The Mornington Peninsula is only an hour's drive from Melbourne, but it seems a world away. In fact, the Peninsula now has an air that's reminiscent of the Mediterranean, with its vineyards and olive groves, its historic country house retreats and intimate hotels.
While it's boot-shaped like Italy (check out our maps), the Mornington Peninsula is far easier to explore at a leisurely pace. You can travel the length of our coastlines, stopping at our seaside villages, or just meander back and forth from one coast to the other on country roads with glorious views.
Take a ferry to French Island from Western Port Bay, you can take an easy passenger ferry ride to French Island or Phillip Island, while from Sorrento there's a vehicular ferry to Queenscliff and the Great Ocean Road.
But there's plenty to explore on the Mornington Peninsula before you head off to other parts of Victoria's magnificent coastline. Just book your seaside or countryside accommodation (our Central Reservation Service is free), then you're ready to begin discovering the Peninsula.
50 cellar doors
Many people start at our wineries, where more than 50 cellar doors quickly reveal why the Mornington Peninsula has such an enviable reputation for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (now closely followed by other varietals including Shiraz, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot).
Fine wine is always a magnet for fine food, and here you can buy just-picked and locally made produce, or let our restaurants and cafes tempt you with dishes that are the perfect complement to our regional wines.
After a lazy lunch, our beautiful outdoors will beckon. A round of golf? Our 18 courses have some of the world's best natural golfing terrain - but the green fees are decidedly Australian.
Our national parks
Or perhaps a walk? Choose a windswept cliff-top, a quiet beach or a bush-clad path or head for historic Point Nepean where you'll find all three. The most famous feature of our 25,000 hectares of national parks, Point Nepean was closed to the public for more than 100 years. It's now open for everyone's enjoyment, and you can follow the cycle- and-pedestrian road to the extensive wartime military installations right at the tip of Point Nepean.
By this time, the seaside may well be beckoning you – and the Mornington Peninsula has plenty of options. Surfing, scuba diving, sailing, diving with dolphins or swimming with seals, fishing in Port Phillip Bay or the thrill of horse-riding along the sands of wind-swept Gunnamatta Beach.
Mud wraps and massages
But when it's time take the tensions out of life, just let yourself relax in expert hands at one of our day spas. Mud wraps, massages, facials, hand and feet treats are all on the indulgence menu, along with outdoor Japanese-style hot baths, an Aboriginal relaxation massage and Arabic steam room.
Now, what's still on your holiday list? Our gracious gardens, heritage mansions, fine local art and craft galleries, antique stores and lively local markets. You'd better stay another night or two. Our accommodation booking service has plenty of suggestions, ranging from rustic bed and breakfasts to contemporary beachside apartments.