Soak up the laidback lifestyle of the Mornington Peninsula with crisp sea air and great local tastes only an hour away from Melbourne CBD. Discover the local galleries, spas and cafes in seaside villages or escape to the hinterland for gourmet delights at boutique wineries.
We had a chat with Adam Nicholls, founder of Wine Compass Australia, and found out his favourite spots around the region. Based in Mornington Peninsula, Adam started the wine tour company, Wine Compass 3 years ago, which runs exciting tailored, private tours with behind-the-scenes access. And they've just reached their 500th tour - how impressive!
HOW TO GET THERE
Follow the coastline from Melbourne via Frankston to access Port Phillip bayside towns (Mt Eliza, Mornington, Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento, Portsea). To access villages alongside Westernport Bay (Tyabb, Hastings, Flinders), take the M1 linked with the Western Port Highway.
For a quicker journey of ony an hour, take the M1, join the Eastlink tollway, take the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and then Moorooduc Freeway.
From Southern Cross Station, take a train (runs every 15-20 minutes) to Frankston, then connect through Hastings to Stony Point.
Buses from Melbourne travel to all areas of Mornington Peninsula and local buses operate around each village. For further timetable info, contact Public Transport Victoria (PTV) on 13 16 38 or visit PTV.
- Merricks Creek - a small winery a little bit off the path which has only had a cellar door for about a year. They do small sharing dishes and it’s a great place to enjoy a casual lunch. Favourite dish: Roasted tomatoes, Main Ridge Dairy goats curd and grilled ciabatta.
- Montalto Piazza - a beautiful indoor outdoor setting. They do a 'Feed me' menu where you can enjoy a wide range of different dishes from their menu. Favourite dish: confit duck legs, orange & juniper marmalade (close second is char grilled kale and brocollini, miso and sunflower which is served as an entree and is amazing).
- Polperro - a little bit higher end, but still casual, this place has a great menu with wine and winery setting that will also really impress. Favourite dish: Slow cooked lamb shoulder, salsa verde and smoked yoghurt.
- Port Phillip Estate - the most spectacular winery setting with wines to match. A nice selection by the glass, it is a great place later in the day to enjoy a tasting and then a glass of wine taking in the spectacular view over the vines and out to Western Port Bay. Also has local beers, soft drinks and coffee
- Quealy Winemakers - although not officially a place to grab a drink, this is a favourite tasting for its authentic setting where you taste inside the winery, the wines here are innovative and different and it is an all round quality wine experience
- Red Hill Brewery - grab a tasting paddle and taste their great range of beers in a bush setting. Their deck is a nice place to relax at the end of a long day. They also have local wine, cider, coffee and soft drinks.
- 2 Macs Farm Sunday Lunch - this is an immersive farm experience. You will spend a day eating seasonal food prepared in their kitchen, wandering the grounds and generally experiencing the farm.
- Flinders Golf Course, Golf Links Rd Drive - head past the "No Through Road" signs and drive alone the edge of the golf course with spectacular views out to Western Port Bay, Phillip Island and Bass Straight. A little known place to take in some of the best views on the Peninsula.
- Blue Range Estate - a little known winery that has views of the bay to match Arthurs Seat. It is closed for renovations until mid-November, but their owners have big plans. It's a good place to check out ASAP before everybody else cottons on.
- Polperro Villas - one of the premier boutique accommodations in the area. Combine winery setting with luxury villas and it is a magical place to stay.
- Harmony B&B - for a quaint family owned B&B experience near beaches and the Hot Springs this is a real winner. Very friendly service and nice setting.
- Quarters at Flinders Hotel – a little cheaper than other hotels around, which makes it great for those on a budget. Lovely accommodation choice and also offers pub meals and drinks in the evening.