It’s fair to say the Mornington Peninsula is Melbourne’s playground – just an hour from the city, it has everything you need for a relaxing weekend away (or maybe a little longer). As well as a thriving food and wine scene, there are natural wonders perfect for rejuvenating a tired soul – from warm-water springs to beautiful bayside beaches and coastal hikes that will fill you with awe.
Take a dip in the hot springs
Who knew there were so many different ways to take a bath? There are 50 different “bathing experiences” available at the Peninsula Hot Springs, one of the most popular attractions on the Mornington Peninsula. Its public and private baths are filled with geothermal water sourced from 637 metres underground that’s rich in magnesium, boron, potassium and sodium – all minerals that have been linked to benefits such as reduced stress and muscle relaxation. The Bath House area includes several tiered pools, such as the cave pool and a cold plunge pool if you need to cool off, while the Serene Bathing area is a sanctuary for people aged 16 and over that has a range of private indoor and outdoor baths. In addition to the natural immersion, there’s a full complement of spa treatments on offer – from organic facials to full-body massages – several onsite cafés and a selection of meditation and yoga classes. (Check the website for up-to-date COVID-19 protocols.)
Explore top wineries and cellar doors
No trip to the peninsula is complete without a day spent touring the region’s award-winning wineries and cellar doors, whether you book a guided tour or create a DIY trail with a designated driver. If opting for the latter, there’s a wealth of wineries to choose from – with a few key stops along the way. Ten Minutes by Tractor sources its grapes from several owned vineyards in the region but the cellar door is in centrally located Main Ridge; book a tasting in the relaxed space with one of the knowledgeable sommeliers. Montalto, five minutes’ drive away, is a vast estate that incorporates an olive grove and wetland. As well as cellar door tastings that let you sip your way through the Montalto range, private picnic sites are available for booking, along with guided tasting held within the vineyard. Slightly further afield – all of 10 minutes along the coast – is Pt. Leo Estate, as well known for its pinot and chardonnay as it is for its incredible sculpture park, a 135-hectare outdoor gallery with 60 mostly large-scale works.
Find great accommodation
While there are scores of boutique stays and cosy cottages available for rent, a few accommodation options stand out – not only within the region but also Australia. Since opening in 2017, the moody Jackalope remains one of the country’s coolest vineyard retreats. It’s brimming with edgy art and décor – complete with a sculpture of its namesake fantastical creature out front – and has acclaimed bistros and restaurants on site. A little more rustic but no less luxurious, Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill is set amid 14 hectares of grounds and features a neutral, smoky palette and multiple fireplaces.
Hike through national park
Despite the gourmet skew of any Mornington Peninsula getaway, there are also lots of opportunities to breathe in salty sea air or hike through native bush (and these are likely welcome detours after days of indulgent eating and drinking). The Mornington Peninsula National Park fringes some of Victoria’s wild southern beaches beloved by local surfers (if you prefer calmer water, head to the peninsula’s bayside shores, such as Mornington or Rosebud foreshores). Walking tracks within the park will take you through bushland and along the cliff tops in a few hours but if you have time to spare, the 26-kilometre Coastal Walk traverses, as the name suggests, incredible beaches, curious rock pools and even a few hidden coves..
SEE ALSO: 5 of the Best Things to Do in Byron Bay
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