Things To Do In Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula is a popular place to holiday, especially Melburnians looking for a quick weekend getaway. The area is suitable for those seeking a family holiday, an outdoor adventure or a luxury indulgence with its diverse attractions.
There are gourmet restaurants, award-winning wineries, beautiful beaches and picturesque walking trails. There’s something to please everyone.
This guide will explain:
– Where the Mornington Peninsula is
– How to get to the Mornington Peninsula
– How big Mornington Peninsula is
– When to go to the Mornington Peninsula
– Where to stay on the Mornington Peninsula
– Where to eat on the Mornington Peninsula
– What to do on the Morning ton Peninsula
Where is the Mornington Peninsula?
Once you leave Melbourne’s most southerly suburb, Frankston you have stepped onto the Mornington Peninsula. You’ll notice the difference immediately as the fresh sea air hits you. The Mornington Peninsula is surrounded by Port Phillip to the west, Western Port to the east and Bass Strait to the south.
How big is the Mornington Peninsula?
The Mornington Peninsula is 724 square kilometres in area and has a population around 165,000. During the summer, the population increases by about 100,000 as both Australians and overseas travellers flock to the coastal area.
How to get to the Mornington Peninsula
While Mornington Peninsula may look far away on a map, it’s actually only an hour’s drive from Melbourne (or 1 hour 30 minutes for some parts). The fastest route is to take the M1 and join the Eastlink tollway. You’ll see some bizarre roadside artwork along the way. Then take the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and then Moorooduc Freeway and you’ll reach the Mornington Peninsula.
Getting to Mornington Peninsula by public transport is possible with trains running from Melbourne every 15-20 minutes. Catch the metropolitan train service to Frankston. From there you can catch a bus that will take you to various stops on the Mornington Peninsula.
For those flying into Victoria, the closest airports are Melbourne Tullamarine Airport or Avalon Airport outside of Geelong.
The most scenic option is catching the ferry from Queenscliff on the Great Ocean Road to Sorrento. The ferry leaves every hour between 7am and 6pm. If you have a car or other motor vehicle, they can be taken on the ferry. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a dolphin.
How to get from Melbourne to Mornington Peninsula
If you’re visiting from interstate or just want to do a day trip down to Mornington from Melbourne and don’t want to drive, there are many tour companies that can pick you up from Melbourne and take you to Mornington. For example, if you’re planning a winery tour there are many winery tour companies that include transportation to and from Melbourne.
When to go to the Mornington Peninsula
Summer is the most popular time to go to Mornington Peninsula but if you don’t like crowds and traffic, then it might be better to book a trip during the off-season in winter. Often accommodation prices are lower at this time too so you can get a good deal.
If you want to avoid the school holidays but still want the warm weather, then the most ideal time to go is February or March before autumn starts to set in. For an even quieter time, book a midweek trip.
Where to stay on the Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula has every type of accommodation option available. Whether you’re looking for luxury accommodation with a vineyard view, a beach house rental or camping under the stars, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
Luxury accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula
There are lots of little boutique hotels and luxury accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula, many of them attached to wineries. The Jackalope Hotel boasts a 28-acre vineyard, 30-metre infinity pool, two restaurants and a cocktail bar. This hotel has 45 luxury rooms including king size beds, complimentary mini bar and a rain shower.
Of course, a room at Jackalope doesn’t come cheap, so if you’re looking for winery accommodation but without the huge price tag, there are plenty of other wineries offering luxury accommodation including Lancemore Lindenderry, Polperro and Crittenden Estate, just to name a few.
Holiday rental properties on the Mornington Peninsula
Planning a beach holiday? While staying at a hotel is always a lovely break from being at home, it’s much more affordable to find a rental property especially if you plan on staying for a while. All that extra money you save can go towards a nice meal at a winery or a scuba diving trip.
Coast & Country has a range of holiday houses to suit any budget. Whether you’re looking for a large house for a big group or a small apartment, we have all accommodation options covered. You can find properties that are pet-friendly, although this must be arranged prior to booking and we charge a $80 cleaning fee.
You can also find properties that have:
– A swimming pool
– A spa / hot tub
– BBQ facilities
– Outdoor entertainment areas
– Sun deck
– Tennis court
– Beachfront access
– And much more
No matter what part of Mornington Peninsula you’d like to stay at, Coast & Country has property spanning from Mount Martha right down to Portsea.
Other holiday accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula
There are so many ways to see the Mornington Peninsula, so if hotels aren’t your thing there is also the option of camping. You’ll find that there are many camping reserves in the area that are right on the foreshore. Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento all have camping facilities that are close to the beach where you’ll get some spectacular views.
Camping isn’t for everyone though, so if you like the idea of camping but want to do the upmarket version there are glamping options on the Mornington Peninsula too. Many wineries offer glamping for couples in luxury tents for a relaxing and serene experience.
Where to eat on the Mornington Peninsula
There are so many places to eat on the Mornington Peninsula, it would be simply impossible to try them all. So we’ve compiled a short list of places to try that include wineries, restaurants and cafes.
Wineries to eat at on the Mornington Peninsula
Montalto is a lovely winery, not just for its food and wine but its beautiful landscape. A visit to Montalto isn’t complete without a stroll along their architecture trail, which features over 30 sculptures that are part of Montalto’s permanent collection as well as finalists from the annual Montalto Sculpture Prize Exhibition which are shown from February through to the end of August.
