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On our first escape from the city in a recently free-again Victoria, we decided to take a trip to the Mornington Peninsula, a new part of the state for us. We were blessed with amazing weather and made the most of our time in the area, getting to as many places as we could.
This Mornington Peninsula Itinerary gives suggestions on where to stay, what to do and how much you can fit into just a few days. Whilst we were here for four nights (arrived Monday lunchtime, left Friday lunchtime) you can easily adapt this plan to a long weekend or pick the highlights for a shorter stay.
We had our (nearly) two-year-old toddler in tow, so you’ll see a theme in the kind of places that we visited.
I hope you enjoy it…
Where To Stay On The Mornington Peninsula
On the advice of a colleague from work, we opted to stay closer to Mornington rather than heading further down the peninsula to places like Rosebud or Sorrento.
This felt like a good decision, both cutting down our journey to and from Melbourne at either end of the trip, but also giving us access to the main town in the area, Mornington and the beautiful beaches at Mount Martha.
The M11 made the trips further down the Peninsula nice and quick, so we felt well positioned.
OUR PICK: Stones Throw Mornington
Having done a LOT of research (this was our first time away in nearly a year due to lockdowns and we wanted it to be special) we settled on Stones Throw Mornington.
It was big enough that it had the space to stay home if the weather turned bad, had a wonderful pool in the garden, was a two-minute walk from the excellent Fishermans Bay Beach and was the little touch of luxury we needed after a tough year.
READ MORE: Stones Throw Mornington Review & Tour
BUDGET FAMILY PICK: Kangerong Holiday Park
If you’re looking for a cheaper option for your stay in the Mornington Peninsula then Kangerong Holiday Park is in a great location near the beach in Dromana.
It was one of the first places we found when we were doing our research of where to stay, and gets an 8.9/10 from 143 reviews on Booking.com (with a 9.6/10 for location).
FULL LIST OF MORNINGTON STAYS: Check the List Here
Here is a full list of properties available in the area from Stayz.com.
Must-Visit Places On The Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula Itinerary Map
Below is a map for easy navigation of all the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.
Millionaires’ Walk Sorrento
Millionaires’ Walk is one of the more unusual things to do on the Mornington Peninsula, is a 1.1km return walk on a clifftop footpath in a luxury part of Sorrento.
It is a bit tricky to find the start point (click the link below for my handy guide which will help) but is well worth the short detour to get here. Take in some of the most beautiful ocean views in the area, do some mansion shopping and enjoy a part of the Sorrento-Portsea Artists’ Trail.
Moonlit Sanctuary is a small sanctuary near Hastings packed with wonderful Aussie wildlife.
We’ve visited twice as it’s a great way to see everything from koala to dingo in an open environment with great enclosures.
They also have great conservation programs which are helping to protect Australia’s animals and birds, alongside some classic Oz animal experiences (koala photo anyone!?).
It’s an inexpensive and fun half-day visit and well worth the visit if you’re on the Peninsula.
READ MY FULL REVIEW: An Honest Moonlit Sanctuary Review & Guide
Rain, Hayne & Shine Farm
A rustic, farm which might not be for everyone, but left us with some of the happiest memories of our trip to the Mornington Peninsula.
The petting shed gave our little girl access to piglets, chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits, and she had half an hour of complete bliss, running her fingers through their fur, feeding chickens and getting slightly overwhelmed by the noisy pigs.
The farm is not in the greatest condition, but their love for the animals is clear (there are also cows, emu, goats and even dingos here) and it was a great experience for our toddler and put a smile on all our faces.
Whilst it’s not quite as exciting as it sounds (owing to the fact that pretty much everyone who’s ever visited hasn’t seen the blowhole actually blowing) it’s still a great stop-off with scenic views, a short walk and a rugged bluestone cove. Visit it combined with Cape Schanck as they are close together.
LEARN MORE: Flinders Blowhole (Is it worth a visit?)
Red Gum BBQ
A scrummy Southern-style American barbeque joint, in an old truck mechanic’s shed in the hills near Arthur’s Seat – what a story! We met a friend here who lived locally who comes here regularly, which tells you everything you need to know.
The food was off the charts, the open warehouse design with smokers chugging away in the corner gives an authentic feel and the shed in the corner set up for the kids to play made it perfect for our little family.
Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, they are also a B-Corps, one of the biggest forces for good in the business world, meaning you know you’re eating somewhere which is committed to both the planet and looking after their team.
Arthur’s Seat is the highest point on the Mornington Peninsula and can be accessed via a twisty road or a 15 minutes cablecar ride on ‘The Eagle’ which gives sweeping views back down to Mount Martha and beyond.
On top of Arthur’s Seat there are walking tracks, a big cafe and some great play areas for the kids. Tickets are $27.90 for an adult, with children (over 4) at $17.50 for a return trip.
Point Nepean National Park
Point Nepean National Park is at the very end of the Peninsula and forms the ‘pincers’ at the end of Port Philip Bay. with Queenscliff the other side.
We were expecting the rugged trails, historic buildings and military installations (this place has been used for everything from defence to a quarantine station for people arriving in Victoria), but what we weren’t expecting was the flat, white beaches filled with driftwood, filling us with memories of Cote D’Or Beach in Seychelles.
Honestly we didn’t make the most of Point Nepean. We were in a bit of a hurry and it was a blazing hot afternoon. We should have waited for the bus and gone all the way out to the fort, rather than trying to walk it ourself. A combination of the heat and an incident in the sea which left our toddler having to wear my t-shirt and one of my camera lenses going to an insurance claim meant we left a bit sooner than we would have liked.
