My favourite places to visit on the Mornington Peninsula

February 8, 2015

Well, this was a long time coming. Having lived on the Mornington Peninsula for nearly thirty years, I most definitely have some thoughts on the best things to do in my region. The Mornington Peninsula is becoming a really popular spot for holidays and weekend getaways, and this is no surprise to me. I’ve always thought it to be particularly special. I get a lot of emails asking for recommendations on where to eat in my region, so I thought it was high time I put them all in one post.

This is a personal post, for sure. I’m showing you my peninsula, my favourite spots for coffee, breakfast, bread, cakes and wine. I still have a lot to discover, and you won’t find some of the popular tourist spots here because I have either never been, or have been on occasion and find them too busy or they just don’t feel like my peninsula. The following is what makes me happy in my hood.

Red Hill

When I think of the Mornington Peninsula I think of lush grass, dirt roads, the bridle track, heavy tree cover and red mud. I think of Red Hill. Red Hill is home.

♥ I grew up going to the Red Hill Market to visit my grandparents who had a stall selling home-crafted cards and pin cushions. My nana is the definition of crafty. I am not. I am, however, good at eating. It used to be fudge and corn on the cob, these days it’s Red Hill Cheese, Red Hill Muesli and Flinders Sourdough (which I’ll get to later).

♥ Mock Red Hill is a family-run, biodynamic orchard, and they make my most favourite (dry) cider. Their sparkling apple juice is the stuff of dreams. Visit for a tasting, buy your favourites and also some apples.

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♥ Foxeys Hangout is my favourite small winery for a casual and classy lunch. Go with a group and share some plates with a glass or bottle of their great sparkling wine.

♥ Ben adores Eldridge Estate‘s pinot noir varieties, and this winery has my personal favourite view in Red Hill. We love coming here for an incredibly unpretentious tasting.

♥ Wander the sculpture garden at Montalto and try their lovely wine. Maybe have a picnic! I used to work in the piazza at Montalto and would help set-up the picnics, dreaming of how perfect the spots were for a lazy day or maybe a proposal. Even if you’re just proposing to eat more cheese.

Johnny Ripe is a real gem. They make some of my favourite things – divine apple pies (in family or individual serves), stunning creme brulee tarts and other pastries, really yummy savoury pies, sausage rolls and tarts. Their doughnuts are always in my thoughts and often in my dreams. Johnny Ripe are open for takeaway treats, and whenever I visit I stock up on pies for our freezer and doughnuts for my immediate face.

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Green Olive make divine olive oil.

♥ Bernie at Red Hill Kitchen makes scrumptious pies, tarts and other goods, including chutneys and sauces. Grab some takeaway and eat back at your pad.

♥ Red Hill Brewery make really great, unique beer that even pleases non-beer drinkers (because it’s so darn tasty). Their golden ale is my favourite, though come the festive season I love their Christmas ale. We had their beer at our wedding and were pretty chuffed to be sharing this local brand.

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Ten Minutes by Tractor is an incredibly elegant restaurant that is well-praised. I believe that praise to be spot on. Book in advance for a special occasion and enjoy the smooth brilliance.


♥ The Red Hill Cellar and Pantry is my parents’ local supermarket. Mum and I tend to go when we need to quickly grab some cheese or more nuts for whatever cake we’re baking. They also stock Rickett’s Point ice-cream, one of my very favourites. We had the honey and ginger variety at our wedding. It’s a dream.

heidi icecream


♥ Another great market is the Emu Plains market, which has been revived after a long break. Back in the day it’d remind me of visiting my grandparents and eating egg and bacon rolls…good times. Now it’s a bit more hipster but that’s cool. Those hispters know their stuff.

Somers General Store is a sweet cafe and store by the beach. I love to wander the store, which is filled with treats and gifts you can buy, including hand-blown glass by owner and artist Leisa Wharington (we have quite a few of Leisa’s pieces, from vases to bowls to little birds. They make exquisite wedding gifts). Have a meal, a browse and then walk along the beach. You’ll feel very happy. UPDATE: Leisa no longer owns the store and I haven’t visited for a while so I’m not sure if it’s similarly wonderful.

Merricks General Store is another great spot for breakfast or lunch. Have a wine tasting and check out the gallery next door.

♥ We used to live a short walk from Coolart Homestead, an historic property that feels a little like Downton Abbey (though a tad less grand). We’d often start our weekend with a morning wander/frolic in the leaves.

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♥ My very favourite beach on the peninsula is Shoreham beach. It’s surrounded by pines and is often quite seaweedy, but it’s special to me. This is the beach I’d go after school during Summer and eat BBQ shapes. This is the beach my friend Amy and I would walk down to on weekends. This is the beach where my family have gathered because it reminds us of my brother. This is my favourite beach.


