With its endless coastline of pristine beaches, world-class golf courses and a range of water sports, it's not surprising the Mornington Peninsula is renowned as a summer mecca that attracts visitors from far and wide. Sure, it's where summers are celebrated and embraced but don't be tricked into thinking there's nothing to do on the peninsula when the thermometer drops a few degrees…in fact, some might argue that's when things start to warm up.
Sit back, get comfy, grab a cuppa and let's explore 99 ways you can beat (or embrace) the winter blues with a day trip, weekend visits (or longer) to the Mornington Peninsula with its own cool and refreshing charm…we'll even share some 'secret' spots the locals love.
Somewhere To Stay
- Relax, exhale, and immerse yourself in the seaside vibe at Carmel at Sorrento and enjoy contemporary and luxuriously appointed apartment living right in the heart of the village with so much to enjoy right on your doorstep.
- Surround yourself with rolling hills, famous wineries, and spectacular beaches when you book your stay at Quarters at the Flinders Hotel. Grab your coat and stroll down to the historic pier, indulge in an award-winning vanilla slice at the bakery, and enjoy quiet seclusion in absolute style.
- Absorb the sweeping ocean views, elegant private terraces, and the ageless charm of the newly refurbished InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula. Sitting high on the hill, this grand dame of a building epitomises a new era in seaside glamour all year round, so spoil yourself.
- Hide away from the world in your private oasis at Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate. Cosy up by the authentic wood fire with a bottle (or two) of your favourite wine, switch off and breathe.
- Enjoy one of the most picturesque views of Port Phillip winter through summer at the iconic The Portsea Hotel. Established in 1876, the Portsea Hotel is well known for its open fires in winter, delicious menu and breathtaking water views.
- Experience the perfect place to unwind, no matter the season, at RACV Cape Schanck Resort. Offering a unique combination of 5-star accommodation, luxury spa, views that stretch from Melbourne's skyline to Bass Strait, a world-class golf course, and a hatted restaurant, you will find it hard to leave.
- Escape to Arakoola Studio, a fully self-contained stand-alone couples’ sanctuary privately nestled in the woodlands of Balnarring. The Village is a relaxing stroll down a country lane, and Balnarring Beach is just down the road.
Satisfy Your Appetite
- Prepare yourself for a feast of the senses when you step inside The Dining Room at Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill and take your seat. Forget the world (and the weather outside) and enjoy fare from their award-winning menu and thoughtfully curated wine list that features some of the region's most revered cool climate wineries.
- Warming winter soups, premium coffee, fresh croissants, quiches, pies, and all things French-inspired are what you'll find at Le Capucin in Portsea. Eat in and soak up the ambience of this French-inspired beachside cafe or order your homemade meal to take away and enjoy later.
- Step back in time when you visit Merricks General Wine Store, which was established in 1912 and epitomises the rustic charm of farm life. Venture inside and discover fine wine, food, homewares, house-made produce, and lifestyle treasures to warm the heart.
- Do something different on a Thursday in winter and book yourself into the Truffle Hunt and two-course lunch at Max's Restaurant, the first original winery restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula. Enjoy a foray into the world of black truffles from ground to table (and meet Thomas and Maddie, the restaurant's talented truffle-hunting dogs).
- Winter on the peninsula is the perfect time of year to enjoy a warming red wine at the cellar door or fireside dining at Pt Leo Estate. Make the most of their all-weather wine terrace, where you can gaze over vineyards, coastlines and the impressive outdoor gallery that features over 60 Australian and international sculptures.
- Hop into Rare Hare at LL Vineyard (see what we did there), where you'll warm your spirits with some of the best food, wine, and produce the peninsula has on offer. Described as "a food and wine affair, with a devil-may-care air", you'll enjoy their newly created seasonal menu by the hearth this season.
