The Mornington Peninsula has won the geographical lottery. Fringed with beaches and filled with wineries, the peninsula is quickly becoming my favourite destination for day trips from Melbourne.
When I started planning a weekend away on the Mornington Peninsula with my boyfriend and our friends; Bianca, Chris, Julie and Michael, I was envisioning a weekend spent between the waves and wineries. I was brought crashing back to reality when I was reminded that in Victoria, it’s too cold to swim at the beach pretty much year-round, especially in chilly bayside waters.
So just the wine then! No complaints from me.
What was originally planned as a full weekend away was whittled down to one night, and then none, as our various commitments tied us to Melbourne. Instead of an overnight trip, my boyfriend and I made the scenic hour and a half drive down to the seaside town of Sorrento on Saturday morning, where we met everyone for brunch. The drive down the peninsula is particularly pretty in spring when the landscape is blanketed in yellow wildflowers.
Brunch in Sorrento at Mr Sticksenbones
Mr Sticksenbones is a spacious café with indoor and outdoor seating on Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento’s main street. It’s a testament to how delicious their muesli is that I didn’t feel even the slightest tingle of brunch envy when my friends got eggs.
It’s a shame we didn’t see Just Fine Food Delicatessen till after brunch – it’s regarded as having the best vanilla slice (aka millefeuille) in Australia and there’s a permanent queue snaking out the door.
A Walking Trail Fail
I had grand plans of doing one of the many walking trails on the Mornington Peninsula, which we decided to do straight after brunch. We accidentally lingered at brunch until 11:30am, and since we all had to be back in the city in the afternoon, we had to cut either the walk or the winery. We made the executive decision to keep the winery (obviously). I swear I’ll go next time!
It will be the perfect excuse to reward myself with a vanilla slice from Just Fine Food afterwards.
Then it dawned on us. We’d become those people who go to brunch in their activewear despite not actually doing anything remotely active. We scrambled down to the beach and chalked it up as exercise. Problem solved.
I’ve been to Sorrento once before, last winter, so it was nice to see the water sparkle under a clear blue sky for a change.
Sorrento’s beach is very pretty but we’re still months away from swimming, unless your cold blooded and/or Norwegian. My favourite beach on the peninsula is still the impossibly pretty Safety Beach in Dromana. I’m a sucker for a long pier and a brightly coloured beach bathing box!
Wine tasting & lunch at T’Gallant Winery
The wineries on the Mornington Peninsula are known for their superb Pinot Noir wines. We went wine tasting and had lunch at T’Gallant Winery, which specialises in varieties made from a few pinot varieties; gris, grigio and noir.
T’Gallant has a cellar door and restaurant, which fills up quickly in the warmer weather. We were lucky to nab a picnic table with prime views over a small garden and the sprawling vineyards. To avoid losing our spot, we went to the cellar door in pairs.
Wine tastings are free, and we tried four or five different wines before choosing a glass for lunch and a bottle to take home. Imagine my surprise to find my eighteen-year-old beverage of choice behind the bar. T’Gallant produces the sweet, fruity Juliet Moscato which was pretty much my gateway wine. I asked for a taste, for old time’s sake. And went home with a bottle.
Admittedly, it hadn’t been that long since breakfast by the time we were sitting down to lunch, so we shared a few nibbles between the four of us. I had their Cape Schank rosé with my food, which is basically summer in a glass.
Summer in a glass, summer on my shoulders: I got my first sunburn of the year (and hopefully the last!). Victoria’s miserable weather has made me cynical and lazy towards sun protection, to the extent that when the bartender complained of his first sunburn of the season it barely registered.
I’m pretty sure my exact words were “At least there’s sunshine to burn in!”
Two hours later and I’m the remorseful owner of a sunburnt shoulder. Lesson learned. I’ll be slip, slop, slapping next time.
Growing up in Queensland and fortunate enough to have a wise mother who worked in skincare, the importance sun protection has been instilled in me from a young age. There are few things I feel guiltier about than getting a sunburn. Luckily, the weather changed from hot to cold so frequently that I was slipping my jacket on and off all day, so I only went a bit pink.
After a long lunch, we attempted to go for a brief stroll through the vineyards before heading back to the city, to find that the vineyards are fenced off. If I owned a vineyard, I probably wouldn’t let crowds of tipsy people crash through it all day either. If a wander amongst the grapevines is part of the plan, head to De Bortoli in the Yarra Valley. Instead, we seized a quick photo op before hopping back into the car and hitting the road.
The Mornington Peninsula is quickly becoming one of my favourite day trips from Melbourne. It’s within easy reach of the city and there are plenty of walks and other wineries to try, such as Mont Alto, Ten Minutes by Tractor, Port Phillip Estate and Crittenden Wine Centre.
I may not have got the beach time, but I did get to soak up the sunshine I’ve been pining for. As the warm days are getting longer and more frequent, I’m scheming up more ways to get out of the city on the weekend – but before that, I’m going to Japan! Follow me on Instagram @wanderbug_world to follow my week in Tokyo and travelling up Mt Fuji. Subscribe to receive my Japan blog posts via email when I return.
Have you ever been to the Mornington Peninsula? What is your favourite day trip for getting out of your city?
Planning a day trip from Melbourne? You might also like:
- An Autumn Day Trip to the Yarra Valley
- Brighton Bathing Boxes: Dendy Beach’s Rainbow Row
- Dromana: The Mornington Peninsula’s Prettiest Beach