!
With later sunsets, the days feel longer and it only makes sense to take advantage of the extra daylight to do some exploring. So summers always meant at least 1 roadtrip in the works.
There were short roadtrips like a day trip to Geelong, to longer roadtrips like Great Ocean Road, Wilson’s Prom and Mornington Peninsula etc. Whatever it was, roadtrips always spelled out an adventure waiting to happen, and that made many wonderful memories.
5. Summer evenings
Even as the nights get shorter in the summer, the cool weather with the lingering warmth of the day still entices you to stay out a little longer.
So that meant a whole wealth of possibilities to spend those summer evenings – Shakespeare Under the Stars, suburb-hopping to view the Christmas lights, BBQs, catching the Australian Open, walking along the Yarra River or just chilling over a gelato. Ah, there always seemed to be something to do even after sundown!
Those were the days indeed. Oh well, it’s been a good 9 summers and I’m thankful for all of those memories. Anyway, if you’re fortunate enough to spend summer in Melbourne, you would know what I would recommend you to do!