No trip to Melbourne is complete without one thing: a mini road trip to the Mornington Peninsula. Just south of the city, the peninsula is a fixture on the country’s wine circuit, famous for its excellent pinot noir and chardonnay.

Give yourself a self-guided tour of the peninsula’s wineries with this mini road trip guide:

Stop 1:

Start at the rustic, open-air Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove, where you can sit outside and contemplate your wine in peace.

Stop 2:

Then head to Port Phillip Estate, an architectural marvel with sexy, sleek interiors and floor-to-ceiling views of the vineyards.

Stop 3:

Don’t miss Ten Minutes by Tractor: expect deep red interiors and deeper red wines. If you want to splash out on a dinner, this is the place.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Stop 4:

Round off a romantic day with a dip in the Peninsula Hot Springs, where you can join the crowds or opt for an intimate private grotto. 

Where to Stay

 

A warm couple, Paul and Lisa Dempsey, runs Big Blue Backyard. This unique property is home to three remote “hideaway” cottages scattered among a huge plot of forested land. A maze of arched trees and blooming bushes lead to dramatic cliffs overlooking St. Andrews Beach.

Paul is a trained chef who cooks up a storm: the rate includes a bountiful in-room breakfast spread, and you can also arrange private dinners. I’m still daydreaming about Paul’s peppercorn steak with its jus. It’s a must if you’re in Mornington.

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