It’s Melbourne’s favourite playground, beloved for its gorgeous landscape, leading wineries and vibrant dining scene. To say there’s plenty to lure travellers to the Mornington Peninsula is an understatement – from luxury hotels to trendy bars and cool cafes, quiet beaches and pristine national parks, this coastal haven, only an hour’s drive from the CBD, has enough to keep you happily occupied for days.

Where to stay

Jackalope vineyard, Victoria

Already the leader of the region’s hotel scene, Jackalope opened four years ago. Thought up by art aficionado owner Louis Li, the boutique bolthole has a futuristic bar and public areas decorated with designer one-offs, while rooms overlook the vines and infinity pool and are a model of serenity. Signature restaurant Doot Doot Doot delivers a tasting menu of mostly local produce – some as hyper-local as the kitchen gardens – and is served beneath a mesmerising 10,000-globe light installation.

Set among 13 hectares of landscaped grounds at Red Hill, the Lindenderry has the grace of an English country estate – one with contemporary interiors thanks to a recent multi-million-dollar renovation. Laze by the fire in one of the communal lounges, head out to the bocce pitch or take a dip in the Hollywood-glam indoor pool.

Polperro farm stay, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

Want to sleep among the vines? The four stylish villas at Polperro winery are the last word in quiet luxury, each with its own open fireplace, central spa bath and private deck; bigger groups should book the three-bedroom Hecker Guthrie-renovated farmhouse. Elevate the experience even further with a tasting at the cellar door and dinner in the acclaimed restaurant.

SEE ALSO: 15 Fabulous Weekend Getaways from Melbourne

What to do

Arthurs Seat State Park, Victoria

The Arthurs Seat Eagle takes you soaring above the treetops in an enclosed gondola to soak in the views across Port Phillip Bay, towards the Melbourne city skyline. The 305-metre ascent to the region’s highest point takes around 15 minutes and there’s no need to hurry back down to the base station in Dromana – visit the Eagle Café and stroll one of the nearby walks through Arthurs Seat State Park.

If the ocean feels a little chilly, Peninsula Hot Springs provides the perfect antidote. This lush oasis is the place to don a fluffy white robe and wander languidly between more than 50 pools heated to different temperatures. For something different, try moonlight bathing, then stay overnight in a stylish glamping tent decked out in fine linens.

Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs, Victoria

With more than 50 Mornington Peninsula cellar doors, there’s no shortage of opportunities to develop a closer relationship with the region’s famed pinot noir and chardonnay (plus pinot gris, riesling and shiraz, too). From the farmhouse-friendly Foxeys Hangout to the grand architectural statement of Port Phillip Estate and the bucolic setting of Tucks Winery, there’s a cellar door for everyone; a winery tour such as Ultimate Winery Experiences will end the argument over who has to be designated driver.

Ride the waves with Mornington Peninsula Surf School. A group session or private coaching will see you channel your inner Mick Fanning at iconic surf spots including Gunnamatta and Shoreham Beach. If the surf isn’t your thing, the calm bay beaches at Sorrento and Rye are ideal spots for a family friendly paddle.

Cape Schanck lighthouse, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

Get a taste of colonial history with a guided tour of the Cape Schanck Lighthouse, which overlooks stunning basalt cliffs and wild ocean at the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula. This is also the kicking-off point for the 2.6-kilometres Bushrangers Bay walk, where you might encounter sea life including seals in the coastal pools of the pristine Mornington Peninsula National Park.

What to eat and drink

Melbourne’s award-winning woodfired pizzeria 400 Gradi has colonised a prominent Mornington corner and opened a venue with multiple strings to its bow. A pizzeria, wine and snack bar, gelateria, pasticceria and deli, it’s a wonderland for food lovers.

The Portsea Hotel’s, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

A multi-million-dollar makeover has upped the ante on the classic seaside glamour of a Portsea stalwart. The Portsea Hotel’s enormous umbrella-shaded beer garden is the place to see and be seen by a fashionable crowd, who keep their energy up with Aperol Spritz, woodfired pizzas and seafood platters.

Caffeine enthusiasts should look no further than this cellar door for coffee. Little Rebel Roastery in Dromana is the go-to for a tasting session of single-origin brews and seasonal house blends, supplemented by good old toasties to get the day started right.

The Peninsula’s booming wine scene is matched by a growing craft spirit movement exemplified by Dromana’s JimmyRum Distillery. At Victoria’s first craft rum distillery you can sample four of their rums at the cellar door and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter live entertainment on the weekend in the garden.

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SEE ALSO: Rediscover the Charms of Victoria’s Phillip Island

Image credits: Roberto Seba/Visit Victoria; The Jackalope; Polperro Farmstay; Peter Tarasiuk/Visit Victoria (Arthurs Seat); Peninsula Hot Springs; Peter Tarasiuk/Visit Victoria (Cape Schanck Lighthouse); Robert Blackburn/Visit Victoria (Portsea Hotel).

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