Take a break to the Peninsula for fine wines, produce, hot springs and more
See and do
Pinot noir lovers are in heaven in the Mornington Peninsula. Here, dozens of wineries produce world-class cool climate pinot noir – silky, berry-fruit driven, medium-bodied – alongside new-world Chardonnay. Almost every winery you swing past will have a bottle of something special. For Time Out’s top picks, check out Must try. Wine regions in Victoria, particularly over the last decade, have become increasingly synonymous with gourmet produce and the Peninsula offers some of the best in the state on top restaurant tables, at farmgates and farmers’ markets. On your list should be Red Hill Cheese, Main Ridge Dairy, Green Olive and Mornington Peninsula Chocolates. If you wish to have someone else do the driving, book an MP Experiences tour.
Down in the seaside town of Sorrento, stop by Just Fine Food Delicatessen, the Baths, the historic Hotel Sorrento, and hop along the Sorrento-Portsea Artists Trail. On the ocean side, take a walk along the dramatic coastline with its sheer cliffs and secluded beaches. Also up the ocean side is the Peninsula Hot Springs, where you can unwind in natural thermal mineral waters that will do wonders for your skin. Springs Ln, Fingal 3939. 03 5950 8777.
With more than 15 courses, the region is one of Australia’s premier golf tourism destinations. Get in 18 holes at Moonah Links, a championship complex with two world-class courses. Peter Thomson Dr, Fingal 3939. 1300 362 386.
Eat and drink
Score a table at Merricks General Store where you can expect top country bistro-style fare. Order the bay mussels and the chicken and leek pie and a glass of Elgee Park Family Reserve Riesling. 3460 Frankston-Flinders Rd, Merricks 3916. 03 5989 8088. At Red Hill Epicurean, more than 100 local wines are showcased alongside Italian dishes. Order the Porcolino or the Picantosa pizza or a kalamata olive-crusted rack of lamb. 165 Red Hill-Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South 3937. 03 5989 4000.
It’s all about North African-influenced cuisine with produce sourced from across the Peninsula at the Flinders Hotel’s Terminus restaurant. 159 Wood St, Flinders 3929. 03 5989 0201.
The Peninsula is well known for its boutique and branded hotels. Time Out rates the Flinders Hotel, Peppers Moonah Links, Mercure Portsea and RACV Cape Schanck Resort, and while they offer a relaxing stay, another top way to experience the region is by discovering some of the quaint hideaways found around almost every corner. Leading B&Bs and retreats worth checking in to include the Tussie Mussie Vineyard Lodge, Max’s Retreat at Red Hill Estate and the Big Blue Backyard, alongside the collection of properties that make up the Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats. A good weekend idea down here is to stay one night on the coast or the bay and one night up in the hills.
Must try Mornington Peninsula wineries
Drink and dine at these world-class vineyards
01 Ten Minutes by Tractor
To enhance their stunning pinot noirs, order up a cheese plate that includes Fingal Gold from Red Hill and Caprinella from Main Ridge. 1333 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Main Ridge 3928. 03 5989 6455.
02 Paringa Estate
This winery is a hidden gem, with cellar door and restaurant located in a stunning setting among the vines. Wines are top-shelf, such as the current chardonnays and pinot noir. 44 Paringa Rd, Red Hill South 3937. 03 5989 2669.
With its art, restaurant and impressive reds and whites, there’s a lot to love about Montalto, not least the spectacular setting amongst rolling hills. 33 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South 3937. 03 5989 8412.
04 Port Phillip Estate
Several ranges are available for tastings: standout drops are Port Phillip Estate Chardonnay, Kooyong’s Single Vineyard Faultline Chardonnay, and Port Phillip Estate Pinot Noir. 263 Red Hill Rd, Red Hill South 3937. 03 5989 4444.
Time Out Promotion