- Watch a winter's sunset overlooking the bay as you sip a carefully crafted cocktail and enjoy morish nibbles at The Verve Bar, the spirit and enthusiasm of the Rye Hotel and the peninsula's newest live music venue.
- Nothing says winter meal quite like a steak, and Squires Loft Mornington has been proudly serving the finest quality Australian beef steaks for nearly 30 years. Known as 'The Steak Specialists', their hearty portions of grass-fed steak and ribs provide the perfect end to a wintery day.
- Satisfy your hunger for an elevated and authentic dining experience, and revel in old-world elegance and charm with a visit to Audrey's at the refurbished The Continental Sorrento. With a focus on ingredients from the ocean, Audrey's offers a tasting menu crafted for winter or summer that can be paired with meticulously curated wine packages.
- Simple pleasures abound with a visit to Doot Doot Doot. Under the twinkling canopy of the 10,000-globe chandelier, you can forget the winter chill as you enjoy their provocative seasonal menu that is inspired by the culinary curiosities of Asia that will please and tease to the very last bite.
- Lose yourself for a few hours if the weather turns nasty at Blue Mini: Eatery, Emporium, Events, a unique eatery located in the converted 10-pin bowling alley in Rosebud. Blue Mini captures the essence of everything local with its retro décor and style that is handcrafted, upcycled, recycled, natural and reusable.
- Celebrate great wine and great food with a visit to Ten Minutes by Tractor: Winery Restaurant & Cellar Door in Main Ridge. Their menu evolves and changes with the seasons and focuses on sustainable food that is considerate of our environment.
- The chill of winter screams coffee so why not make yours a cup that counts? At Commonfolk Coffee Company in Mornington and Frankston, 20 cents from every coffee sold goes to help set up sustainable and life-changing farms in Uganda.
- Humble, delicious and freshly made on the peninsula, Johnny Ripe at Main Ridge Harvest pies are the perfect winter fare, made the old-fashioned way by hand. Think bio-dynamic apples, grass-fed beef, sustainably sourced fish, real butter, and hot from the oven—mouth-watering stuff.
- Celebrate all that is fabulous about brownies during the Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery Brownie Festival through to Sunday 25 June. Delve into their bountiful selection of 18 decadent brownie creations to enjoy on-site or take home for later. There will even be limited edition brownie-inspired hot chocolates and ice creams.
- Come along for a free tasting to find your favourite honey at Pure Peninsula Honey and shop their range of more than 30 different honey, wax, honeycomb, and cosmetic products, including lip balms, candles, moisturiser and soap.
- Go on and spoil yourself with a visit to one of the many cellar doors on the Mornington Peninsula. Here are 11 of the best cellar doors to get you started.
- Reminiscent of a farmers' market, Torello Farm is open seven days a week (rain, hail, or shine) from 8 am and is proudly peninsula-grown, grazed and gathered. Sign up for their "Build a water-saving wicking bed Workshop" on Saturday, 19 August, and learn how to grow vegetables summer through winter.
- Lounge amongst 50+ year-old apple trees. Cosy up with a hot mulled cider and woodfire heater in winter, enjoy craft beverages, apple pie, farm produce, and all things apple at Mock Red Hill.
- Open every day, Hawkes Farm has everything you need to cook up a storm at home or at your weekend away accommodation, including fruit, vegetables, and other gourmet products. On the weekends, try their amazing hand-cut, thrice-cooked, gluten-free, hot chips served from their food truck.
- Cold winter nights go best with a nice bottle of red from a peninsula-based winery and handmade artisan cheese from BoatShed Cheese in Dromana. BoatShed Cheese is renowned for its French-style cheeses utilising goat, cow, and buffalo cheese from across Victoria and with every piece handcrafted and nurtured on-site.
- Treat yourself to fresh local fish and seafood on the peninsula with a visit to Peninsula Fresh Seafood (they also do a range of ready-to-serve platters that are ideal to be served straight to the table).
