Could Mornington Peninsula be Australia's best weekend destination?

By Sangeeta Kocharekar February 24, 2016

Mornington Peninsula has beautiful beaches, plenty of activities, and unique experiences

Only an hour away from Melbourne's CBD lies the picturesque area of Mornington Peninsula. Known for its seemingly infinite choice of bay beaches, the region also boasts a distinct culture – a blend of Mediterranean coastal life and quintessential Aussie charm. 

Each seaside village dotting the scenic coastline boasts a variety of galleries, museums, restaurants and cafes. If you're not yet convinced or you need some help persuading a partner-in-crime, here are the top five reasons why Mornington Peninsula should be your next weekend getaway.

1. To swim in some of the country's most beautiful beaches


As we mentioned, the area is known for its array of beaches. There's a beach for every activity under the sun - surfing, snorkelling, fishing, picnicking - you name it, Mornington Peninsula beaches will cater to it. Portsea and Sorrento are the most well-known and therefore the most crowded, while Merricks and the beaches in Mount Eliza, accessed by a short walk from the road, are smaller and quieter. 

2. To relax in complete serenity


The Peninsula Hot Springs is a welcome retreat from the daily grind. Nothing says blissfulness more than an outdoor bath in a steamy pool. Add a backdrop comprised of the rolling green hills of the area and the spot makes for an unforgettable experience. The day spa offers a Bath House for social, bring-a-friend experiences or a Spa Dreaming Centre for some alone time. Hot tip: booking an evening-time bath will give you an off-peak price and sunset views.

3. To get moving in stunning surroundings


Sure, there's lazy sunbaking and gluttonous picknicking available all along the coastline, but if you're more inclined to get your endorphins going, there's a heap of physical activities on offer. Horseback riding, biking, kayaking, and hiking are only a few of the many ways to get your heart rate up. And the best part of about it? You won't even notice you've broken a sweat because you'll be too distracted by your surroundings.

4. To see the world-famous penguin parade in Phillip Island


Okay, so this isn't exactly in Mornington Peninsula, but Phillip Island is only a short ferry ride away. The island has motorsport activities, spa treatments and waterfront restaurants, but is best known for its Penguin Parade. The smallest breed of penguins in the world live there and every evening, they arrive at the shore after a day of fishing, and waddle their way to their sand dune homes. You can catch the penguin action from a viewing platform or the Penguin Sky Box, an elevated tower only available to five people a night.

5. To experience annual cultural events


Almost every weekend, there's a market day, festival, or race day of some sort. The upcoming Peninsula Picnic, a popular food, wine, and music gathering, will be held on March 20th. Sample treats from gourmet restaurants, decadent wineries, fresh local produce and quality artisan wares as you listen to tunes by local artists. Tickets available here. Another big annual event in the area is the Jeep Portsea Polo, which attracts socialites from all around the country. The world-class polo event is held every January.