We’ll definitely be back, but next time not at the hottest part of the day with no snacks!
Cheviot Hill & Beach
I know this might be controversial as a separate listing, as Cheviot Hill is in Point Nepean National Park, but I have wanted to visit here ever since reading Down Under by Bill Bryson on the run up to our emigration here from the UK.
Well this was the place that Bryson heads off to visit after finding out that the (in his words) ‘tragically submersible’ Prime Minister Harold Holt went missing in 1967 after swimming out from Cheviot Beach. The stories range from a shark attack, to being picked upped by a submarine (owning to a conspiracy that he was a Chinese spy), but either no trace of him has ever been found. It’s hard to imagine a Prime Minister just disappearing after a swim, so this place has intrigued me ever since.
Whilst I didn’t make it to the beach, I did climb Cheviot Hill which has old military pillboxes on the slopes and from the top offers views of Port Phillip Bay on one side, the Tasman Sea to the other and Queenscliff over the water.
I also made a little stop off at the Harold Holt Memorial to pay my tributes to the man behind this unusual story, before heading off.
Cape Schanck Lighthouse & Pulpit Rock
Stunning, rugged coastline with a stereotypical red and white lighthouse, and a steep but very worthwhile boardwalk that cuts down the cliff to the stoic, dark Pulpit Rock at the end of the headland.
There is no entry fee, and some much longer walks along the coast if you’re up for them. If not it’s a great stop off for an hour or so to wander around the lighthouse and enjoy the scenery from the boardwalk.
Boneo Discovery Park
A little run down, probably owing to the lack of trade during Covid, but more than made up for by the astonishing wetland area in the middle and an old maze (in which we had fun watching a Blue-Tongue Lizard try and find its way out).
There is lots to do here with big outdoor games such as chess and swingball, a miniature railway and some more adventurous stuff like a climbing wall. Unfortunately, a lot of this wasn’t running on the day we arrived, but I imagine in peak season this would add to the trip.
The wetland area was beautiful, a boardwalk cutting through tall reeds with small birds darting through the peripheral vision and frogs keeping track of one another in the shallows.
$18 for adults, $15 for kids. It wouldn’t go to the top of the list of places we visited, but if everything’s open we’d come again to check it out.
Balcombe Creek Estuary Boardwalk
Another unexpected find, we only ended up here because it showed up on Google Maps near to where we were staying.
The boardwalk goes on for almost 2km alongside the estuary through woodland filled with life, a peaceful adventure just off the busy coastal road.
The best bit about it – the ‘Yellow Robin Adventure Guide’. Scan a QR code at the beginning of the walk and you’ll be taken to either an adult or kid’s audio guide of the walk. It was fun to listen along to the bird calls and learn about the history of a reserve that 80 years ago was an army camp and training area. Oh, and it’s completely free!
Places We Didn’t Get To
There were also a number of places on our list that we simply didn’t have the time to get to, or weren’t open at the time we visited.
I include them to help you form your own ‘must-visit’ list for your adventure in Mornington.
Dragon Head Rock
At the correct angle, the photos of this rock look amazing (and, if you couldn’t get it from the name, pretty dragon-like)! On the southern coast of Sorrento, you could easily combine it with a trip out to Point Nepean or Sorrento itself.
I know, I know – we went to Mornington and WE DIDN’T GO TO A WINERY. Parenthood hasn’t been kind to us, our past selves feel very let down by our current behaviour. Check out any of the ‘best wineries in Mornington‘ lists that are on Google to find one for you. For what it’s worth, Ten Minutes by Tractor was on our list.
Peninsula Hot Springs
We almost almost almost went to Peninsula Hot Springs, but just ran out of time. Not something we’ve ever done before (though we did enjoy the cold springs when we were in Laos) but it felt like something a bit different to do, and somewhere our toddler would have been fine too. We didn’t go more through running out of time than a lack of interest, but it’s top of our list next time we go.
Check out their website here, or book an exclusive bathhouse and picnic experience below.
Coolart Wetlands and Homestead
Another place we just didn’t have time to get to, Coolart Homestead is an old stately home with some beautiful grounds and wetlands. From looking at the photos it reminded me of National Trust places back in the UK, so if we’d had a bit more time we would have stopped in for a wander and picnic.
Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Garden
Don’t make the same mistake as us, Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Garden is closed on a Tuesday and a Wednesday! We were here in late November which should have been perfect for lavender season and I was looking forward to getting some photos (having spent this year learning my new camera) but it wasn’t to be.
If you’re in Mornignton during summer (they usually harvest in January) then it looks like a great place to visit for a couple of hours.
Wow, what a trip!
How did we live this close to the Mornington Peninsula for so long without making it down there? Well I guess having incredible places nearby such as the Grampians, Melbourne City, the High Country and Healesville means we’re spoilt for choice and offers some excuse.
Even so we dropped the ball here!
We’ll definitely be back to the Mornington Peninsula, as there are still some unturned stores such as a winery tour and the hot springs, but I hope this piece offers you enough inspiration for your upcoming trip.
As ever, if you have any further ideas they comments are quick to use and help future readers with those hidden gems that only come from first-hand knowledge. If you find any, please come back and share them with us.
Don’t miss my full guide to Victoria here, with a downloadable PFD guide to the state.
Did you know Victoria has the world’s longest tram network, almost had a city called Batmania and is the only place in the world where there were actually five Beetles? Find out more in my ‘30 Interesting & Unusual Facts About Victoria‘.
AUTHOR – BEN REEVE
Reeves Roam, is a first-hand travel blog. The Reeves have lived in the UK, South Africa and Australia and have travelled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia.
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Thanks – Ben, Becca and Gracie