Melburnians know how to summer – the whole city escapes to seaside coastal towns from Portsea to Point Lonsdale – but they also know how to winter, in front of log fires, slurping full-bodied vino and splashing around in hot springs. That’s why God invented the Mornington Peninsula. Just an hour or so drive out of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect blend of cool coastal towns, lush bushlands for walking and cool climate wineries.
The rich red soil makes Mornington Peninsula fertile ground for abundant seasonal produce, endless vineyards and the spread of wine snobs. Quaff along the endless wineries and foodie options, from Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove in Red Hill (where you can spy peninsula views) to the exquisite Rare Hare Food and Wine in Merricks.
Summer is all about the Port Phillip Bay and luxe seaside towns like Portsea and Sorrento where elite Melbournites escape to bump into their city neighbours over a perfectly brewed macchiato amidst enticing boutiques and restaurants. For those looking to don oversized sunglasses and truly escape there are plenty of windswept stunning shores to wander and bake on. Many a day can be spent at the lifesaving patrolled Portsea Back Beach shuttling from towel to kiosk for lunch or Sorrento Foreshore for calmer kid-friendly paddling.
For history and wildlife rolled into one, the Coolart Wetlands and Homestead in the charming town of Somers is a sprawling historic mansion where kids can wander the grounds and spot koalas and birdlife. Then stop by the Somers General Store, which has been a fixture since 1927 for local produce, like delicious cheeses and the ideal salty side to a day at the beach: fish and chips.
If beaching or quaffing isn’t in order, the Mornington Peninsula promises adventure for those big and small, like the giant tyre slides and mazes at The Enchanted Adventure Garden in Arthur’s Seat. Or hiking any number of beautiful bush trails.
So why stay in town when there are so many reasons why Mornington Peninsula is the coast for all seasons?
The Mornington Peninsula region spans 723 square meters, necessitating that cars be the primary mode of transportation. In the coastal villages closest to the tip of the peninsula (Portsea, Sorrento, Blairgowrie & Rye) it is generally no more than a 10 minute walk to the beach or village shops. The winery regions are more rural and widespread, making it necessary to drive to the shops. A small number of Uber drivers and taxis exist within the region, but should not be relied upon as the primary mode of transportation. Buses are the only mode of public transport beyond the end of the train line at Frankston. Check out Vroom Vroom Vroom, to compare car rental options and rates if you are keen for a self-guided tour.
#luxicobucketlist top 5
1. Enjoy the views and a sneak peak into Portsea's multimillion dollar homes along the majestic clifftop walk
2. Take a horse-back winery tour through Red Hill before stopping for a rustic outdoor pizza at T'Gallant
3. Book a Swim with the Dolphins tour to get up close and personal with the dolphins and seals off the Sorrento back beach
4. Explore the weekend craft and farmers markets in Red Hill, Mornington and Emu Plains
5. Eat, shop, eat, shop, then shop some more in Sorrento's main street