Get us in your inbox

Search
Two people in puffer jackets and beanies walk along a wooden boardwalk towards the beach.
Photograph: Supplied/Cape Schanck

Things you can only do on the Mornington Peninsula

Relax, recharge and get ready to indulge your senses at this coastal oasis, just one hour from Melbourne

By Time Out in association with Visit Victoria
Advertising

It’s the boot-shaped stretch of idyllic coastline that so many of us know and love: the Mornington Peninsula. Flanked by Bass Strait, Western Port and Port Phillip, this little slice of paradise is considered Melbourne's most enticing playground. Why? Because there are world-class wineries to discover, gourmet goodies to gorge upon, fabulous boutiques to shop up a storm in and art-filled galleries to marvel at. Oh, and did we mention the beaches? From wild ocean waves to quiet, sun-drenched coves, they are all pretty spectacular. Now, grab your overnight bag and hit the highway – the Mornington Peninsula is calling your name.

Think you know everything there is to see and do on the Mornington Peninsula? We've teamed up with Visit Mornington Peninsula and Visit Victoria for their 'Stay close, go further' campaign to bring you a fresh take on what makes this region so special. Here are the experiences that drive visitors to return year after year, and have cemented the Mornington Peninsula as a must-visit destination.

Natural wonders
Photograph: Supplied/London Bridge

Natural wonders

Wild beaches, sand dunes, towering trees, hinterland gardens and fertile farmland – when it comes to the Mornington Peninsula’s natural wonders, the list is a long one. Thankfully, we’ve rounded up a few of the highlights, starting with the Flinders Blowhole. A wooden boardwalk leads to the blowhole (which is located between Cape Schanck Lighthouse and the township of Flinders), and the views of the Bass Strait coastline are breathtaking. Have your camera ready to capture the moment the water swells and sprays into the air. Next, make your way to see London Bridge. This impressive arch-shaped rock formation is a sight to behold, and at low tide you can explore right around the base of it. Budding photographers will want to make a beeline for Number 16 Beach, one of the peninsula’s most scenic sites. You’ll find more epic rock formations here – Dragon Head Rock is easily identifiable – as well as rock pools and crumbling cliffs. We recommend going down at dusk to watch the sun put on one helluva light show.

Signature dishes
Photograph: Supplied/Montalto

Signature dishes

Want us to let you in on a little secret? While the Mornington Peninsula may be regarded as one of Victoria’s finest wine regions, we’re here to tell you its foodie offerings are just as excellent. Kick off your feasting with a sesh at Mock Red Hill, an orchard that grows biodynamic apples, pears, avocados and cherries. Enjoy a long lunch in the alfresco dining area– where you can nibble on housemade sausage rolls and duck rillettes – and be sure to wash it all down with a mulled apple cider, served warm with spiced rum and dehydrated orange. Head to Montalto in Red Hill for a picnic extravaganza like no other. In a secluded corner of the estate you’ll be treated to a wine tasting, three-course lunch and a bottle of your favourite drop to take home and enjoy later. Blankets are provided and the open fire will be roaring to ensure the cosy vibes are at an all-time high. To complete your culinary education of the region, pop into Mornington’s Tar Barrel Brewery and Distillery. The woodfired pizzas are the must-eat item on the menu, and you can play it safe with a classic margherita, or try something a little different with the spicy chorizo – trust us, there’s no such thing as an average slice here. And don’t forget to order one of the gin tasting paddles, too.

Advertising
Museums and galleries
Photograph: Supplied/Manyung Gallery Sorrento

Museums and galleries

Art lovers will find plenty to satisfy their cultural cravings when they come to the Mornington Peninsula, with a number of galleries to peruse. Manyung Gallery Sorrento has more than 200 works on display, including sculptures and paintings. Exhibits change monthly, and you can even book in for a private consultation if you’re in the market for a new addition to your collection. Also in Sorrento, &Gallery Australia is dedicated to presenting mid-career and senior artists who have dedicated their lives to their creative practice. Each month there is a new solo exhibition, but you can also check out the Salon (a visible stockroom), wander through the sculpture yard or find out more about the new NFT program. Everywhen Artspace in Flinders specialises in contemporary Australian Aboriginal art, and features works from more than 40 Aboriginal-owned art centres, as well as independent artists. Browse the venue and you’ll discover ceramics, weavings, wood sculptures and dot paintings.

Boutique shops
Photograph: Supplied/Olieve and Olie

Boutique shops

If you’re keen to give your credit card a workout while you’re down on the peninsula, these are the boutique shops you’re going to want to visit. Green Box Eco Shop in Sorrento is all about showcasing the very best in environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethically made goods. All the products – think skincare, linen throws and bamboo homewares – are sourced direct from some of Australia’s finest craftspeople. Olieve and Olie in Rosebud is a family-run business responsible for producing a range of all-natural lotions, creams and soaps made using Australian-grown olive oil. Each item is free of artificial additives and preservatives, and contains only raw, unrefined ingredients. Look for the old train carriage at Benton Rise Farm in Tuerong and you’ll find a small community-focused market selling fresh, organic produce from local farmers. Depending on what’s in season, you can stock up on everything from leafy greens to eggs, mushrooms and berries.

Advertising
Bodies of water
Photograph: Supplied/Bushrangers Bay

Bodies of water

The Mornington Peninsula is home to more than 190 kilometres of coastline (that’s 10 per cent of Victoria’s total coast), so if you love being close to the water, you’ve come to the right place. Bushrangers Bay on the rugged Bass Strait side of the peninsula is a gorgeous cove surrounded by towering basalt cliffs. It’s not a swimming beach (thanks to the strong rips and large waves), but the 2.5-kilometre trail down to the sand is worth it for the epic views and abundance of birdlife. For a beach you can actually dip your toe in, head to Sorrento Back Beach. Patrolled during the summer months, it’s a watery playground for divers, surfers and swimmers. Visit at low tide if you want to explore the rockpools. Devilbend Reservoir at Tuerong is a peaceful inland haven best explored on foot. There are a number of easy walking tracks that weave around the shoreline and through the surrounding bushland, or you can bring along your fishing gear and cast a line from one of the platforms.

Memorable accommodation
Photograph: Supplied/Jackalope

Memorable accommodation

A busy Mornington Peninsula itinerary calls for somewhere warm and inviting to collapse into after a day of wining, dining and exploring – and it just so happens we’ve got the scoop on the region’s best digs. Let’s start with Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate, located in Dromana. These three self-contained cottages are each equipped with a walk-in wardrobe, wood fireplace, spa bath and private deck. Best of all, it’s just a short wander over to the on-site cellar door. Love the Peninsula Hot Springs? Now you can stay overnight in one of the ten premium glamping tents. With full ensuites, heated flooring, top-quality linen and direct access to the geothermal mineral springs, you won’t find a more rejuvenating accommodation option. And then there’s Jackalope, a 45-room luxury hotel tucked away in the vine-covered hills of Merricks North. Boasting not one but two award-winning restaurants (Doot Doot Doot and Rare Hare), plus a cellar door and 30-metre infinity pool, it’s a destination in itself. Do yourself a favour and book a couple of nights here – one is definitely not enough.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising