Victoria has its own version of the Seekers MorningTown song – Mornington Peninsula – and this sunny utopia is only 90 minutes from Melbourne. It’s a favourite weekend retreat for Melburnians, and easy to get to for interstate and international visitors. Here’s why you should go too.
Picture rolling hills covered in olive groves and vineyards. Beautiful uncrowded beaches. Local produce sold by the roadside in farm gate stalls. All reminiscent of an idyllic European countryside. There are 60 wineries with cellar doors available for tastings around the hinterland areas of Red Hill, Balnarring and Shoreham. And no shortage of restaurants and cafes dishing up outstanding local food either. Many offer spectacular views across the bay and countryside. Local produce includes berries, cheese, apples and lavender – a foodie’s heaven.
If you love golf, the natural undulations of the peninsula provides the perfect terrain for a challenging round. You’ll find courses designed by golfing greats such as Greg Norman, Peter Thompson and Tony Cashmore. Peppers Moonah Links offers a driving range, practice facilities and award winning courses. Golfing widows can spend their time relaxing at the onsite Endota Day Spa. The hotel rooms and one bedroom suites have views of the 18th green of Legends Course, the swimming pool or private central putting green. Other leisure activites include tennis, healthclub, bicycles, volleyball, badminton and croquet.
Weekend markets showcase the best of local craftsmanship and gourmet produce. Crowds flock to Red Hill on the first Saturday of the month (except winter) to visit over 300 stalls. Stock up on everything from homemade treats to intricate leather goods and organic beauty products.
For a soothing weekend away, there are fabulous hotels with day spa facilities. Woodman Estate is one of Mornington Peninsula’s most stunning landmarks. This gracious country house overlooks a private lake with its own island. The onsite Spa Retreat offers top-to-toe pampering from a 30 minute hand massage through to a 6 hour ‘Ultimate Renewal’ treatment, including light lunch and gift pack of products. Their Lakeside Chalets are right on the water’s edge and offer penthouse style accommodation – it’s pure luxury, elegance and privacy.
What else? Soak in the therapeutic waters of the Peninsula Hot Springs. Drop into the charming fishing village of Flinders. Breathe in the cleanest air in the world at Cape Schanck (the air is bottled by CSIRO scientists!). Visit stylish Sorrento with its trendy boutiques and galleries. At Portsea, take a peek through the roadside hedges at the million dollar mansions belonging to Melbourne’s glitterazzi. Pop into the Portsea Hotel, grab a drink on the deck and soak up the views. Heaven!