Here are some of our favourite spots between Shoreham and Stony Point:
Blink and You May Miss Something Special
Taking the short 7-kilometre drive to the north along the coast you may miss Shoreham, as there isn’t even a village, but it is home to Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens with its enormous hedge maze and year round flowering lavender. Shoreham Beach offers white sand (and at times a lot of washed up seaweed) with good surfing at the far end, but the quality ‘left-breaking points’ of Point Leo are where the more experienced surfers go. There is a rip on this beach so make sure that if you enter the water that you heed the lifesavers instructions to swim between the flags.
Punching Above its Weight
Merricks is another tiny settlement with built in surprises. On the outskirts, the spectacular Point Leo Estate Sculpture Park is an architectural masterpiece set against a jaw-dropping backdrop view that has to be seen to be believed. The sculpture collection is world class and in case you need more reasons to visit, there is an impressive cellar door and restaurant offering to try. Just up the road is one of the regions founding wineries; Stonier featuring some of the regions finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to taste and purchase, plus the opportunity to see a working winery in action.
From Gourmet and Glamour to Vineyard and Farmyard
The scenic and slightly wild Balnarring Beach has won awards for being the “cleanest beach in Victoria”. You can even do your own early morning horse ride in the shallows with Horseback tours, and sometimes dolphins can be spotted frolicking in the shallows alongside the horses.
Named after the aboriginal word meaning ‘camp in open places’, the village of Balnarring is home to Gourmet Paddock who offer a gathering place for friends and families to share ‘good, real, tasty food’. Boasting their own fishmonger, butcher and in-house deli you can purchase to take home too. Whereas the glamorous and sophisticated Jackalope Hotel with its upscale contemporary dining and luxurious rooms is a destination in itself. The slightly more casual on site Rare Hare Wine and Food Store offers the cellar door experience and a seasonal menu drawn from their 900 square-metre kitchen garden.
A short drive away is the tiny (just 2.1 hectares) and family owned Elan Vineyard where the cellar door is staffed with people passionate about their small scale but quality handmade Chardonnay, Gamay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. For something totally different, Balnarring is also home to Rain Hayne Shine Farmyard where plenty of family fun is to be had with feeding, cuddling and patting friendly farm animals of all shapes and sizes.
It’s Somers Time
Somers is worth mentioning for the statuesque late Victorian era mansion Coolart Homestead. The historic 1895 homestead, barracks, meat house and buttery are set on 87.5 hectares of wildlife reserve that is the home of 3000+birds, and the extensive walking track meander through woodlands and wetlands with bird hides looking over the lagoons. You can also borrow binoculars and bird identification cards form the visitor centre, and wheelchairs for those less mobile.
Stony Point is the stepping off point to access French Island – a 172-square kilometre island complete with a 2,88 hectare national park that is home to migratory birds and a huge koala population. Only accessible by water, Westernport Ferries offer a daily passenger service and connect with Naturaliste Tours that can take you off-road exploring - otherwise you will need to walk or take your own bike to get around.
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