Pier Provedore make yummy pies and sausage rolls, and are a popular breakfast and lunch spot. I like their coffee, baguettes and baked goods too.

Flinders Sourdough make the bread of my dreams (of many people’s dreams). David and Margaret craft superb sourdough loaves with great skill, intention and knowledge, using quality produce (including organic, stoneground flour). Every loaf is great, don’t make me choose between their cob, olive or dark rye. Just don’t. Oh, and their sweet, fruity beach buns? Delicious.

♥ Stop by Flinders Shed for a piece of clothing or such that is well-crafted, unique and incredibly gorgeous.

Bushrangers Bay

♥ Just on from Flinders, towards Cape Shank, is Bushrangers Bay. This is our spot for when we want a gentle hike. A hike to a secluded, gorgeous beach, no less. It’s green, it’s nature, it’s everything I need.

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Dee’s Kitchen host a number of dishes I am addicted to. Let’s list them, shall we? Paprika chips (using kipfler potatoes and smoked paprika), falafels with spiced carrot dip (there are no words) and homemade pitta, and smashed roasted pumpkin and potato with grilled peppers and poached eggs. And sometimes it’s just about getting the closest croissant…

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Safety Beach

♥ Oh, how lucky we are to have Provincia in our hood. This store serves a whole manner of produce, with a focus on quality Italian goods like salami (their hot one is insanely good) and cheeses, imported oils, dried pastas and biscuits (Panettone at festive times), local breads and meat, as well as your fruit, vegetable and dairy needs. They stock everything from pantry staples to ice-cream, olives and Chinotto, and sell Italian doughnuts and coffee for all your breakfast needs. It is, quite seriously, the best place. UPDATE: we no longer live in Safety Beach and haven’t visited Provincia for a while. I do miss ready access to cheese and cured meats.

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Mt Martha

♥ The drive from Safety Beach to Mt Martha is one of my most favourite. There are lots of spots to pull over and wander, exploring coves and secret swimming holes.

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There are many places to eat in Mornington, and they change often! Businesses tend to come and go, but here is where I invariably end up.

Commonfolk serve great coffee in a space that is the opposite of suffocating.

Store Fifteen serve delicious almond milk lattes (regular lattes too), freshly pressed juice and smoothies, as well as raw treats!

D.O.C. for pizza and a glass of wine. Though dad makes the best pizza, I am always pleased at D.O.C. Their grocery section is fab too.

Marco Polo is our local Afghani restaurant. That’s right, authentic Afghani food on the (predominentely white) Mornington Peninsula. How great is that? I go mad for their lamb with rice. The rice has grated carrot, almonds and sultanas throughout it. Get the banquet, do it. This is really one of our very favourites.

Yo My Goodness, for frozen yoghurt. I’m so pleased this fad has stayed put. I’ll take some coconut, tart natural, and maybe a little chai. Thanks.

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Tulsi is a fantastic Indian restaurant in Sommervile that we adore.

Mt Eliza

♥ Be sure to visit Mt Eliza’s Ritchies. Seriously, it’s a playground, a delicious playground.

Shop Ate. Grab a seat at Guy Mirabella’s cafe for delicious porridge, cakes, pastas dishes, pies, salads, soups and a particularly captivating chicken schnitzel roll.

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Oyama 24 is a fantastic Japanese spot behind the Woolworths carpark in Mt Eliza.

♥ There’s also a lot of good walking spots around Mt Eliza towards the beach. From Canadian Bay to….other bays. I don’t know, I just remember walking down to the beach from school (I went to school in Mt Eliza) with friends. I was more interested in the big houses than the street names. But really, just wander. You’ll find serenity (and maybe a few dogs).

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Frankston and beyond

Aaaaand we don’t talk about Frankston.

Kidding! Kidding. Kind of.

♥ No, but really we love going to Frankston cinema (half price tickets on Sunday as well as Tuesday – ace!) and there’s also Big Dog Diner in Frankston for all your burger needs.

The Wholesome Nest in Carrum is lovely for coffee, porridge, smoothies, salads and raw treats.

Sorry for not including any Rye, Sorrento or Portsea recommendations, but the truth is I don’t know those areas very well. The same goes for accommodation recommendations. Love The Pen is a great resource, so check that out. And feel free to leave comments and suggestions below. Do come visit my corner of the world. It’s fresh and lush and tastes like grapes and cheese and looks like this…

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Heidi xo

From my parents:

“In addition to all the wonderful places Heidi has mentioned we would add these favourites:

At the end of a busy week we like to visit The Long Table at Red hill for fish and chips on aFriday night with a glass of wine. Their à la carte menu is delicious too.

For a special night we like to celebrate with the food of Pierre Khodjal at Terminus, Flinders Hotel. His food is a wonderful blend of French and Moroccan flavours celebrating his heritage.

