As part of our personal quest to see more of Victoria, Justin and I booked a last-minute weekend escape to the Mornington Peninsula, a scenic 90 minutes (ish) drive from Melbourne.
Situated south-east of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula is a boot-shaped region filled with golden beaches, bubbling hot springs, boutique wineries and some pretty decent food too.
With only 48 hours to play with, Justin and I wanted a laid-back weekend escape filled with stunning scenery and mouth-watering food – and that’s exactly what the Mornington Peninsular delivered.
Best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula
Red Gum BBQ
Thanks to a chance read of an article in Gourmet Traveller, Red Gum BBQ was one of the first things to be added to our Mornington Peninsula itinerary and by George did it deserve its place there.
Hidden in an unassuming shed behind a servo near Red Hill, Red Gum BBQ has some serious smokers and, this is a pretty big call, but I think it might be the best BBQ I’ve eaten in Australia.
We tried a little of everything that was on the smoker that day – pork ribs, beef brisket and pulled pork – and ordered it with a side of magnificent mac n’ cheese and, sincerely, everything was lick-the-plate good.
I recommend booking a table in advance as its understandably super popular and go with an empty stomach as the local craft beer/cider and American-style desserts are pukka too.
Red Gum BBQ, 87 Arthurs Seat Rd, Red Hill VIC
Peninsula Hot Springs
The main reason for our visit to the Mornington Peninsula was for a soak in the Peninsula Hot Springs and our experience at the Bath House was certainly worth the 75-minute journey from Melbourne. There are over 20 bath experiences including plunge pools, jet pools, massaging showers and a Turkish hammam spread across the open-air Bath House, which was inspired by the onsens in Japan.
I was super impressed with the design and cleanliness of the facilities, which never felt crowded despite being fully booked on the day of our visit. There was a bit of a wait for the hilltop pool due to its stunning 360 rural views but that was to be expected.
Entrance to the Bath House costs $47 per adult during peak hours; towel, robe and locker hire are extra. We spent a couple of hours soaking up the health benefits of the mineral-rich waters but you could easily spread a day here hopping from pool to café and getting massages at the adjoining Spa Dreaming Centre.
Peninsular Hot Springs, 140 Springs Ln, Fingal VIC
Brunch in Sorrento
The chicest beach town on the Mornington Peninsular (IMHO) is Sorrento, with its upmarket boutiques, historic buildings and gourmet bakeries. We tucked into hipster acai bowls and pink lattes at Smashing Sorrento and enjoyed being every inch the Millennial clichés.
Smashing Sorrento, 119-125 Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento VIC
Just outside Sorrento is a coastal walk that will make you green with envy. Nicknamed Millionaire’s Walk for the multi-million dollar properties that line this strip of coast, you’ll find gorgeous beaches, jaw-dropping houses and the odd landscape painting along the pathway.
Millionaire’s Walk, Point Nepean Rd, Sorrento VIC
Mount Martha Beach
There are literally miles and miles of gorgeous golden beaches on the Mornington Peninsula but our pick was the pretty Mount Martha beach, which is lined with beach huts (that people actual use) and has a handy strip of elegant restaurants and friendly cafes to grab lunch at. The Mediterranean share plates and wood fired pizzas at Volpino are A++.
Volpino, 2/42 Lochiel Avenue, Mount Martha Beach Village VIC
If you’ve got longer than the 48 hours we had to play with than you’ll also want to check out some of the award-winning wineries in this region. For scenic views check out the Arthurs Seat Eagle (a state-of-the-art gondola) and, just for laughs, pretend you’re in Grease at the Dromana drive-in movies and diner.
Where to stay
Have you been to the Mornington Peninsula? What’s your favourite thing to do there?