Mornington Peninsula is a great side trip from Melbourne, whether as a relaxing weekend trip to escape the big city or a fun day out to explore. Personally, I loved it for the gorgeous sandy beaches and coastal walking tracks offered a stones throwaway from Melbourne.
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Take your pick from wineries, stately homes, gorgeous lighthouses and miles of blue, blue coastline. Other highlights include pampering yourself at the Peninsula Hot Springs or taking in the marvellous viewpoints at Point Nepean National Park. Read on for the best places to visit on your next Mornington Peninsula day trip or getaway.
Due to restrictions in Victoria and beyond, please travel safely. Be sure to check any travel restrictions before planning trips at this time.
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
by Lucas from See You There Travel
Located in the Mornington Peninsula’s winery region of Main Ridge, the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm is Australia’s second largest producer of strawberries. From November to April each year the farm invites the public to go strawberry picking in their fields. It makes for a great family friendly activity, or a fun stop before a day of winery hopping.
Entry is $10 per adult for a 500 gram punnet of strawberries, and $5 per child for 250 grams. Upon entry, you will be given an empty punnet to fill, and staff will show you which fields have the best strawberries that day. Make sure you pick only red, ripe strawberries, as they will not ripen any further once picked.
Sunny Ridge also features a shop with every type of strawberry inspired food you could think of, from strawberry wine, jams and chocolates, to fresh strawberry ice cream. The farm can get busy during weekends and school holidays, so arrive early to secure a carpark and to snag the best strawberries. This also ensures you miss the afternoon sun, as there is little shade once you’re out in the fields.
After you have picked your berries, consider having lunch at one of the regions many wineries. The Mornington Sun Vineyard is just a 3 minute drive from the farm, and features a cellar door and delicious wood fired pizzas.
Mornington Peninsula Wineries
by Monique from tripanthropologist.com
Just over an hour from Melbourne are the Mornington Peninsula wineries, many of them with wonderful views to the sea and to Western Port Bay. They range from charming with small high quality Chardonnays and Pinots (like Merricks Creek winery), to spectacular architectural showcases with sculpture parks, fine dining and luxury villas.
Montalto and Point Leo Estate have extensive gardens, sculpture trails and restaurants. Montalto excels in wood fired pizza and Point Leo has two sophisticated restaurants. Vineyards such as Crittenden Estate and Polperro have luxury villas set among the rolling green countryside surrounded by rows of vines.
Cellar door sales and wine tastings are offered by many of these wineries but delivery and wine sales, such as by Ocean Eight, means that you can sample and take home the region’s wines on a day trip without necessarily staying for lunch.
The wines themselves range from Chardonnay, Pinot, and Shiraz to sparkling wine but most are made by families and that makes for friendly, warm and convivial service amongst beautiful scenery.
Point Nepean National Park
By Helena from HelenaBradbury.com
Point Nepean National Park is located at the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula and is the perfect combination of easy walks with incredible views, pristine beaches with turquoise water and historic significance to learn about.
Point Nepean is full of forts and tunnels as it was used for a quarantine station in the 19th century, then later as fortifications in WWII. The fortifications are now open to the public to explore, with information and displays for visitors to learn about the history.
There are several walks to do in the national park which vary in length, so there’s something to suit everyone. The walk to the Fort at the tip of the park is the most beautiful, with the calm blue waters of Port Phillip Bay on one side and the wild waves of the Bass Strait on the other. The walk is on a paved road and mostly flat, but there is a shuttle bus that runs every half hour from the quarantine station car park to the fort. TIckets cost $12.
The walk from Gunner’s Cottage down to the historic Cattle Jetty is just a short walk through the bush on a clear path. It leads out to a beautiful white sand beach with calm, clear waters and it’s usually much quieter than other beaches further up the Peninsula. Here you could easily spend an afternoon swimming, reading or enjoying a picnic with views of the fort in the distance.
The Southernmost tip of the peninsula brings you to Cape Schanck. The cape’s walking tracks and boardwalks are the only ones I visited near Melbourne that competed with the coastal walks in Sydney. For me, these well-maintained footpaths were the highlight of the area, and at Cape Schanck I was wowwed by the rugged rock formations rising from the endless ocean views. While you’re there, make a stop at Cape Schanck Lighthouse, a limestone structure built in the 19th-century. From the viewing platform, you will have more stunning views across the Cape. Families may also enjoy the Arthur’s Seat Eagle cable cars.
From the lighthouse car park, you can begin one of the coastal tracks. Personally, I enjoyed the Bushranger’s Bay track, those with more time could embark on the 26km hike, known as Two Bays Trail.
by Erin from Aussie Mountains to Sea
Balnarring is located just one hour from Melbourne, on the Western Port side of the Peninsula, halfway between Hastings and the ever popular Flinders, Balnarring is somewhere everyone should stop in. Balnarring is one of our favourite places to visit outside Melbourne.
