Escape the city: 5 things to do on the Mornington Peninsula

By Lachlan Probyn,

Arguably Melbourne’s favourite playground, the Mornington Peninsula threads a rich offering of food, wine, and outdoor activities to create the perfect weekend tapestry away.

Only an hour out of Melbourne, we’ve scouted five of the region’s best attractions certain to give you some much needed respite from the city. And don’t worry about sparing that extra glass of plonk for the drive home, we’ve also got your accommodation sorted for the weekend…

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Bathing boxes Mornington Peninsula | Visions of Victoria

“Breathe in the fresh sea air, sample innovative local cuisine, and soak up the relaxed alfresco lifestyle of the Mornington Peninsula”  Visit Victoria

Peninsula Hot Springs

Nothing quite resonates with wellbeing more than the thought of bathing in naturally heated mineral waters. At Peninsula Hot Springs, float into a state of tranquility in one of the spa’s private outdoor pools which is filled with water pumped directly from its source, 637 metres below the surface. Peninsula Hot Springs is Australia’s only natural thermal mineral springs facility and was voted Australasia’s best mineral spring by the World Luxury Spa Awards in 2015.

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Peninsula Hot Springs | Visions of Victoria

After defrosting for a couple of hours in the steam room, continue the harmonious experience at Harmony B&B. Nestled within five acres of lush gardens, you can conclude your afternoon with a glass of local wine on your very own private patio and simply breathe in the serenity.

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Rooms are elegant in design, offering traditional features including four-poster beds, antique furnishings, and tasteful linens to snuggle into. In the morning, appreciate a full English breakfast of eggs, then venture out to some of the nearby wineries for the day.

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Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens

Does your idea of a weekend away evoke ideas of escaping reality for just a moment or two? At Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens you can get lost – quite literally. Proudly housing Australia’s oldest and most famous hedge maze, you can frolic throughout thousands of metres of pathways created by more than 1000 carefully clipped cypress trees.

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If you’re prone to a little claustrophobia, why not take things a touch slower at the world’s oldest circular rose maze which is fragranced with 217 different rose varieties? After all your garden frivolity, conclude your afternoon adventure with a serve of lavender tea and scones at the on-site Ashcombe Café.

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Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens | Heather Aitken (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you’re still reeling from the hide and seek pursuit of Ashcombe’s hedge labyrinth, settle into Polperro Wines for a night of utter relaxation. The brainchild of Sam Coverdale and his family, this winery-come-restaurant-come-boutique hotel truly showcases everything the Mornington Peninsula does best.

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Peppered throughout 25 acres of vines, the four free-standing apartments boast a clean palette of black, white, and grey, and feature both an open fire and central spa bath to truly heat things up. To start your morning in the Zen way, head to neighbouring HotHut Yoga and get physical with your respective other.

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Food and Wine at Red Hill

Let’s face it, Australians are mad about their wine! So much so that Tourism Research Australia has reported that the percentage of Australians visiting wineries has risen by 16% in the last year. If you’re ready to feel foxy for a day, head to the cellar door at Foxey’s Hangout and sample the winery’s fine blends of pinot noir, pinot gris, and shiraz.

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We all know wine tastes best when paired with something delectable to nibble on, so stop by Green Olive and pick up some of the famous homemade relish, olive oil, and goats cheese – your stomach will thank you later!

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Green Olive at Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula | Visions of Victoria

We all know a lengthy day of wine-drinking ends best with a comfy bed to crash out in. Fortunately for you, Woodman Estate is not far from Red Hill’s celebrated ensemble of wineries. Housed in a stately Victorian manor, guests can appreciate luxurious accommodation paired with warm hospitality.

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The eight rooms are elegantly furnished, blending hand-crafted mahogany four-poster beds with printed fabrics and regal colours. If intimacy is key, book a night in one of the free-standing lakeside chalets which offer dreamy spa baths that look out onto the lake. Heavenly!

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The Enchanted Adventure Garden

Are you an adrenaline junkie who has a need for speed? If you’d prefer to ditch the scenic walks for something a little racier, head to the Enchanted Adventure Garden and explore a whole new world of heights – literally. Surf through a canopy of trees on a zip line, ten metres above ground, then navigate through a web of rope bridges and aerial obstacles.

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Once the course is complete, you can unleash your inner Tarzan on a giant swing. If you’re bringing the little ones along, you’ll be pleased to know a Nippers course is also available for all those under 135 centimetres.

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Still feeling the vertigo? Freshen up at one of the region’s most acclaimed B&B’s, Georges. The contemporary B&B was architecturally designed and boasts stunning north-facing views across Port Phillip Bay. Settle in for the night with more than 90 free in-house movies, which you can appreciate from your lavish king-sized bed topped with Egyptian cotton linen.

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If you want to brush up on your cooking skills, George’s also runs three-day Culinary Retreats where you can learn invaluable tricks of the trade from some of Melbourne’s leading Chefs.

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Cape Schanck – Mornington Peninsula National Park

The Mornington Peninsula is famed for its rugged, unspoiled coastline, which is a stark contrast to the still Melburnian shores of Port Phillip Bay.  Nowhere quite encapsulates this more than Cape Schanck – the peninsula’s most southern point and meeting place of Bass Strait and the Western Port.visionsofvictoria-cape-schanck-light-station

Protected since the 1800s, Cape Schanck was opened to the public in 1988, meaning visitors can now experience the park’s stunning beauty at first hand. Marvel at the geothermal formations named ‘Pulpit Rock’ and ‘Devils Desk’ from a series of boardwalks, then visit to the state’s second oldest light station, which was built on the site in 1859.

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If you’ve fallen smitten with Cape Schank and you can’t envisage leaving anytime soon, don’t despair. Situated in its heart is RACV Resort. Boasting picture-perfect ocean views, rooms offer a modern décor with all the necessary extras for a comfortable stay. Think king-sized beds with triple sheeting, luxurious bathrooms with stone bench tops, and private balconies with uninterrupted vistas.

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Now all that’s left to organise is your pinot of choice, and the afternoon past-time is complete. If you’re planning a family getaway you’ll be pleased to know the ocean view executive suites offer two bedrooms, a kitchenette, and living space that’s large enough for the kids to run amuck in.

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Cover image: Sorrento Long Pier | Visions of Victoria