The Mornington Peninsula is just a hop, skip and a short drive from Melbourne. Best known for its beautiful beaches and national parks, the Peninsula is also home to an amazing array of award-winning wineries and spas, as well as boasting beautiful boutique hotels. As such, it naturally lends itself to being the perfect place to spend a little gal’s getaway.
So, get the car playlist ready, leave your partners, kids, and pets at home and head off to the Mornington Peninsula, for a gorgeous weekend away with your best girlfriends. Here are our ‘musts’ to add to your list.
1. Take a dip at the beach
The Mornington Peninsula boasts miles and miles of gorgeous golden beaches, so make sure to go for a dip during your visit. Our pick would be Mount Martha Beach, which is lined with colourful beach huts, along with a handy strip of cafes to grab lunch at.
2. Or bathe in the hot springs
The Peninsula Hot Springsis a must visit, with over 20 bath experiences including plunge pools, jet pools, massaging showers and a Turkish hammam spread across the open-air Bath House, it’s the perfect setting to relax and reconnect with your girlfriends.
3. To market, to market
Is there a better way to start a morning than with a trip to the markets? We’re going with ‘no’. A couple of options for this include the Red Hill Community Market or the Mornington Racecourse Market — just don't forget to bring your basket with you.
4. Go horseback riding on the beach
Being one of the only places where you can actually go horseback riding in Victoria on the beach, Gunnamatta Trail Rides offers an unbeatable experience that can be booked for morning, afternoon or during evening sunsets.
5. Find your zen at a yoga retreat
Yogafest Retreat is a weekend long yoga-based event which takes place twice each year on the Mornington Peninsula. So if you and your gal pals are yogis, check the company's next event dates and the stars may just align.
DOC Mornington is a favourite for both locals and visitors, thanks to its feather-light and stylish pizzas, set in a large and lively dining hall with al fresco tables. Visit here for lunch or dinner and don’t forget to stock up on their take home pasta and sauces before you leave.
For a brunch stop option, head to the Smashing Sorrento cafe for some delicious tasting (and equally delicious looking) meals. Make sure to spend some time walking around Sorrento’s upmarket boutiques, historic buildings and gourmet bakeries whilst you’re at it.
The Winey Cow is a bright and airy cafe and wine bar located on the main drag of Mornington. A popular dish here is the meal aptly named ‘The Winey Cow’ which consists of a brioche bun burger filled with tender spiced pulled beef and lots of other deliciousness.
For a leisurely lunch or dinner, head to The Long Table, a must-visit restaurant and wine bar run by a husband-and-wife who are longtime locals to the area. Aside from the carefully curated menu, the interior design made up of antique timber tables, velvet church pews and watercolours adorning the walls will also delight.
For a variety of cuisine options located all in one spot, head to Merchant Lane, a casual and unique venue that pulls together seven different food truck style outlets, built into the venue which are all open on different days of the week.
Specialising in cool climate chardonnay and pinot noir, Willow Creek Vineyard is a must visit with the girls. The onsite restaurant, Rare Hare puts on a magnificent display of vine-laced hills, acting as the perfect backdrop for sharing a bottle (or three) with the girls.
Port Phillip Estate has become a Mornington Peninsula icon for its architecture, sweeping views, quality food, but most importantly, for the wine. Visit here for an afternoon tipple where you have the option to either sit inside and enjoy the stylish interior or out on the deck, soaking up the sun.
3. Kerri Greens
Kerri Greens is a fantastic option for the Red Hill area. Fast becoming a favourite for visitors, due to its cellar door, rolling vineyards, and a comfy lawn ready-made for summer picnics. Grab a bottle of the Pinots De Mornington rosé and settle in for the afternoon. Also, make sure to plan your weekend around a visit here, as they're only open on Saturdays.
Hidden in plain sight along a back street in Mornington, Mornington Peninsula Brewery is recognised as one of the best craft breweries in all of Australia. Brewing a great selection of beers, including everything from a pale ale through to a porter, you can take your pick before taking a seat out in the beer garden.
If gin is more your go-to, then you best add Bass & Flinders to the list. Being the only bespoke distillery on the Mornington Peninsula, this distillery destination offers a number of tasting options at their cellar door at various price points, all of which are refundable when a bottle purchase is made.
Once you’re done wining and dining at Port Phillip Estate (as per above), consider staying the night in one of their six luxury suites available. The spectacular views from your own private terrace come morning will be the perfect way to start the day.
Also adjoined to a winery, Jackalope Hotel is part of the Willow Creek Vineyard (as per above), unique for its striking modern design. This luxury accommodation consists of 46 luxe rooms, with an outdoor 30-metre infinity pool, overlooking views out to the vineyard being the star attraction.
Nestled amongst the vines on a stunning 25 acre working property in the heart of Red Hill is Polperro Villas. This boutique accommodation offers picturesque, self-contained villas, each with a beautifully appointed kitchen, spa, and a little private balcony to while away the time.
Dwelling in Dromana, Lakeside Villas is made up of three newly refurbished villas, constructed entirely over the vineyard lake and thus providing a sense of floating among the vines. Come morning, you’ll receive a gourmet brekkie hamper best enjoyed on your private balcony overlooking the lake.
If your girl gang would prefer to go glamping instead, try Happy Glamper, a luxury camping experience exclusively operating in the Mornington Peninsula. Simply take your pick between a ‘belle’ or a lotus belle tent and your glampsite will be set up for you, either by the beach or among the trees, upon arrival.