Let us take you on a virtual adventure to experience a little village charm. Merricks is believed to be named after a cattle station owner; early settlers of Merricks preferring to run cattle and sheep to growing orchards. With little more than a post office, a cold store co-operative, a small primary school and a railway that travelled through the village, it was a tiny hub for locals. Today, Merricks retains the charm of its history and includes some of the most vibrant local businesses and experiences in the region.
Merrick’s General Wine Store is the epitome of rustic farm life. The much-loved general store has become a well-known destination for fine wine, food, art and produce. The store’s renowned cellar door features the family owned Elgee Park and Baillieu wines alongside a selection of the region's most exceptional bottles from neighbouring vineyards. For fine fare, Chef Patrice Repellin’s seasonal French menu features fresh, local ingredients to serve breakfast, lunch and in-betweens, seven days a week. For colour and an eclectic mix of art and sculpture, wander through the gardens to Merricks House Art Gallery. Curated exhibitions showcasing artists from both the Mornington Peninsula and across Australia are open throughout the year. Grab a picnic hamper and explore one of the many nearby walking trails including the Red Hill Rail Trail. While the team are not currently able to take reservations for sit down dining, rest assured they remain open for takeaway and take home meals, wine delivery across Victoria and Australia or simply a delicious coffee from their Veranda window.
The Red Hill Rail Trail is the old railway line that used to carry fresh apples onto Hastings to distribute the best of local produce to the markets of Melbourne. Trains no longer run, (not since 1953!) but you can walk, bike ride, or even ride a horse along this pretty trail for yourself. With views over Western Port and great coffee/wine/sustenance at either end, it is the ideal meander, ride or canter. As a shared trail for walkers, mountain bike riders and horse riders, keep your eyes open for all the characters you may meet along the path exploring their way.
Discover the award-winning Stonier Wines, the first commercial winery on the Mornington Peninsula, established in 1978 by publisher Brian Stonier. From the beginning Stonier has embraced an unwavering commitment to the production of premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the cool climate of the Mornington Peninsula. Conveniently located right next store to Merricks General Wine Store, the Stonier Wines Cellar Door is a place to enjoy wine tastings of their very best and perhaps even a delicious cheese platter or two. While their cellar door is currently closed with recent COVID restrictions, they are working hard to service all their valued customers via their online store by shipping their wines to you directly free of charge for any orders of six bottles or more.
Five minutes’ drive from Stonier Wines, discover Pt. Leo Estate, a captivating celebration of internationally acclaimed art, design and world-class dining and wine. This multifaceted family-owned Estate boasts two fine dining restaurants in Laura and Pt. Leo Restaurant with two and one Chef’s Hat each. Both restaurants offer the best of seasonal and local produce and a monumental 4.5-star cellar door. This culinary destination is set in Australia’s most impressive privately-owned Sculpture Park, housing an ever-evolving outdoor gallery of over 60 Australian and international exhibits. All this is delineated by indigenous flora and set against an immense backdrop of rolling vineyards and panoramic ocean views of Phillip Island and Western Port. While we may not currently be able to enjoy the space in person, receive 15% off your wine purchases to bring a little of their signature flavour home when you apply the 'stockyourcellar15%'* discount code to your online cart.
Let us take you north, just ten minutes’ drive to Merricks North to discover Jackalope, intoxicating rural acreage that frames a luxury hotel. Unique in both destination and design, with a delicious choice of dining experiences in Rare Hare and Doot Doot Doot. Wanting something more casual? Rare Hare is a food and wine affair, with a devil-may-care air. Presenting the best of the Peninsula's food, wine, produce and views to die for, this is a place where crafted curiosities from surrounding farms are best consumed excessively and between robust repartee. For the next four weekends, beginning Friday 17 July, Rare Hare is cooking up some of its most-loved fare, for you to enjoy at home. Meals are available as takeaway from Rare Hare between 12 - 4 PM Friday and Saturday. All you need to do is get your order in by midday each Wednesday, then let them do the cooking, so you can just heat and eat! If fine dining and a sophisticated space is what is on the menu, Jackalope's hatted restaurant, Doot Doot Doot, delivers. Executive Chef, Guy Stanaway presents seasonal five-course tasting menus drawing from the hotel's kitchen garden and select Mornington Peninsula producers. Order their wines online to enjoy at home, available to be delivered across Australia and look forward to sampling their fare when they reopen when advised it is safe to do so again.
Once you have wined, dined, biked or strolled amongst art, perhaps beach is the last piece of the perfect day out. There are a couple of local options well worth exploring. Point Leo Beach is one of the Mornington Peninsula's famous surf beaches, it offers excellent waves for both beginner and experienced surfers. It is also a prime spot for fishing. Point Leo has its own Surf Life Saving Club (formed in 1955) and Boating Club too.
Merricks Beach meanders for over 2 km south-west from Palmer Bluffs to a more prominent bluff. Merricks Beach tends to be relatively narrow with deep water at high tide and exposed sand and reef flats at low tide. Rug up and take a brisk walk to explore and take in the natural beauty of this beach.
Merricks and beyond - a village well worth putting on the bucket list for your next Mornington Peninsula adventure when we can all explore again.
Explore the packages on offer by our local business community to still experience the Mornington Peninsula from the comfort of your own home:
Looking for what’s on? Check out winter activities HERE