Cheers And Salutations
- Winta Fiesta (23-25 June) is a weekend-long celebration of the winter months. St Andrews Beach Brewery will be transforming its beer garden and bar area into a cosy wonderland, complete with open fires and mulled beverages, and showcasing five delicious dark beers brewed just for the occasion.
- Enjoy the new tasting room and bar every Saturday and Sunday for wine tastings at Rahona Valley, the home of great cool-climate sparkling wine.
- When it's cold outside, head to Peninsula Beer Garden for gas log fires and comfy couches that create a warm, cosy place to enjoy local craft beers, wines, yummy bar food, including woodfire pizzas, and great live music in the Velvet Lounge. Check the What’s On calendar for who’s performing.
- Are you a lover of truffle? Celebrate truffle season at Paringa Estate Winery and Restaurant in Red Hill for their Annual Truffle Dinner on 14 July. It promises to be a culinary journey showcasing the finest black truffles sourced from Main Ridge, Western Australia & Tasmania.
- Join the cellar-door wine tastings every weekend at Avani Wines where they showcase new release wines, including their 2018 Avani Syrah and a range of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot gris. Avani is a Sanskrit word that means 'the earth'.
- Chief's Son Distillery in Somerville is the only Single Malt Whisky distillery on the Mornington Peninsula. Sit and sip the nectars of the barrel whilst their passionate distillers guide you through their full-bodies whiskies that have been aged in French Oak barrels, or grab a bottle or two to share by a fire when the temperature drops.
- Experience a behind-the-scenes tour of the inner workings of Tar Barrel and be taken on a journey from 'grain to glass'. Learn the process of how different beers and spirits are made as you are introduced to grains/malts, hops & barrels, finished off with a gin, vodka, whiskey, and beer tasting.
- In a landscape peppered with wineries, JimmyRum Distillery is the first dedicated craft rum distillery in Victoria. Located in the Dromana Habitat, they are on a mission to show everyone how diverse, unique, and exciting rum can be. Broaden your knowledge with a Tasting Bench experience at JimmyRum.
- Feeling creative? Why not channel your inner DaVinci and join in the "Paint & Sip" at Escape Brewing on Saturday, 24 June, from 3-5 pm. Price includes a drink on arrival and nibbles while you create your work of art that's headed "straight to the pool room".
- Winter at Hickinbotham of Dromana means great wine and beer, live music, hearty meals fashioned from quality local produce, rustic surrounds with a roaring fireplace, and views overlooking the Dromana plains and the blue waters of Martha Bay.
- Tucked away in Dromana’s industrial estate, Jetty Road Brewery celebrates simple lifestyle feels, despite the complexities of craft beer and is an ideal pit stop for a tasting tray on a wild, wintery weekend. Open for lunch and dinner, Jetty Road Brewery is family-friendly and dog-friendly (for outdoor seating).
- Change the way you think about flavoured vodka with a visit to Penni Ave Distillery, one of the very few dedicated vodka distilleries in Australia. Their copper still (named Walter) transforms fermented local grain to create a wonderfully smooth vodka that is totally Australian-made, owned and delicious.
- Create your very own bespoke gin during a masterclass at Bass & Flinders Distillery. Once you have created "your gin" tailored to your taste preferences, you will be able to take home a 500ml bottle with you, for you and your friends to enjoy.
- Find yourself a quiet corner at Zigis Bar at Flinders Hotel where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the coastal aesthetic it brings to this historic hotel. If you're feeling peckish, Zigis menu is centred around seasonal produce and the freshest seafood.
- Explore in style with Elevate Wine Tours, with over six years of experience crafting private winery tours for groups of up to 11 people – they will take your wine tour experience to the next level as you are chauffeured through the Mornington Peninsula like royalty.
Something For Everyone (even Dad)
- Gather up a group of friends and enjoy a relaxed, casual, and sophisticated wine region group tour of the Mornington Peninsula with Grape Explorations Australia. Be driven around in Mercedes-Benz comfort by passionate hosts who will treat you all to an exceptional day.
