The Mornington Peninsula, on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay, feels like an island with a vast ocean to the south and bays and sheltered beaches on either side. Fertile hills roll down to pretty beaches or harbours and serene bay views abound.
Some of Australia’s best sandy beaches can be found here and every kind of water activity is available, from sailing and surfing to fishing and dolphin swims. There are also majestic coastal walks past dunes, beaches, cliffs and lighthouses. On the bay side of the peninsula, visit stylish Sorrento with its fine 19th century buildings and excellent eateries, boutiques and galleries. Stop off at Mornington and enjoy its cosmopolitan sidewalk cafes and picturesque harbour. On the other side of the peninsula visit the charming fishing hamlet of Flinders and take a trip to nearby Cape Schanck where you can enjoy superb views of Bass Strait.
Alternatively head inland and explore the abundance of vineyards and orchards tucked away among the rolling hills of Red Hill and Main Ridge. Wineries and restaurants overlook the blue waters of Port Phillip Bay to the west and Western Port Bay to the east and the peninsula’s orchards sell fresh produce direct from the farmgate.
For anybody who has ever teed up, the Mornington Peninsula is golfing heaven. Take on the daunting Moonah Links, specifically designed for the prestigious Australian Open, or head to The Dunes, a Scottish-style links layout rated as one of the top 15 courses in Australia.
The region is also noted for its historic homes and gardens and has been a retreat for artists for more than a century. Visit some of the excellent galleries and craft markets at towns such as Red Hill and Mornington.