Step back in time
Begin your visit to the region with an historic adventure on the Mornington Railway. Heritage trains run most Sundays back and forth between the old Moorooduc and Mornington railway stations. The trip takes around 45 minutes, usually lead by a steam powered locomotive complete with steam, whistle and restored vintage carriages. Parents and grandparents will reminisce and the kids will delight in the experience. For diehard train enthusiasts you can book a ‘Driver Experience’ and drive the train yourself. Living the dream!
Uncover your new favourite drop…
Away from the main roads there are some great, small cellar door wineries to be found a bit off the beaten track. Try these for something different…
At Phaedrus Estate in Moorooduc you can usually find winemakers Ewen and Maitena serving their wine in the cellar door. They are more than happy to share their knowledge and chat about their wines. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or an experienced wine taster, they are happy to talk you through their winemaking philosophy and the quirks of their Phaedrus terroir. On to Dromana Estate in the heritage listed Tuerong Homestead. The surrounding parkland gardens were designed by Edna Walling and there is also a restaurant on site serving a casual lunch option. Twelve different wines are made here and 6-7 are on offer for tasting at any one time. They are particularly proud of their Pinot which received 4.5 stars from the Halliday Wine Companion. Also check out their Ascuitto which is a fortified wine made from air dried grapes.
Up a winding driveway off the old Nepean Highway you’ll find Hickinbotham of Dromana and Hix Brewery; a famous name in winemaking. The cellar door is housed in a rustic building full of rescued architectural artefacts giving it authentic and distinctive ‘aussie’ character and ambience. The friendly staff take visitors through a comprehensive tasting of current wines, which includes a Chardonnay blended with the little known French variety Aligoté, a unique Australian grown variety called ‘Taminga’, and a delicious sparkling wine made from strawberries. Beer lovers are also catered for, with hand crafted beers available on tap for tastings or simply to cleanse the palate. In winter, relax by the open fire or watch the sun set through the trees, the experience is breathtaking.
A few kilometres on you will find Trofeo Estate in Dromana. This winery is located in an impressive double brick building built in the 1930’s that was once a passionfruit cordial factory. Along with wine tasting at the cellar door there is Whispering Vines Café which offers a relaxed dining experience focussed on local and seasonal produce. The vineyard is managed using bio-dynamic principles and the winery specialises in hand crafting their wines in Italian terracotta amphora. In fact they are the largest producer of wines made in this way in the southern hemisphere.
Forage for freshness
Picking up fresh veg from the farmgate is easy on the Mornington Peninsula – if you know where to look. Those looking for certified organic produce should make sure they stop in at Peninsula Fresh Organics in Baxter. They are open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday and specialise in heirloom/heritage vegetables. Their heirloom beetroot and carrots are pretty as well as delicious! Kings Market Gardens are fourth generation market gardeners in Boneo. At the farmgate the kids can feed the chickens (they provide bread for this activity) while you pick up your produce and get some recipe ideas from the staff. Also in Boneo, is Hawkes Farm Store which specialises in growing amazing potatoes, but also stock vegetables from other local growers.
Exploring the Mornington Peninsula is always a journey of discovery, head out off the beaten path and see what you will find.