- Saddle up and embrace your inner cowboy/girl with a visit to The Ranch Mornington Peninsula for a Bush 'N' Beach ride, a 3-hour trail through the rolling hills of the property, before heading down to walk and trot along the shoreline of St Andrews Beach.
- Step inside one of Arthurs Seat Eagle's aerial gondolas and soar above the treetops on a 30-minute journey of flight to the highest point of the Mornington Peninsula with views across Port Phillip, towards the city skyline, and beyond.
- Be fascinated by all things motoring at Charlie's Auto Museum, which houses a unique collection of over 80 motor vehicles, memorabilia, model cars, and automobile paraphernalia from eras spanning decades.
- Snuggle up, get cosy, grab some popcorn and a hot chocolate, and enjoy the latest releases from the comfort of your car at Dromana 3 Drive In.
- Relive history in motion on a ride along the tracks with Mornington Tourist Railway. Experience the magic of heritage train travel from a bygone era as you chug your way from Moorooduc to Mornington and back.
- Get up close and personal with an unforgettable experience at the award-winning Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, where you can hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, cuddle koalas, and discover the beauty and wonder of a range of Australian animals and birdlife.
- Connect with nature at Boneo Discovery Park. Nestled on 27 acres of pristine wetlands bursting with indigenous wildlife, you can discover new and exciting nature play workshops and activities as part of your mindfulness experience.
- Lose yourself at Enchanted Adventure: the home of Tree Surfing. There’s something for the whole family at this award-winning wonderland, including epic Tube Slides, Tree Surfing courses, giant brainteaser puzzles, Canopy Walk, Sky Scramble and more.
For The Doggos
- Treat your dog to an outing designed just for them by visiting Miss Drew's Bakery & Dog Café, the very first dog-only café on the peninsula. Open Saturdays and Sundays, this delightful, retro-inspired establishment (where drooling on the table is permitted) is the ideal spot to stock up on freshly made seasonal snacks as you start your winter weekend adventure.
- Immerse yourself in a whole farm experience at Green Olive at Red Hill, where they grow olives, grapes, herbs and veggies, hops and bush food, and raise chooks and sheep to create a range of food and wine you’ll love. Oh, and it’s dog-friendly too.
- There’s no need to leave your furry family member at home when there are plenty of pet-friendly accommodation options available on the Mornington Peninsula, plus many of the beaches allow dogs both on and off-leash.
- Dogs are welcome on a leash on the Balcombe Creek Estuary Boardwalk, Mount Martha. The 2.5km walking track winds its way along the charming Balcombe Creek. Learn about the precious species of wildlife in the area as you follow educational signboards throughout the journey.
Learn Something New
- Step back in time (and out of the cold) with a visit to McCrae Homestead and Museum, one of Victoria's oldest homesteads that provides a physical reminder of early pioneering life. Also located on the property, The Visitor's Centre showcases art, memorabilia, photography, and artifacts.
- Tap into the knowledge of industry-leading chefs when you book a Georgie Bass Café and Cookery hands-on cooking class. Limited to a maximum of 11 people, you will be inspired and challenged through a range of different courses available to choose from over the winter months.
- Learn more about the beginnings of picturesque Sorrento and travel back in time with a visit to Sorrento Museum, located in the heart of town in the Mechanics Institute building.
- Delve into the world of fragrance at the Red Hill Candle Co. where you can shop, create, be inspired, and learn with in-store activities and interactive workshops. Winter nights and candles might be the perfect combination.
- Walk or cycle through the rugged coastal landscape at Point Nepean National Park with panoramic ocean and bay views. Explore military forts and tunnels, learn about the people who passed through the Quarantine Station, and see fascinating artefacts spanning back over 150 years.
