Just an hour’s drive from the urban sprawl of Melbourne, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula provides the perfect year-round escape for city dwellers. Charming towns dot the coastline; their main streets lined with cafes, galleries and boutiques. Further inland, the fertile hinterland region is home to a number of wineries and cellar doors, promising innovative food and wine experiences overlooking hills, lakes and vines.
Partnering with MINI, HEY GENTS ventured off in a MINI Countryman to discover the best places to eat, drink and stay in this sophisticated yet easy-going destination.
Eat & Drink
Petit Tracteur is an excellent place to begin your foray into the Mornington Peninsula’s formidable restaurant scene. Pull up a seat in the plant-filled bistro and soak up the relaxed atmosphere as you enjoy meticulously prepared French cuisine paired with their own much-lauded ‘Ten Minutes by Tractor’ wines.
Georgie Bass Café & Cookery
Run by the owners of Flinders Hotel, which resides just across the street, Georgie Bass Café & Cookery is a warm, welcoming space where the emphasis is on simple food that looks incredible and tastes even better. If you’d like to sharpen your own culinary skills, ask the friendly staff about their hands-on cooking classes run by industry-leading chefs.
Start your day with brunch at Nordie Café in Red Hill, right in the heart of the peninsula. Serving up a range of inspired dishes using home-grown produce in a sleek, Scandinavian-styled interior—with furniture by award-winning Danish design house, HAY—Nordie offers the perfect blend of local charm and international flair. Enjoy a cup of Allpress Coffee and peruse the range of HAY home and kitchen wares available for purchase.
Port Phillip Estate
For an unforgettable vista, head to the limestone rammed earth walls of Port Phillip Estate: an architectural landmark and one of the region’s most exciting food and wine destinations. From the expansive, light-filled dining room, relish the spectacular views of the estate over lunch.
To enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the peninsula, make time for some wine tasting at Polperro Winery—nestled amongst vines and shaded by ancient Angophora trees on a stunning 25-acre property. Its quaint, farmhouse-style exterior gives way to a warm restaurant and cosy, dimly lit cellar door with bottles of wine lining the walls.
Many Little Bar & Bistro
As the sun sets, drop into Many Little Bar & Bistro for a casual setting with a modern edge. Their comprehensive drinks menu includes cocktails, premium spirits and an eclectic range of Australian and international wines—best enjoyed over shared plates of marinated olives and truffle and parmesan fries.
St Andrews Beach Brewery
Heading coastward, St Andrews Beach Brewery sits on a 38-hectare plot that was once a world-class horse training facility. The 1,200-metre grass racetrack now serves as a huge fruit-and-vegetable patch, providing fresh produce for their pub-style menu. Grab a seat in the sunny beer garden while sampling the extensive selection of home-brewed beers.
Bass & Flinders Distillery
If your interest lies in quality local spirits, take the scenic road north to the family-run Bass & Flinders Distillery. Producing small-batch, grape-based spirits—including brandies, gins and liqueurs—passion is an integral part of their process, and the result is a truly unique tasting experience not to be missed.
Jackalope is a meticulously designed hotel offering luxurious suites with floor-to-ceiling windows connecting guests to the rural surrounds. Jackalope’s Doot Doot Doot restaurant presents an elegant dining experience beneath a monumental ceiling design comprising 10,000 incandescent globes that emulate the fermentation process in winemaking. Rare Hare—another of Jackalope’s restaurants, serves up more casual cuisine, and cocktail lounge Flaggerdoot lures guests at the hotel entrance.
If visiting with a group, Nord House offers three cosy bedrooms, an all-black kitchen decked out with the latest European appliances, a spacious living area with a wood fire and wall-to-wall sofas, and French doors opening onto a north-facing garden for the summer months. In true Scandi style, the interior showcases a calming blend of bright tones and dark accents with eye-catching and beautifully functional furnishings throughout.
Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill
For a true country house hotel experience, Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill is your best bet. Nestled among 34 acres of gardens and vines, the 40-room boutique hotel exudes comfort and authentic hospitality. After a day of exploring the region’s breezy coastal villages or revered wineries, seat yourself in the brightly lit dining room for farm-to-table fare or relax fireside with a glass of 5-star Halliday-rated Lindenderry Estate wine in a Balcony Suite.
This guide was produced by HEY GENTS in partnership with MINI Australia.
Words by Andrew Woodward. Photographs by Nick Vodicka.