MORNINGTON PENINSULA – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
With Mediterranean coastlines and European-style retreats, it’s hard to believe that the Mornington Peninsula is only an hour south of Melbourne. Ideal for that lazy beach holiday, the area boasts stunning beaches, wildlife wanders, wine trails and historical roots worth exploring. Whether it’s the lush green Hinterland or the hustle and bustle of the market scene that excites you, the Peninsula ticks all the boxes for a perfect weekend escape.
WHERE TO STAY
It would be a pity to travel to the Mornington Peninsula without trying atleast one of the European-style accommodation options. Among them is Villa Mallorca which transports guests straight to Tuscany, for a price starting from $90 per person per night in large groups, or from $220 for couples. For those with a little extra cash to splash around, Ocean Blue Retreat is a luxurious rental home, sleeping up to eight guests. Located on the edge of Mornington Peninsula National Park, this lush tropical-inspired hideaway is more than a home away from home. Prices start from $373 a night.
WHAT TO DO
For history buffs, Sorrento is a must-see as the site of the first European settlement in Victoria in 1803. If that comes as a surprise, you can learn all about it at the Collins Settlement Historic Site. Further afield at Mornington Peninsula National Park; check out the Port Nepean military fortifications which still stand after both World Wars. Further east at Briars Park, discover the 1840s estate which houses the Napoleonic Collection, including memorabilia such as his furniture and death mask. If maritime history is more your scene, then head over to the museum at Cape Schanck Lightstation in the south or, for the more adventurous, dive underwater and discover the shipwrecks at The Rip. If you want to give your mind a break, start knocking around some of the 50 cellar doors, most of which can be found around the Red Hill and Main Ridge area. Good food doesn’t usually fall far from the orchard, and a drive (or horseback ride) through these rolling hills will not disappoint. Check out Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm for everything strawberry, including wines, delicious sundaes or get back to basics and pick your own during summer. For something a little more decadent, then the gourmet Topez will satiate any chocoholic. Work it all off by getting lost in The Enchanted Maze Garden, working through puzzles and brain teasers to find your way out. And if you’re up to the challenge, try Ashcombe Maze – Australia’s largest hedge maze.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
While any time of year makes for a welcomed escape to the Peninsula, the cooler months offer an excuse to come and warm up with local wines and gourmet experiences. May is also when the International Cool Climate Wine Show is held in town, but a plethora of other events throughout the year are sure to make your visit an enjoyable one.
Whether it’s by land, air or sea, there’s several transport options to this part of Victoria’s coastline. Metlink trains operate daily throughout the area, as do several buses and ferry operators.
Looking for a short holiday near Melbourne that won’t bash the budget? Quentin Long takes a stroll through the bargain highlights of Mornington Peninsula, finding affordable options for couples and families. I chose Mornington Peninsula because the region has a lot going on for kids. Other alternatives are Daylesford, Yarra Valley and the Great Ocean Road. To do Family It’s all ‘aMAZEing’ with a couple of different mazes. And all the activities I mention below have cafes to feed the kids. Enchanted Adventure Garden is a lot more than just a maze, with an indoor maze, “tree surfing”, tube slides and outdoor...
Score: 7.95 Some of the best things in life involve your palate, so it’s little wonder that the Mornington Peninsula rates so highly with hedonists, tying in at #79. This is the place to hang around farm gates and gather for amazing beach picnics (oh yeah – the coast here is stunning, too); and enjoy the finest of fine dining. From a vineyard-view table at Ten Minutes By Tractor, to Tutti Frutti Artisan Gelato, your tastebuds will have you slavering all over the ridge. So, take a hike, swim with dolphins, play a few rounds of golf – pack the...
Radio presenter and comedian Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross takes a trip down memory lane, to his home town Mornington Peninsula, Victoria 1. In Back of the Holden Three boys in the back of the car. Living in the suburbs your family car is everything. We all used to sit on the tailgate at the beach, the park or when we stopped on a break while driving to a holiday destination. 2. The beach Growing up on the Mornington Peninsula meant heading to the beach all year round. My memories of the beach in winter are as fond, if not fonder, than the summer memories. We walked along...
Not your usual pub accommodation ‘Quarters’ at The Flinders Hotel, Flinders, Vic Part of the iconic Flinders Hotel, Quarters is architecturally designed accommodation, inspired by the natural bushland surroundings. The rooms are contemporary and elegant, worlds away from the typical pub-style hotel.
A classic coastal getaway for large groups, Millers Rest thoughtfully combines family-friendly elements with chic touches of modernity. After a recent revamp, the house includes an open-plan kitchen (decked out in Smeg appliances), large living area, an outdoor entertainment area and all the necessary mod cons: plasma TV, a large DVD collection and even space for your holidaying pets. Several beaches (Montforts Beach, Bridgewater Bay and Fowlers Beach) are a short stroll away, while Blairgowrie village can be reached in 15 minutes on foot. No summer holiday would be complete without fish and chips on the beach, either – and...