The central hub of Balnarring is the group of shops and cafes in town. There are lots of great little shops which include all the essentials as well as lovely eateries. The Red Hill Bakery is a family favourite of ours, they serve great food and coffee as well as ready made take home meals featuring local produce.
Balnarring beach, village reserve and the foreshore are all worth exploring. There are great spots for families to explore protected waters, picnic, enjoy the playground and wander along the trails. For surfers there are plenty of surfing location options in and around Balnarring, although you’re best to ask a local if you’re looking for the best break.
From Balnarring, we would highly recommend a visit to Merricks General Store and Shoreham Beach.
Boasting both an historic village lined with limestone houses, and a truly breathtaking coastline, Sorrento is the perfect spot for any Melburnian needing a relaxing escape from the city. Head first to Diamond Bay, a stunning sandy beach to for swimming and relaxation. Next, take a stroll along the boardwalk to the Bay of Islands viewpoint.
I also followed the boardwalk further through the bush to enjoy the view from St Paul’s lookout. It’s also only a 20-minute walk to the viewpoints along Coppin’s track or (in the opposite direction), around Diamond Bay to Jubilee Point.
On the other side of the bay, enjoy the Millionaires Walk before watching the sunset over Sorrento pier. There are many charming restaurants and accommodations in this area, so it’s an ideal spot to stay overnight if you’re looking to treat yourself.
by Fiona from Travelling Thirties
London Bridge is a rock formation located on Portsea’s back beach. From the car park follow the signs to the lookout to get a beautiful bird’s eye view of the impressive amphitheater – this is the perfect photo spot. London bridge is made of sandstone and the structure you see today is the result of thousands of years of weathering from the wind and waves. At low tide, or if you’re adventurous and there’s a break in the waves, venture inside London Bridge and listen to the crash of the waves as they’ll tumble through the “portholes”.
Once you are inside London bridge you can climb up onto the outside and explore the rocks. If you’re on the shorter side or with youngsters, you will need to stretch your legs to get back down into London bridge. Make sure you are comfortable around water and rocks before heading into or onto the rock formation as this is not a patrolled beach.
When visiting the Mornington Peninsula, we stayed in the cutest Airbnb I have ever seen, called Windmill Cottage, located 10 minutes outside of Mornington.
PENINSULA HOT SPRINGS
by Jessica from JessicaPascoe.com
One of the best things to do when visiting Mornington Peninsula is to relax at the iconic Peninsula Hot Springs, a 90 minute drive from Melbourne. This award-winning natural hot springs and day spa is based on thermal mineral waters that flow into a variety of well-positioned pools and private baths. With stunning views, various dining options and creative ways to relax, you can’t go wrong at the hot springs.
You can choose one of three booking options. The most accessible option is ‘The Bathe House’ from $45 per adult which includes access to thermal mineral pools, reflexology walk, Turkish hamman, sauna, family pool, baby baths, the Bath House Amphitheatre and numerous other experiences. You could choose the Spa Dreaming Centre, adults-only section from $110 per adult which includes massaging bamboo showers, Zen Chi massage, hanging tree pods and poolside lounges or finally you could choose the Private Bathing option for $175 per adult and enjoy a private geothermal bathing either indoor or outdoor. There’s also an on-site spa with lots of options to help you relax and detox.
If you’re visiting as a couple or without children, I highly recommend booking into the adults-only section or treating yourself to the Spa Dreaming Centre Dine and Bathe for some guaranteed tranquility, as it can get quite busy and noisy with splashing children!
by Pauline from Beeloved City
Located only 20 minutes away from Melbourne CBD, Brighton Beach is a great place to stop by, on your way to the Mornington Peninsula. This coastal town is particularly famous for its beautifully colourful bathing boxes, making it one of the most instagrammable spots in Australia.
You can easily get there from Melbourne by train or car. Walking up the promenade is a great thing to do as you will get to enjoy the views of the Melbourne skyline on one side, the Mornington Peninsula on the other and the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes in front of you. You are allowed to swim at Brighton Beach so if you are going on a nice day, make sure to take your swimming costume! But the best thing to do is to look at the beach boxes. They are quite an institution in the area. They’ve been around since the 19th century! Nowadays, they are used as a beach shed to get changed and store water sport equipment. A lot of owners also use them to have a picnic on the beach.
Each bathing box features a different theme and colours. The most famous is the one with the Australian flag. It’s one of the first ones you come to, from the car park.
If you are into photography, you will love Brighton Beach. There are so many photo opportunities to fill out your Instagram!
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Hi, I’m Cassie, and I’ve been solo travelling the globe since May 2018. In this time, I’ve backpacked around Southeast Asia, Japan and The Balkans, alongside spending a year living in Australia. Currently isolating in New Zealand.