The Mornington Peninsula is only an hour's drive from Melbourne, but it seems a world away. The Peninsula now has an air that's reminiscent of the Mediterranean, with its vineyards and olive groves, its historic country house retreats and intimate hotels.
While it's boot-shaped like Italy, the Mornington Peninsula is far easier to explore at a leisurely pace. You can travel the length of our coastlines, stopping at our seaside villages, or just meander back and forth from one coast to the other on country roads with glorious views.
There is so much to explore on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Below are some highlights to help you find what you're looking for on The Mornington Peninsula.
Many people start at our wineries, where more than 50 Cellar Doors quickly reveal why Mornington Peninsula has such as enviable reputation for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (and now closely followed by other varietals including: Shiraz, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot).
Fine wine is always a magnet for fine food, and here you can buy just-picked and locally made produce, or let our restaurants and cafes tempt you with dishes that are the perfect compliment to our regional wines.
After a lazy lunch, our beautiful outdoors beckon. A round of Golf? Our 18 courses have some of the world's best natural golfing terrain- but the green fee's are decidedly Australian.
Choose a windswept cliff-top, a quiet beach or a bush-clad path or head from the historic Point Nepean where you'll find all three. The most famous of our 25,000 hectares on national parks, Point Nepean was closed to the public for more than 100 years. Its now open for everyone's enjoyment, and you can follow the cycle-and pedestrian road to the extensive military installations right at the tip of Point Nepean.
By this time the seaside may well be beckoning you- and Mornington Peninsula has plenty of options. Surfing, Scuba, Diving, Sailing, Diving with dolphins or swimming with seals, fishing in Port Phillip Bay or the thrill of horse riding along the sands of wind-swept Gunnamatta Beach.
When its time to take the tensions out of life, just let yourself relax in the expert hands at one of our day spas. Mud wraps, massages, facials, hand and feet retreats are all on the indulgence menu. Situated a 2 min ute drive from The Cups Estate is The Peninsula Hot Springs. A relaxation haven boasting Japanese style hot baths, an aboriginal relaxation massage and Arabic steam rooms.
If pampering is not your style perhaps our gracious gardens, art galleries, heritage mansions, fine local art and craft galleries, antique stores and lively local markets will tempt you.
MORNINGTON PEN >
Mornington Peninsula Wines
Mornington Peninsula is a special place where vines thrive in sheltered undulating valleys nurtured by a maritime cool climate creating elegant, personality-packed award-winning wines - predominantly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with Pinot Gris and Shiraz a smaller presence.
There is an enormous range of styles to the region's flagship variety, from a haunting elegance and lingering intensity through to the more complex, structured and rich expression of the land. The constant factor is the clear varietal character which is clearly pronounced throughout the different sub regions on the Peninsula. From cherry and raspberry flavours with soft tannins in the higher areas to the more tannic, elegant yet assertive wines with plum fruit in the warmer areas. Mornington Peninsula winemakers understand Pinot Noir vines are fussy- they choose their homes with fastidious care, insisting on precise combinations of temperature, humidity, aspect and ripening time. Such special conditions are difficult to find in Australia, but the cool, green rolling hills and valleys of the Mornington Peninsula provide a perfect home.
The Mornington Peninsula provides a diverse range of micro-climates that are perfectly matched to the production of high quality Chardonnay. The Chardonnay flavours range from melon, citrus, stone fruits and fig with mineral and flinty aspects that are a pure and intense expression of the specific sites, often complemented by soft and creamy textures that make these wines so alluring. Chardonnay, more than any variety, benefits from the extraordinary natural acidity that the cool Mornington Peninsula climate can produce and accentuates the restraint and tight structure for which the region is renowned. In recent years many reviews have described how Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula provided the most pleasurable reward to those who had kept them in excess of ten years.
Pinot Gris & Grigio
Pinot Gris thrives in the region's fertile soils and maritime climate with over 140 hectares currently planted. Pinot Gris produces soft, evocatively perfumed wines of surprising substance and complexity. Two distinct styles are made- the voluptuous 'Gris' and the svelte 'Grigio' which Italian wine producers tend to pick before full ripeness. Mornington Peninsula producers have explored both styles with acclaim.
Other varieties include a diverse range suites tot he specific sites, including Shiraz / Syrah.
Surrounded by Bass Strait, Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay, the Mornington Peninsula is one of Australia's true maritime wine regions. In this part of the world, the prevailing wind is generally either from the north and west across Port Phillip Bay or from the south and east across Bass Strait. The maritime influence provides relatively high summer humidity, vine stress is low, sunshine hours are abundant, and rainfall is plentiful during winter and spring. The coincidence of late ripening and a prolonged gentle autumn result in full ripe grapes with outstanding fruit flavours, high natural acidity and fine tannins.
There are four principal soil types. Hard mottled yellow duplex soils with a very distinct break marked by a thin, acid cement/sand pan between the surface soil and the underlying friable, well drained clay are to be found in the Dromana area. Around Red Hill and Main Ridge, red soils of volcanic origin (kraznozems) predominate; these are very deep and fertile. In the Merricks area there are brown duplex soils, while much sandier soils are in evidence at Moorooduc.
Map Coordinates: 38deg 20'S
Altitude: 25-250 metres (82-820 feet)
Heat Degree Days, Oct-Apr: 1080-1570 (cut off at 19degC but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall: 320-386 millimetres
Mean January Temp: 18.8-20degC
Relative humidity, Oct-Apr, 3pm: Average 55%
Harvest: End of February to Early April.
Things to do...
Spas and Wellbeing
Attractions, Parks and Gardens
Wildlife & Adventure
Other Regional Links