Suspended from the eastern side of Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay, the Mornington Peninsula offers an easy escape from the frenetic environs of Melbourne without having to go too far. Combining wild, empty Bass Strait shores and lighthouse-topped promontories, with bucolic inland valleys of vineyards, orchards and farms, the landscapes of the peninsula offer a tempting winter escape or summer weekend away from the city. And although the gleaming towers and 5-star hotels of Melbourne may seem like a distant memory, the Mornington peninsula serves up its accommodation and excellent dining options in a much more relaxed way. The pace of life is slower out here on what seems like the edge of the world. Luxury hotels and lakeside villas on the Mornington Peninsula specialize in wood fires, spa baths, hampers for picnickers and intimate restaurants designed to make your evening out draw out into the small hours. If bigger hotels aren’t for you, the peninsula features dozens of discreet private holiday homes which you can rent for however long you like. There are endless adventures and taste experiences awaiting you on the Mornington Peninsula. You might never go home.
60 Tiberius Rd, 3941 Saint Andrews Beach, Australia
Rating: 9.0 Superb
Situated within 500m of St Andrews Beach, Yaringa St Andrews is the perfect place for travellers who are searching for a secluded beach getaway that has the feel of a luxury hotel. It is only a short drive from the Peninsula Hot Springs, Rye Ocean Beach and St Andrews Beach Golf Course.
The large, modern beach house has a bright, open plan kitchen and living room. There is floor to ceiling windows and two sets of full-length sliding doors that open to an outdoor entertaining space. Guests can utilise the well-appointed kitchen to create a gourmet spread, or step outside for a grilled meal from the BBQ. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms there is plenty of space for larger groups who are looking to take a private getaway.
The bathrooms are designed to feel open and warm, cleverly using earthy, wooden tones. The main bathroom has a rain shower and bath, whilst the master ensuite features a rain shower, double vanity, and deck access. The large backyard is fully fenced and secure. There is an outside shower for guests to rinse off after visiting the nearby beach, and there is plenty of grassed space for visitors to play or picnic.
25 Harrisons Road, 3936 Dromana, Australia
Rating: 9.3 Superb
Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate is a luxurious and secluded haven which overlooks a picturesque lake. Located on the grounds of a family-owned winery, the luxury hotel villas are surrounded by vineyards, perfect for any wine connoisseur. They are five minutes’ drive from Safety Beach and ten minutes from Arthurs Seat State Park.
Each villa is fully self-contained, allowing guests to experience their stay in complete privacy. The villas are contructed entirely over the lake, creating the sensation that they are floating through the vineyard. The warm wood fire, open plan kitchen and large amount of natural light make the rooms feel inviting, while the double spa bath, premium linens and Appelles Apothecary toiletries add to the luxury experience.
A short walk from the villas is Stillwater Restaurant, one of the Mornington Peninsulas’ finest dining experiences. Head chef and owner, Zac Poulier, uses locally sourced fresh ingredients to bring his visions to the plate. Also located on Crittenden Estate is the award-winning Crittenden Wine Centre, where visitors can taste and learn about the estate’s diverse wines. Guests can enjoy the experience at their own pace and are guided through their wine tasting by qualified and attentive wine educators.
Trent Jones Drive, 3939 Cape Schanck, Australia
Rating: 8.6 Fabulous
At RACV Cape Schanck Resort, the contemporary design and modern comforts are enhanced by the beauty of the surrounding natural environment. Located on the Mornington Peninsula, this secluded luxury hotel is within a 15-minute drive of the Peninsula Hot Springs, stunning Bushrangers Bay and historic Cape Schanck Lighthouse.
The well-appointed rooms have floor to ceiling windows, giving guests a magnificent view of the surrounding area. The spacious rooms feature plenty of natural light, comfortable seating areas and a well-lit, luxurious bathroom. Guests have access to complimentary Wi-Fi, room service and a choice of pillows.
At the resort guests have access to a wide range of premium facilities. The experienced therapists at OneSpa can provide a range of beauty and wellness treatments. For those looking to relax outdoors or be active, the resort has a pool, fitness centre, spa, sauna, tennis courts, walking trails and golf course. There is also a games room and playground facilities for the children.
The restaurants at RACV Cape Schanck Resort showcase the finest-quality regional produce. At Cape, diners can delight in a modern grill menu, while Samphire serves contemporary Australian cuisine with stunning views of the bay. Mantellina offers an Italian-influenced menu in a relaxed setting.
Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, located on the Mornington Peninsula, is one of Melbourne’s award winning wildlife parks. Guests can explore the park, wandering through bushland to see 70 unique Australian animals. There are many experiences available at an additional cost, which allows you to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s best wildlife. All of this while being surrounded by stunning native flora. There is even an option to book yourself onto a night tour, which is a great opportunity to see nocturnal animals come to life.
No visit to the Mornington Peninsula is complete without a visit to the natural hot springs in the area. Peninsula Hot Springs brings visitors the ultimate relaxation in an idyllic coastal setting. The geothermal mineral waters fill the baths, offering a truly blissful experience in this award-winning environment. With many types of treatments on offer around the property, it is recommended to book your choice, before arriving, to avoid disappointment. The property also has many dining options, allowing visitors to spend the entire day here.
Set amongst their own vines, is the stunning Paringa Estate Winery. Visitors are able to taste the magnificent collection wines at the estates cellar door, which is also on site. An experienced wine guide will be able to explain the wines and make recommendations for a drop to take home. Also on site are two fabulous dining options. One of these is the Paringa Restaurant; a two chef hat award winner and a culinary favourite in the area.
Head out in nature, and breathe in the fresh air, as you walk the Two Bays Trail from Dromana to Cape Schanck. The entire track is 26 kilometres long, and while walking enthusiasts could complete this in one day (8 hours of walking to be exact), those who are wanting more of a laid back pace, can break the trail into several sections and complete them over a couple of days. While walking along the Two Bays Trail, you will come across spectacular ocean look outs and breathtaking scenery.
Visitors can spend days in Sorrento, making it a specific holiday destination in itself. Wander the streets to admire the historic buildings, and visit the Nepean Historical Museum and Pioneer Cottage. Lovers of shopping will love browsing the antique shops and designer boutiques. The ocean side town has a wonderful stretch of beach which is the perfect place to relax. It is also a great spot to head out on dolphin watching or swimming, fishing charters or set out for a relaxing kayak.
The main reason to holiday and stay on the Mornington Peninsula is for the stunning beaches. With all of them having something wonderful and different to offer, you could spend days exploring up and down the coast. There is a great boardwalk to checkout in Mornington Peninsula National Park. For surfers, there are some great surf breaks in the area especially Gunnamatta Beach. Make sure you head to Safety Beach and visit Provincia Food Store to sample some local produce and look around the Marina.
A unique experience like no other. Fly like an eagle and admire spectacular views from the highest point of the Mornington Peninsula from an aerial gondola. The views will stretch from Port Philips Bay to the Melbourne Skyline. Each gondola offers surround views for everyone, including those needing wheelchairs or who have prams with them. The complete aerial tour takes 15 minutes, with the highest point being 305 metres high.