- All you need is a warm coat and some good shoes to explore the wonder that is The Briars on a cool winter's day. Take a walk through the Wildlife Sanctuary, and explore the outbuildings and heritage gardens surrounding the homestead, with plenty of year-round events to choose from.
- Learn the art of low and slow cooking with the Red Gum BBQ Pitmaster Masterclass. Held on a Thursday evening once per month, this BBQ Pitmaster Class is perfect for aspiring Pitmasters or those simply wanting to take their BBQ to the next level.
- If you love your maritime history, a visit Museum of HMAS Cerberus is a must. Featuring a large naval heritage collection of artefacts and memorabilia, it steps you through a period of Victorian and Colonial Navies and through the history of the Royal Australian Navy.
Feed Your Shopping Need
- Meet the makers at Dromana Habitat, a collective of Mornington Peninsula makers and trades who are connected by purpose, passion, and process, with open doors for year-round encounters.
- Go treasure hunting at The Factory Antique Market, a unique complex of constantly changing antiques, collectibles, jewellery, clothing and shoes, vintage items, retro wares, flash trash, tools and outdoor furniture. You might find that perfect collectible you were missing.
- Stroll along street stalls and enjoy the Main Street Wednesday Market in Mornington which is Victoria’s longest-running midweek regional market, dating back over 30 years.
- Get lost amongst over 5000 square metres of antiques, retro, vintage and old wares at Tyabb Packing House Antiques…you never know what you might find.
- Shop for handmade, homemade, or homegrown at the Mornington Racecourse Market, which runs all year on the second Sunday of the month. Loads of food vendors for a warm nibble while you wander.
Expand Your Mind
- Immerse yourself in sea.liquid.sensation.flux.spac, a current exhibition by cross-disciplinary artist Vera Moller on display at Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery until 3 September.
- Beleura House & Garden offers something for everyone interested in history, art, gardens and music. Their music program features intimate concerts, from classical music to light opera and jazz, performed by some of Australia's foremost musicians throughout the year.
- Most people might not think of visiting gardens in winter (Autumn for foliage colour and Spring for the blooms but Heronswood House and Garden has plenty to see and do, with its north-facing slope and sea views, plant sales and shop, and delicious tea and scones in the heritage house.
- Open daily, the historic house and gardens at Coolart Wetlands and Homestead are an easy day trip from Melbourne and feature a program of Winter Sessions performed live in the Conservatory.
- Appreciate fine-quality art and exhibitions by leading Aboriginal artists Australia-wide at EVERYWHEN Artspace, a leading contemporary art gallery in Flinders.
- Wander through 16 acres of bush and landscaped gardens and explore more than 100 large-scale works by prominent Australian sculptors at McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery in Langwarrin, then grab a hot cuppa and nibbles at Harry's Café. Dancing the Music: Philipa Cullen is their current exhibition until 16 July.
- Once a Sunday once a month, Cruden Farm invites guests to take a tour or just come for the day for a stroll around the gardens and farm. Bring your thermos and picnic (and perhaps your gumboots if it looks like rain).
- Do you want to contribute to climate change research and understand how it affects our plants and wildlife? Join ClimateWatch advocates on a free guided walk to monitor biodiversity at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Cranbourne Gardens, on Sunday, 24 June and Saturday, 15 July.
- Thaw the winter chills and discover a coastal oasis of health and wellbeing at Peninsula Hot Springs, where you can indulge and delight yourself with over 70 globally inspired bathing and wellness experiences, all nestled harmoniously in the natural landscape.
- Escape the cold outside and the constant stress of daily pressures with floatation therapy at The Private Sea Wellness Centre. Floatation therapy is a natural way to heal the body and mind with 350kgs of Epsom salt dissolved into a spa bath of skin-temperature water, becoming a peaceful space free of gravity, noise, and other distractions.
- Indulge in the peaceful surroundings of contemporary indoor, open-air, and outdoor thermal pools at Alba Thermal Springs & Spa or renew and recalibrate with an exquisite ritual or spa treatment. Chase away the winter blues and enjoy the deep restorative powers of the geothermal springs.
