Victoria’s answer to the Hamptons is one seriously incredible spot to spend your days, so our message to John from Married at First Sight is, ‘don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.’
Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula can be easily overlooked by those of us residing interstate, but many who have travelled to this spectacular stretch of Australia will tell you that it definitely deserves to be on your radar.
Dubbed ‘The Hamptons of Victoria’, the stunning Mornington Peninsula boasts incredible food producers and top-of-the-line restaurants that sees Melburnians driving an hour-and-a-half from the CBD to places like Jackalope – just for Sunday night dinner.
There are six big reasons you (John, and anyone else considering the ‘big’ move or a visit) should definitely consider Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
#1: Relaxation, guaranteed
The Mornington Peninsula is an hour-and-a-half out of Melbourne CBD for a reason, it’s supposed to remove you from the hustle and bustle and invoke a sense of escapism. Try lazing on Portsea or Mount Martha beach in a brightly coloured – and seriously iconic – beach box, or a long and leisurely lunch in one of your favourite wineries. Merricks Beach is also one of the most idyllic spots you could choose to rest your head after a tiring work week.
#2: Speaking of wineries…
Mornington Peninsula has them, in spades. One at Pt. Leo Estate is home to 50 acres of vines, and is also a renowned sculpture park and restaurant. Pt. Leo is also one of the closest surfing beaches to Melbourne, just over an hour away. But back to the booze – you won’t find any Pt. Leo wines in stores; the exclusive drops can only be purchased online from the winemakers, or from the cellar door – exclusive much? Crittenden Estate Wine Centre offers a seated tasting to explore its 26 wines, some of which are made from Italian and Spanish grape varieties.
Polperro Wines has been dubbed the ‘coolest new spot on the Peninsula’ – and for good reason. Think salmon-coloured rosé and stunning villas, if too many tastings means an overnight stay is on the cards.
#3: Food and wine road trips are encouraged
There’s nothing better than jumping in the car, tossing the map and just going for it. That’s how you often find some of the best well-kept secrets – and it’s no different on the Peninsula. Bass & Flinders Distillery could be described as a little off the beaten track, but those who have visited will tell you it’s well worth the trip inland.
#4: Food, glorious food
Honey tasting sound right up your alley? Great, because you can do it at Pure Peninsula Honey. Or maybe olives are more your thing? Better book a tasting at Green Olive at Red Hill. Cider tasting at Mock Red Hill is well worth doing too – Walter Mock was one of the first orchardists to go biodynamic in the 1970s and was the starting point for the Peninsula’s first cider bar, which is a roaring success.
Mornington Peninsula’s restaurants are well renowned for being incredible, with Melburnians making the trip on a Sunday just for lunch and dinner. It’s that good. Special mention must go to Jackalope, which does five courses of morsels like scallops, quail, tender lamb and poached blackberries, all grown in its back garden.
2 Macs Farm is truly a paddock-to-plate experience, serving up plump tomatoes, and sunshine-soaked eggplants that accompany organic garlic, grown on farm. Meanwhile, Rare Hare serves up delicacies like truffle salumi and negroni cured trout. Its rose panacotta and milk chocolate brown butter tart are also worth an honourable mention.
#5: There’s ‘the other side’ to discover
While the ‘Hamptons’ side of Mornington Peninsula is well documented, many people are slowly exploring what’s called the ‘other side’ of the Peninsula.
Not scattered with beautiful coastline, the countryside features vineyards that extend into rolling hills and is generally a lot more rustic. It’s definitely worth jumping in the car and exploring. Who knows? You might even come across an undiscovered treasure.
#6: You’ll just want to stay and stay and stay…
Many travellers take their holidays in some of the Peninsula’s more impressive suburbs, like Sorrento and Portsea, with many owning a holiday home there with water views.
You can find houses on Airbnb to rent just by the beach in Sorrento for around $250 a night, but if you’re looking for a hotel, you can’t go past Portsea Village Resort, which gives you that beach house feel whenever you’d like it, without the whole mortgage thing.