Last Sunday we had the opportunity to sail the high seas on board Searoad Ferries’ Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry here in Victoria. Queenscliff holds a special place in my heart, its where we use to holiday for 2 weeks over the Christmas and New Year break as a family when I was growing up.
I have lots of special memories of time spent in Queenscliff and I always feel warm and fuzzy as we drive past the Beacon Caravan Park where we use to stay. Those hot summers spent on the beach and late nights hanging out at the caravan park with all the kids. Those were the days when we used to come home when it got dark, often around 10pm as it was the peak of daylight savings.
Searoad Ferries are celebrating their 30th birthday this year! That’s 30 years Searoad Ferries has made Victorian’s lives so much easier by providing this ferry service across the heads of Port Phillip Bay.
Formerly known as Peninsula Searoad Transport, its a fully Australian owned company that operates a roll on/roll off vehicle and passenger ferry service. The route is serviced by two ships, the MV Queenscliff and the MV Sorrento.
The ferry runs every hour during the day and takes approximately 40 mins, with loading and disembarking expect about a 1 hour trip. Alternatively the drive from Queenscliff to Sorrento via road will take around 3 and a half hours during off peak traffic conditions.
The ferry runs between ‘the heads’ or ‘the rip’, a very dangerous stretch of water connecting Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait. Its also the only shipping entrance into the Port of Melbourne. The heads are roughly a triangular area of water between the land points of Point Nepean, Shortlands Bluff and Point Lonsdale.
I was relaxing *cough* doing housework one day when the postie knocked at the door. He had a parcel for Our3kidsvtheworld! I found that strange as I certainly hadn’t ordered anything under the blogs name. I decided to wait until the kids arrived home to open it.
When the kids got home from school we ripped open our parcel with anticipation. and this is what we found:
Most interesting was the letter, addressed to our3kidsvtheworld. When we opened the letter we were excited to be invited to sail the high seas with Searoad Ferries. I love the way the PR Company worded the invite and the kids were already fighting over who would use the new plate and bowl set for breakfast in the morning.
We arrived as advised at 10.40am for boarding at 11am. We promptly went aboard and headed straight to the brunch lounge of the MV Queenscliff. We were greeted by Rosie who introduced to Marley, the lovely ladies that would be looking after us for the duration of our cruise.
Our table was set on arrival and looked very impressive. I was already concerned about how we would eat all that yummy food. The 2 tiered cake stand sat in the middle of the table with savoury items on the bottom and sweet on top. The kids instantly eyed the macaroons sitting on top, while overlooking their very special spread just for them. We were offered tea/coffee and the kids a juice or hot chocolate.
The kids plate included fairy bread, an Aussie staple for kids and a ham and cheese roll all topped with fresh strawberries. They also had an apple and chocolate chip cookies on their side plates and an amazing fresh fruit platter cut into kiddy size bites! As per usual my kids jumped straight at the strawberries and polished them off before the ship left the Queenscliff dock.
While everyone else was swooning over the macaroons I had my eye on the very traditional cucumber sandwiches and feta and spinach quiches. I’m definitely more savoury than I am sweet! The fresh turkey and cranberry roll was just perfect as well. I needed a rest after all the savoury delights before hitting the second course. All while watching the sea roll by out the window. It was a perfect autumn day for sailing, 28 degrees with clear sky cloudless sky and the sunshine was glistening off the shallow swell of the bay.
By this time we were docking at Sorrento, the lovely Rosie offered to look after our bags at the table while we went to explore the ship and watch the switch over of passengers. The ship has two levels for vehicles with an enclosed deck above with the RoRo Cafe and plenty of seating for every one. There was even a small kiddy playground in the corner to keep the toddlers busy during the ride.
The roof top of both vessels has plenty of seating and even a bar in case you were after an alcoholic beverage in the sun. The roof top held all the safety equipment should there ever be an issue. I watched the cars load on at Sorrento and was amazed how quick and smooth the process went, we were soon on our way back to Queenscliff.
Time to go and eat my sweets! No longer had I sat down and Marley brought out warm scones with jam and cream! Scrumdiddilyumptious! The kids were straight into them. We were offered one complimentary alcoholic beverage, Craig had a Corona and I stuck with a Coke. The kids had their juices.
After some of our sweets I took another little stroll around the ferry. The trip back seemed quicker, probably because we went outside and up the front looking for dolphins and sure enough they were up front and centre riding the bow wave. I wasn’t quick enough to get a decent photo of them though. The kids were excited to see the dolphins and Craig spotted a seal sunning itself on some rocks in the distance.
We went back to our brunch table for a little while before docking, we definitely didn’t get through all the scrumptious food however Rosie and Marley provided boxes for us to take the left overs home. Such a nice touch that the food didn’t go to waste and the kids were happy to polish off those scones in the microwave after school on Monday afternoon. nothing goes to waste here!
Searoad Ferries holds a number of special events throughout the year. Not only is the brunch every Sunday at 11am but they also have High Tea on the High Sea on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and for Christmas in July. Both brunch and high tea cost $55 per adult and $35 per child.
Other special events include:
Kids High Tea during the school holidays – $35 per person;
Sail to lunch, includes 2 courses and glass of wine – $39 per person;
Captains Lunch, 1st Saturday of each month from 12pm – $65 per person;
For Searoad crossing prices, includes vehicles and foot passengers please click here.
We had a lovely time, we very lucky to have had such beautiful weather. There’s nothing like sailing when the sun is out and its warm. Brunch on the high seas is definitely a point of difference for Searoad Ferries. The kids really enjoyed the freedom to explore the ship and I could relaxing knowing that they couldn’t get into to much trouble.
The two hour round trip was perfect, there is car parking at the Port of Queenscliff so no need to pay for parking which was handy. The food was delicious and plentiful and I liked that they had kiddy sweet options as well as the lovely fresh fruit platter which my kids really enjoy.
We highly recommend travelling with Searoad Ferries, save yourself the 3 hour drive and jump on board, or if you’re looking for something different have brunch on board just like we did.
Sal, Craig & Our3kids
Disclaimer: We were guests of Searoad Ferries however as always our opinion is our own!
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