There are also different food options at Montalto including their main restaurant headed by noted chef Matt Wilkinson. This restaurant has been awarded 16 Good Food Chef’s Hats since it opened in 2002 and features seasonal local and estate-grown produce cooked on their woodfire grill.
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, there’s also the Piazza which is great for group bookings and sitting out on the lawn overlooking the vineyard. Montalto also offers spring picnics that can be booked in advance. The staff will set up a beautiful picnic for you and your guests at one of the picnic sites scattered across the estate for a unique experience.
Mornington Peninsula is home to over 100 wineries, so make sure you do some tastings at a few to see what the region has to offer. Mornington is known for producing excellent pinot noir and chardonnay.
Restaurants to eat at on the Mornington Peninsula
Red Gum BBQ
If smoked meats are your thing, then you need to check out Red Gum BBQ for an authentic American BBQ experience. One of the owners, Martin took up residency at a barbeque joint in South George before he and his wife opened Red Gum BBQ in 2017. The smoker has been imported from Texas and each cut of meat is priced by weight. The restaurant space was once a truck mechanics warehouse so there’s an industrial feel to it but it’s the smell of the slow-cooked meats that’ll get you salivating.
The owner behind Wowee Zowee wanted to create a place where people could come in alone, sit at the bar and talk to the barman or strike up a conversation with the person next to them. On the menu you’ll find fried chicken, but they’re also well-known for their vegan snacks. The Broc ‘n’ Roll is a bread roll stuffed with spiced broccolini, cashew feta and salt and vinegar chips. They also have a great cocktail and wine list with plenty of local and American beers on tap.
Cafes to eat at on the Mornington Peninsula
Merricks General Wine Store
This café is open for breakfast and lunch, so it’s the perfect place to start your day or come in later for a leisurely lunch. Famous for its delicious seasonal-inspired country cuisine, you’ll find house made breads, locally sourced produce and an extensive range of local wines on their menu.
What to do on the Mornington Peninsula
Whether you prefer a relaxing beach holiday or want to get out and about, there’s plenty of options on the Mornington Peninsula. We’ve compiled some ideas to help you plan your next visit to the Peninsula.
Tours on the Mornington Peninsula
There are lots of tour companies that operate on the Mornington Peninsula for a range of activities including:
– Swimming with dolphins and seals
– Wine and food tours
– Walking and bird watching tours
– Cycling tours
If you’re staying in Melbourne and want to do a day tour to the Mornington Peninsula, many companies will pick you up in the CBD and drop you back at the end of the day.
Wineries on the Mornington Peninsula
There are over 100 wineries on the Mornington Peninsula, so we’ll only briefly mention a couple.
This family vineyard started over 30 years ago and they introduced a number of avant-garde pruning and canopy management techniques. The principal focus remains in producing pinot noir and chardonnay. Crittenden Estate also has an excellent restaurant and Lakeside Villas accommodation.
Ten Minutes by Tractor
The winery got its name because the three main vineyards are all located within a 10-minute tractor ride from each other. It was the first organically certified vineyard in the region and each vineyard has distinctly different tasting wine. Ten Minutes by Tractor has an incredible restaurant that is worth checking out too.
Walks on the Mornington Peninsula
There are plenty of walks to do on the Mornington Peninsula including short walks all the way through to a whopping 100 km walk.
The Mornington Peninsula Walk combines four other walks including:
– The Two Bays Walking Track
– The Coastal Walk
– Point Nepean Walk
– The Bay Trail
All of these four walks are enjoyable enough if you’re not feeling up to doing the full 100 km. Other notable walks include:
– Bushrangers Bay Walk
– Red Hill Rail Trail
– Arthurs Seat Circuit Walk
– Baldrys Crossing Circuit Walk
Water activities on the Mornington Peninsula
No matter where you’re staying on the Mornington Peninsula, you’re never far from the water. Some enjoyable water activities you can do include:
– Scuba diving
– Boating and sailing
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can book a tour to see the ex-HMAS Canberra, a former warship which was used to create the first artificial reef in Victoria specifically for diving. Over time, marine life will continue to transform the wreck into an even more spectacular reef.
Landmarks on the Mornington Peninsula
Cape Schanck Lighthouse
The Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve is the most southern tip of Mornington Peninsula and has served shipping since 1859. You can also take a guided tour of the historic lighthouse. There are also plenty of walking trails to do around the lighthouse as well as picnic areas.
One of the fortifications that protected Melbourne during World War I and II. It remains a great example of the evolution of gun technology and Australia’s early defence strategies. You can explore the extensive tunnel complex, engine house and even a bomb-proof room.
Family things to do on Mornington Peninsula
Enchanted Adventure Garden
Kids will love the Enchanted Adventure Garden located in the hinterlands of Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula. There are three challenging hedge mazes, tube slides, obstacle courses, canopy walks and zip-lining.
The Messy Shed
This is a fun and sensory play experience where your kids can have fun playing with paint, mud and craft materials. Each session runs for 45 minutes and best of all the parents won’t have to clean up afterwards!
Wellness activities on Mornington Peninsula
Peninsula Hot Springs
One of the biggest attractions on the Mornington Peninsula is the award-winning Peninsula Hot Springs. Famous for their natural geothermal mineral pools, it’s a great way to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. There are over 50 different pools to explore in the Bath House and Spa Dreaming Centre, including the iconic hilltop pool. For those looking for more wellness experiences, you can also get a massage, do yoga or meditation.