Mornington Peninsula Destination Guide
Mornington Peninsula holidays
Hugging Port Phillip to the west and traced by the northern Bass Strait, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is a popular coastal escape for local Melbournites who take advantage of their weekends by antique hunting, wine tasting and soaking in the seaside surrounds south of the city. Farms, gardens, galleries, beaches, boutiques and breweries fill the Mornington Peninsula, flaunting a little slice of European living just an hour from inner city Melbourne. After you’ve sampled some of the regional delights on your Mornington Peninsula holiday, cool off in the welcoming waters that frame the coast, or get a little steamy at the natural hot springs that grace the peninsula.
Whatever your perfect holiday encompasses – adventures out on the ocean, a relaxing round of golf, scouring artisan markets or having your fill of hand-picked fruit – chances are you will find it in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Be amazed at Australia’s oldest hedge maze, Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, and the equally captivating Enchanted Maze Garden at Arthurs Seat, or make it a full day of the arts with a visit to the McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery. Don’t forget to treasure your time away and invest in some R&R with a dip in the thermal baths at the Peninsula Hot Springs & Day Spa, plus a side-trip to the sauna or panoramic hilltop pool.
Victoria’s love affair with everything gourmet extends all the way to the Mornington Peninsula, with bio-dynamic orchards, sustainable seaside cafes and micro-climate vineyards strewn throughout. Some 50 cellar doors take residence in the Mornington region, including hallmark Pinot Noir and Chardonnay drops as well as a variety of reds and whites cultivated by the maritime climate. Make good food and wine the focus of your holiday with a guided tour of the region’s epicurean hot spots, and be sure to swing by the markets at Red Hill, Montalto and Mornington to sample summer-fresh cherries, delicious dairy products, handmade chocolates and other seasonal indulgences that feature heavily on the menus of many Mornington Peninsula restaurants.
Finish off your day of decadence by retreating to an elegant bed and breakfast complete with crackling fires, clinking champagne glasses and the whisper of the surf rolling in for the evening. There is a wide range of Mornington Peninsula accommodation to choose from starting in Frankston, curving around to Sorrento at the apex of the coast and along the east to Flinders and Hastings. Relish a stay at Rye’s luxury Aquabelle Apartments by the beach, get back to nature with a romantic rendezvous at the Big Blue Backyard at St Andrews Beach or indulge your inner greenie with a holistic eco retreat at Hummingbird, Red Hill.
Shopping in Mornington Peninsula isn’t about a mad dash or errand-filled outings. Take pleasure in a well-deserved spending spree at the designer boutiques, vibrant markets and chic retro traders that make the region a retail lover’s paradise. The peninsula’s close-knit villages offer a great diversity of shops, spas, galleries and eateries to enjoy, especially in the major hub of Mornington. Splurge at the upmarket pockets of Portsea and Sorrento where retailers cater to a well-heeled community, or opt for something more eclectic in Hastings and Tyabb, which have earned a reputation for their antiques and old-world charms. Serious collectors should set aside a few hours make a beeline for the Tyabb Packing House, Australia’s largest antique centre.
Mornington Peninsula Like a Local
Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is made up of more than 30 seaside and hinterland villages, oozing appeal for their artisan lifestyle and leisurely ambiance. The coastal district is an easy hour to traverse from top to bottom, boasting a medley of waterfront restaurants, Mediterranean-style mansions perched on windswept cliffs and vineyards tucked away down quiet country roads. Hit the open road from Melbourne in your hire car and soak up the crisp Mornington Peninsula weather from the bays to the hinterland. To embrace the enviable local lifestyle, simply enjoy all the iconic indulgences like fine wine, a game of golf, a stroll on the sand and a meander through the farmers’ markets.