An easy drive from Melbourne’s CBD, the Mornington Peninsula is one of Australia’s most popular wine regions, as well as boasting pristine beaches, world-class golf courses and plenty of beautiful scenery.
The food and vino on offer is world class so make sure your stomach is empty and you have a good driver to really enjoy your day out on the Peninsula. Here's a steer on where to go, what to see and where to eat for the perfect Mornington mini-break.
9.00am Depart Melbourne
Most cellar doors don’t open until 10:00 am so there’s no need to rush! In a perfect world with no traffic and no delays, you could get to the Mornington in around an hour (it’s only 75km from the Melbourne CBD) but it’s best to allow at least 90 minutes just in case.
10.30 am Yabby Lake 86 - 112 Tuerong Road, Tuerong
This picturesque winery is the perfect spot to begin your wine-tasting adventure. Like many wineries in this region, there’s a strong focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as these varieties love the moderate coastal climate.
11:30 am: Paringa Estate 44 Paringa Road, Red Hill South
Just 20 minutes down the road you'll find this picturesque vineyard. Paringa has won a swag of awards including Best Cellar Door so a tasting here is an absolute must. Resist the temptation to stay for an early lunch at the adjoining bistro which boasts a chef's hat and has also been awarded Best Restaurant at a Winery. It is fantastic but the day is young and you need to pace yourself!
12:30 pm Port Phillip Estate 263 Red Hill Rd, Red Hill South
Port Phillip Estate will take your breath away before you’ve even gotten out of the car! Just a 10-minute drive down the road, this architectural masterpiece looks like something straight out of Grand Designs. Pull up a stool at the cellar door and swill the vineyard's finest drops while you take in million dollar views over the vines, coastline and across to Phillip Island. The adjoining restaurant is another temptation, and also boasts a Chefs hat, but hold out because there’s more eating and drinking to be done down the road.
1:30 pm Petit Tracteur Bistro - 1208 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Main Ridge
Tear yourself away from Port Phillip for your next stop, one of the jewels of the Peninsula, Petit Tracteur Bistro. This venue is one of the finest dining options on the Peninsula, offering a refined, French-inspired menu. It’s also the sister restaurant to the famous Ten Minutes by Tractor restaurant, which is currently undergoing renovations and due to re-open late February 2019. When it reopens, make sure you make a reservation at this two-hatted restaurant well in advance, as with anything extraordinary it books out fast.
3:30 pm Peninsula Hot Springs 140 Springs Ln, Fingal
After all that food and wine you may need a breather so take off to the Peninsula’s most fabulous non-wine related attraction, Peninsula Hot Springs. Twenty-five minutes drive down the road from Petit Tracteur, the Peninsula Hot Springs has been voted the World’s Best Luxury Mineral Spring Spa for the past five years. Lockers, towels and robes are available so all you need to do is turn up ready to relax. We recommend booking a private bathing session so you and your friends can kick back and relax away from the crowds (it does get busy because it's very popular). If it’s free, the Hilltop pool is a knockout too, with 360-degree views across the Peninsula.
6.00pm Jackalope 166 Balnarring Rd, Merricks North
With lunch well and truly digested, it’s time to start thinking about what to eat next! No trip to the Peninsula is complete without a visit to its most famous hotel, the jaw-droppingly fabulous Jackalope. Voted by Time Magazine as one of the “Places To Be in 2018” Jackalope is a study in modern hotel design. The 10,000 bulb chandelier in their formal restaurant Doot Doot Doot is the stuff dreams are made of, as is the restaurant’s degustation menu. But if you can’t face another big meal, skip across the car park to Rare Hare for something lighter. You can pick up a bite or takeaway with share style plates as well as sample Jackalope’s own wines.
9:00 pm Head back to Melbourne
Whichever dinner option you go with at Jackalope, you should be back in Melbourne by bedtime, with a full and happy tummy and hopefully a car boot full of cellar door purchases.