On a beautiful late afternoon we recommend wine and delicious snacks on the deck at Polperro overlooking the lake and vineyard. We are looking forward to an evening meal there.

Karen and the “coffee girls” love the Whispering Vines Cafe at Troffeo Estate. Wonderful coffee, cake and from the special breakfast menu their French toast is amazing.

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  • Ashley February 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    What a great guide, I’m definitely trying to get out and about a little more with Brad on the weekends at the moment, and have been thinking of planning a Red Hill winery/boozy day trip with friends and you’ve now made it so easy!

    So cute that your parents had a little more to add too 🙂

    • Heidi February 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks, lady! I think that sounds swell. Love a local road trip x

  • Julia @ Chic To Do February 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Bookmarking this entry – so many fabulous suggestions! The only one I’m familiar with is Ten Minutes By Tractor, so I’m happy to have lots of new places to try!

    • Heidi February 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Woohoo! So happy to hear that x

  • Amanda February 9, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Lordy. This whole posts just makes me want to get up and move to Australia. What a wonderland! <3

    • Heidi February 11, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      It is pretty special. As is your land!! Nature…. and food. Best x

  • Rebecca February 10, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Heidi! This is perfect timing as I am going to MP this weekend and was about to email you! Thanks for sharing your favourite spots. I have been to the green olive and it was Devine however this time I am thinking red hill markets for picnic shopping and doc for lazy late lunch. If only I had more time!

    • Heidi February 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Oh great!! Have fun! So many good picnic eats to be found. Namely bread & cheese 😉 x

  • Emma @ Emma's Garden Grows February 10, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Heide what a fantastic read! I love the Mornington Peninsular (who doesn’t!) but I don’t know it well as I grew up in the West of Melbourne so our beach trips always involved exploring the Bellarine peninsula instead.

    • Heidi February 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks, Emma! You must come visit 🙂 x

  • Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life February 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve only visited the Mornington Peninsula once (we stayed in our house at Rye for a few days during a cold and blustery winter) and my boyfriend has never even been to Victoria! I can’t wait to take him down there, wander around the places you have recommended and find somewhere to snuggle by a fire after a long windy walk 🙂 thanks for the recommendations Heidi 🙂

    • Heidi February 19, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Ooooh how lovely!! You’ll have a blast, I love the peninsula in winter x

  • Nicole- Champagne and Chips February 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I just visited the Mornington Peninsula for the first time a few weeks ago. So beautiful. It feels like a different part of the world, I couldn’t believe we were only an hour away from Melbourne.
    I’m going to save this for my next trip.

    • Heidi February 19, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Great! Yes it’s pretty great, not TOO far from the city but feels like a different world x

  • Sarah February 28, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Great wrap up! Slightly biased here, but David @ Eldridge makes our pinot noir and he is one of the best. And I agree – the view from the tasting room is one of my favourites too. EE chardonnay is also always a winner.

    • Heidi February 28, 2015 at 10:32 am

      Thanks for the high five, Sarah! You’re not biased, just smart 😉 Must try their chardonnay x

  • Sze August 29, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Hi, great write up!! For the Bushrangers Bay trail from Cape Schanck carpark, is it possible to push a stroller as I have young kids with me? thanks.

  • TUESDAY TWELVE – HEIDI // APPLES UNDER MY BED September 1, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    […] Peninsula. Do you have some favourite spots you’d recommend to visitors? Yes for sure! Check out my blog post for my favourite Mornington Peninsula spots for a whole list but favourites are Foxeys Hangout and ten minutes by tractor for restaurants, […]

  • Thea January 9, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Thankyou so much for this beautifully curated and well written list! I am taking my Mum and Aunty on a day trip to Mornington and this is just what I needed! 🙂

  • Guy May 14, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Somerville is spelt with only one M as a courtesy heads up.

    • Heidi May 15, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Gah, thanks Guy. Fixing it now. Sincerely appreciate the spell checkers in my life. X

  • Alyce May 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    What a perfect guide! Thank you for posting. I have been on the search for the perfect spot for a cute coffee overlooking the ocean on the way down to Peninsula hot springs. We’re looking for something a little special for a hen’s day. Any ideas for someone from the WA coast, and not been to the area?

    • Heidi May 25, 2016 at 9:02 am

      Hmmmm I’d have to think a winery tour! visit a few places like Montalto, Port Phillip Estate & Foxeys…have a nice lunch then a beach walk perhaps? How fun! x

  • Avril July 21, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Grew up visiting Sorrento every summer but haven’t been a regular there for years but you must, must go to Buckleys Chance if you haven’t. From what I remember ( and still hope is true) its brilliant. Pancake heaven. One thing I do wish is the Hotel Sorrento dining room was still like the pub in the puberty blues tv series. #80schild

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