- Unwind with a spa experience at Aurora Spa & Bathhouse that is designed to bring you a deeper sense of well-being and balance.
- Revitalise your winter skin with products from Olieve and Olie Skincare Factory, an Australian organic skincare brand of natural body products, lovingly handmade from scratch using quality olive oil from their unique recipes and formulations.
Immerse In Nature (or walk and talk)
- Gear up and pick and choose where you start and finish along The Bay Trail (Safety Beach to Portsea). An easy walk to enjoy, there are plenty of toilets, water stations, and playgrounds along the way.
- Kick off your morning with an easy stroll along the Warringine Park & Bittern Coastal Wetlands Boardwalk, a popular boardwalk from Western Port marina in Hastings to Jack's Beach in Crib Point that showcases the southern-most mangroves in the world, plenty of birdlife and good views to French Island.
- If you don't mind an early alarm, the sunrise at Hastings pier is well worth the wake-up call, with a freshly brewed coffee your well-earned reward.
- Winter doesn't mean you can't swim at the beach; it's just going to be fresh. For lovers of cold-water therapy and the benefits it brings, a visit to Bridgewater Bay rock pools in Blairgowrie is guaranteed to make you feel alive.
- Walk, explore, and learn at the Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve with its spectacular views, geological formations, unspoiled wild beaches, rich European history, coastal scenery, and heritage precinct. Be sure to bring your water bottle (or hot thermos in the cooler months).
- Grab your clubs and play a round at Flinders Golf Club, perched high on the cliff tops with views across to Phillip Island and the rugged Bass Strait coastline providing a stunning panorama. Reminiscent of the great links courses of Scotland and Ireland.
- Immerse yourself in these delightfully exotic and indigenous gardens with its network of walking tracks and sculptures by William Ricketts. Seawinds Gardens also features one of the most breathtaking views of the peninsula's coastline and shipping lanes.
- Explore the trails of Red Hill and its surrounds on a bike tour with Red Hill Trail Co. From the everyday rider to the advanced mountain bike devotee, whatever your skill level and the team will guide you on your biking adventure.
Raise Your Heartbeat
- Conquer your fears and reach new heights at Bayside Rock Climbing, an indoor facility offering Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering and Auto Belays for any level of experience.
- Fancy a game of ten-pin bowling, table tennis, or a game of pool while listening to groovy beats and enjoying a tasty menu and favourite cocktails, General Public Frankston truly has something for everyone.
- Become part of the story at Locked In Escape Rooms where you are drawn deeply into a mystery and have to use your wits and quick thinking to escape within the allocated 60 minutes.
- Get your heart pumping with some indoor roller skating at Sk8house. In case you didn't know, roller skating is one of the best total-body cardio workouts proven to improve balance, motor skills, stability, and coordination.
- Grab your bathers and a towel and head into Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre (PARC) in Frankston to make the most of their four pool zones, including a warm water pool for rehabilitation, a hydro pool, a 50m lap swimming pool, or the kids' area with waterslide, toddler pools and aquatic playground.
On The High Seas
- Be an island wanderer and discover French Island Western Port with Western Port Ferries Mornington Peninsula. Weather and sea conditions can impact operations, so it's always best to check their website on the day of travel to confirm.
- Experience the beauty of our picturesque Port Phillip on a bay crossing with Searoad Ferries Sorrento, where you can make the 40-minute trip between Sorrento and Queenscliff trip all year round, regardless of the weather. Travel as a passenger or take the car with you and remember to keep a lookout for dolphins that like to play escort along the way.
- Try something a little different with Proteus Charters. They offer an adrenaline-inducing tour between Blairgowrie and Queenscliff in a sleek, high-speed rigid inflatable that is designed to move fast and eat through any water conditions that Port Phillip Bay might serve up.