"There are plenty of wineries here - you can pick your wine from the cellar door, and taste the sparkling vintages."
The Mornington Peninsula is located south-east of Melbourne on the
shores of Port Phillip Bay. There's plenty to see and do in the region and the best way to explore the Mornington Peninsula is to take a self-drive tour. It's only about an hour's drive from Melbourne.
It's said that the first European settlers in the Victoria State arrived in 1803 and landed on the Mornington Peninsula. It's a hugely popular destination for tourists as there are a number of golden sandy beaches extending the length of the peninsula. It's also an ideal spot for all kinds of watersports.
If you travel inland there are several wineries. You can explore the various cellars and pick out a wine that suits you! The region as a whole is noted for its arts and crafts, fresh food and its markets, and not forgetting wonderful golf courses. Basically there's something for everyone here.
Mornington Peninsula is bordered to the west by Port Philip Bay, Western Point to the East and Bass Strait to the south. It's a holiday spot favored by natives of the area and is home to outstanding coastal scenery, picturesque villages, wineries and challenging golf courses. And if you're a fan of the great outdoors it's also an excellent base for a variety of activities.
If you're driving to the Mornington Peninsula from Melbourne it couldn't be easier. If you take the Nepean Highway (Number 3) leading to the (B110) from inner city Melbourne, you will be touching the coastline nearly all the way down to the peninsula. More minor roads will take you inland and to the western port side of the peninsula, and to the many golden beaches at Frankston, Portsea, Sorrento, Flinders and Somers Beach to name but a few.
The best way to explore the area is by car.
As you depart Melbourne, get onto the Nepean Highway. Continue southeastwards in the suburbs of Melbourne and follow the signs for the first town along the route, Frankston.
In Frankston you can visit the famous McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, and check out the outstanding Australian Art by renowned painters Williams and Drysdale. Or, you can venture into the sculpture park for some wonderful art displays in a bushland backdrop!
From here you'll be driving parallel to the coast on the Nepean Highway (Number 3), and you'll pass a number of magnificent beaches before you reach the town of Mornington. If you've an hour to spare it's a good idea to stop here and potter around the town. Maybe have a drink in one of the cafes that overlook the Mornington Harbor and watch the waves rolling in.
A visit to Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery is also well worthwhile. After your refreshments at Mornington, travel onto Sorrento, a picturesque village with wonderful limestone properties, housing art galleries and charming restaurants. If you wish, you could take a boat trip to catch a glimpse the dolphins and seals at play, or go fishing!
Collins Settlement Historic Site at Sorrento is worth visiting as well. From here you could take a boat cruise to Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula.
After Sorrento continue on the Nepean Highway onto Portsea. You have now covered a total of 97km from Melbourne, a driving time of 2 hours. At Portsea, a visit to Point Nepean is a must for great views of Port Phillip Bay. It's the most westerly point of the Mornington Peninsula. Here you can check out the Australian coastal fortifications that were in operation for coastal defense during WWII.
The Mornington Peninsula National Park is well worth stopping off at on this part of the driving tour. The park includes some of the region's most tranquil beaches. The park features a wild and rocky coastline including a unique rock formation called London Bridge!
The next stage on your driving tour will take you from Portsea to Cape Schanck, a driving distance of 30km (40-minute drive). Here at Cape Schanck, you can take in the stunning views of the Bass Strait or you could avail of a guided tour of the marvelous Cape Schanck Lighthouse.
You're now on the western side of the Mornington Peninsula, and from here continue your journey onto the picturesque fishing village of Flinders, 12km from Cape Schanck. Flinders is a great place to relax and unwind, and offers an abundance of watersports, safe beaches, and plenty of art and craft galleries. For the golfer, don't forget to enjoy a round at the wonderful Flinders Golf Course that overlooks the majestic Bass Strait, with stunning ocean scapes.
Leaving Flinders, you'll be traveling in the direction of Arthur's Seat and Red Hill, a driving distance of 15km. The Nepean Highway has changed road number at this stage, so you're now on the B110. Arthur's Seat boasts stunning views across the bay, and on clear days you can see the Melbourne skyscrapers! Why not take a trip on the famous Chairlift at Arthur's Seat to get a full panoramic view of the area
The Red Hill region is the wine producing area of the Mornington Peninsula. As you drive along you can see the vineyards, farms and fruit orchards dotted around the landscape. There are plenty of wineries here - you can pick your wine from the cellar door, and taste the sparkling vintages. One well worth checking out is Red Hill Winery.
Good food is synonymous with the area as well, and the fresh produce can be enjoyed in the local eateries as you stop off in the Montalto area. In fact, for a treat, why not sample the local produce at Red Hill Market, which takes place on the first Saturday of each month
For the final part of the Mornington Peninsula driving tour take the B110 along the coast for 21km to Hastings. This is a charming fishing town, where you can reel in some fish, or take a cruise of Western Port Bay.
Reference: Mairead Foley writes for Novacarhire.com where you can book car hire at airports, ferry ports, rail stations, cities and towns all over the world.
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