Halfway between the crashing surf of Sorrento Back Beach and the gentle waves of Port Phillip Bay is this revamped weatherboard beach cottage, just 500 metres from both. Despite maintaining a heritage-listed charm, this cottage has all the mod cons – Foxtel, an outdoor spa set in manicured gardens, iPod docking station, and three spacious bedrooms; each decked out in the requisite nautical-inspired décor. Aside from the cottage’s close proximity to beaches, it’s also conveniently located on café-strip Ocean Beach Road. Among them is a fabulous family pizza bistro, as well as Koonya general store – an old-fashioned gas station...
While many east-coast Aussies head north for summer, wise wanderers travel south to this idyllic beach haven, writes Elisabeth Knowles. 5 Reasons to visit the Mornington Peninsula 1. The beaches. Surf and swimming beaches abound, as do tranquil bays and stretches of sand dotted with painted changing huts for people who get a kick out of retro visuals. 2. The bush. Hiking is incredible here. 3. The food. There are stacks of farm gates, local produce to sample, and five hatted restaurants within half an hour’s drive of each other! 4. The wine. Vineyards everywhere. 5. The golf. There are...
AT's guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays Sorrento Why do we rate it? On the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, this small, sheltered town offers a family-friendly vibe, wildlife and a multitude of ways to spend the day. Where is it? 105km south-east of Melbourne, a 1hr 45min drive on the Moorooduc Highway. Where to stay The rows of brightly coloured rooms at Sorrento Beach Motel set the vibe for a fun beachside holiday. Ten-room cottage Bayplay Group Lodge is west of Sorrento, near Blairgowrie Beach. It’s great for groups, with a swimming pool and...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes This modernist architectural remnant from the 1950s in Portsea on the Mornington Peninsular is the ultimate in cool; the kind of place in which you could easily imagine James Dean strolling from the bathroom having just had a shave. Brainchild of Melbourne-based graphic designers Mark Young and Mat Windebank, everything about the three-bedroom house – its boxy and simplistic design, the Eames and Nelson, Florence Knoll and Noguchi furniture, Italian lighting and design classic kitchen utensils – is iconic. Original ’50s prints and accessories are complimented by Indigenous artwork and quirky details,...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Delgany Castle is a grand historic property, commissioned by Harold Armytage in the 1920s as a personal residence, and which today has an array of award-winning luxury homes set within its eight acres of well-tended gardens. There are various beachside retreats to choose from, including three or four bedroom apartments and town houses with full kitchen, dining room, modern lounge and outdoor entertaining areas – all reflecting the majesty of the main castle, dextrously designed to blend the old with the new, and all within minutes of The Cutting, with its famous...
Heralded as the wealthiest postcode in Australia, pretty Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula remains warm and welcoming, writes Luke Wright. Out & About: Portsea Heralded as the wealthiest postcode in Australia, pretty Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula remains warm and welcoming, writes Luke Wright. Elementary, my dear Watsons At the end of Victoria’s boot-shaped Mornington Peninsula, one half of the pincer-like promontories that almost enclose Port Phillip Bay, lies pretty Portsea. Less than 100 kilometres from Melbourne, with a few shops and only a few hundred people, the tiny town with the big reputation is regularly ranked as Australia’s wealthiest...
French Island Eco-Tours There’s a hidden gem in Victoria that most people don’t know about: Phillip Island’s larger neighbour French Island. It has a permanent population of less than 60 people and the primary focus is on eco-tourism, making it a secluded and amazing place for bicycling, watching more than 200 species of birds, walks through wildflower fields and heath lands with hundreds of plant species, bus tours and camping. There are no sealed roads, no piped water and it’s independent from outside electricity; 70 percent of the island is National Park, but there’s even more to it than that....
Sometimes it’s good to just throw up your hands and get lost. If it can be done safely – like inside the world’s oldest circular rose maze at Ashcombe Maze and Water Gardens – so much the better. The first of its kind in the world and a garden lovers’ dream, 1200 rose bushes have been specifically chosen for their variety of colours and scents for this ultimate sensory overload. After you’ve roamed through the 25-acre property, in and out of daintily manicured gardens and themed grounds (if mazes aren’t your idea of fun), it’s still a pretty beautiful place...
LATEST ON FACEBOOK
LATEST TWEETSTweets by @AustTraveller
WHERE ARE YOU TRAVELLING TO?
Select a state to view more
- Ultimate Escapes: WA’s Great South West Edge – wine, white sand & wilderness
- Dream road trips: Broome to Exmouth (via the Warlu Way)
- Dream road trips: Esperance to Perth (via Margaret River)
- Dream road trips – Perth to the Pilbara (return)
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #19 escape to the Rowley Shoals, WA
- Your Shot Winner: Two Miles of sunset
- Ultimate Escapes: Queensland’s Wet Tropics
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #11 stay at Lizard Island, Qld
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #54 holiday in Queensland’s triple threat
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #78 walk Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island