On the Mornington Peninsula, the gentle waters of Port Phillip Bay offer plenty of protected swimming areas, including at Mount Eliza, Mornington, Mount Martha, Dromana, Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento and Portsea.
You can also get out on the water with local paddleboarding companies, or hire some snorkelling gear and spot some of the underwater creatures of the bay, including the weedy sea dragons who like to loiter under the Rye Pier. Between November and April, you can even swim with the dolphins in Port Phillip Bay with one of the local tour operators.
If all this beach activity is tiring you out, then it might be time to take a trip to the Peninsula Hot Springs for a relaxing soak session or massage. The natural thermal mineral waters of the springs flow into a network of pools and private baths, including a cave pool, hilltop pool, Turkish steam bath (Hamam), cold plunge pools and many more. This is a wonderfully relaxing experience, but it is popular (especially during peak holiday periods), so it is essential to book your bathing session before you go. Don’t forget to pack a towel, or you’ll have to fork out to hire one when you get there!
After you’ve been sufficiently re-energised, put your walking boots back on and take to the cliffs on the Mornington Peninsula Coastal Walk. At 100 kilometres long, the entire walk is quite the challenge, but don’t be intimidated, as there are plenty of shorter walking circuits and tracks that offer wonderful views of the landscape.
Another alluring feature of the Mornington Peninsula is its plethora of wineries and cellar doors. With more than 50 to choose from, you can effectively sip your way around the peninsula, trying the local wines as you go. The region is known for its pinot noir and chardonnay, but other varieties like shiraz, pinot gris and pinot grigio are gaining some well-deserved attention, too. You’ll also find plenty of dining options – from acclaimed fine-dining restaurants to casual cafés – where you can sup on abundant seasonal produce, lovingly prepared.
And it’s not only wine aficionados who are well catered for here. Beer lovers will be like pigs in mud at the Mornington Peninsula Brewery, which is tucked away in the back streets of Mornington. The brewery provides a relaxed atmosphere complete with beer garden and a menu of wood-fired pizzas that discerning beer drinkers will enjoy. There is also a viewing mezzanine where you can watch the goings on in the brew house below.