From yoga and St Ali pop-ups to slick new coastal diners, the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect summer playground.
Outdoor cinemas with idyllic views in Portsea and Mount Martha
Barefoot Cinema is back at Point Nepean National Park this summer, and it’s also got a screen at Mount Martha. Both come with idyllic views – one of the bay, one of a rolling vineyard – and live music before sunset, family games and a line-up of classics and new releases.
Stock up on snacks from food trucks, kick back on the grass and settle in for a night with recent releases such as Crazy Rich Asians and Paddington 2, classics including Mission Impossible, Pulp Fiction and The Lion King or the Whitney Houston documentary.
The Portsea Hotel’s new look unveiled
The Portsea Hotel has been in need of a revamp for a while – a massive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment should do the trick. With a new second-floor bar with panoramic bay views, morning yoga on the deck, and a California-inspired burger spot and whisky bar down below (alongside a new-look outdoor beer garden), the crowds will be returning. It finally feels like the beachy, coastal holiday pub we've been craving for years. Bottoms up.
A new Hamptons-style beachside hangout
In Sorrento, dine on seafood linguini or lobster rolls at the new-look Morgans Beach Shack, where slick, bright, Hamptons-style interiors open out onto an expansive outdoor area, just over the road from the Sorrento foreshore. For those looking for a moodier space to drink, the adjoining Wine Store & Ale House is worth a visit too; it stocks local beer, wine and cider, and serves snacks.
Twilight Jazz at Montalto winery
Live jazz at a picturesque vineyard on a balmy night – a very respectable way to spend a summer’s evening. Upbeat Melbourne jazz group The Hoodangers will provide the soundtrack for the evening, and dinner from the acclaimed Red Hill restaurant is included.
Bach and Bathe at Peninsula Hot Springs
The name says it all. Hot-spring bathing with a live string quartet. If you buy a performance-only ticket you can watch the concert from seats in the Springs’ dramatic new ampitheatre, but the premium options involve watching the performance while you’re sitting in a hot-spring bath. Heaven.
The annual Portsea Polo returns to Point Nepean National Park on January 12. There’s the polo match – with international players on the field – but much like the Spring Racing Carnival, it’s as much about the fashion and the party as it is about the horses. This is one big party.
Sculpture park walks at Point Leo Estate
This Mornington Peninsula’s cellar door and resaurant is also an impressive art gallery. Owned by the Gandel family, Point Leo Estate has sweeping views of Western Port Bay, and a sculpture garden featuring jaw-dropping works by local and international artists including Inge King, Clement Meadmore, Tony Cragg, Deborah Halpern, Anthony Pryor and Augustine Dall’Ava. Two serpentine paths guide visitors through the gardens – one is a 40-minute walk, the other takes around an hour and a half. (After summer, in March, the park will host an evening barbeque cooked by Dan Puskas of Sydney’s acclaimed Sixpenny restaurant.)
Portraiture, sculpture and landscapes at Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery
Obsession: Devil in the Detail features hyper-real portraits, landscapes, and still life from several meticulous artists. Alongside iconic American photorealist Audrey Flack’s large scale paintings and Sam Jinks’s beautiful hyperrealist sculpture there are works by acclaimed Australian artists Ricky Swallow, Jess Johnson and Callum Morton. The show runs until February 17.
Wine tastings at Foxey’s Hangout and more
Red Hill’s Foxey’s Hangout is one our favourite vineyards on the peninsula. It’s an initimate, relaxed space with views out to a rolling vineyard, and a kitchen cooking some of the best snacks in an area not lacking in food cred. The winery will be hosting its usual wine tastings over summer. Couple it with a light lunch for the perfect afternoon. Of course there are plenty more wineries to settle in for the afternoon after hitting their cellar doors: Polperro; Rare Hare at Jackalope; Port Phillip Estate; Montalto.
St Ali's Saint Moritz Espresso Bar Pop-Up in Sorrento
Melbourne coffee institution St Ali is heading to Sorrento for the summer. The Saint Moritz Espresso Bar can be found at 52 Ocean Beach Road – Sorrento's main drag – and it will donate 50 percent of every coffee purchase to Sacred Heart Mission in St Kilda. The coffee bar, also serving pastries, will be open from 7am until 4pm every day.
Hot Hut Yoga at Polperro Winery
Hot Hut Yoga is a small boutique studio offering vinyasa flow classes (in a heated room) out of Polperro Winery. There’s only room for 10 per class, so book ahead. Come for yoga surrounded by nature in a country-chic studio, stay for the herbal tea.
Broadsheet's Guide to the Mornington Peninsula
Stunning beaches, picturesque wineries and diners, golf courses and plenty of quiet back roads to explore. There's a lot to love about the Peninsula. Check out our guide to this beautiful part of Victoria, just a one-to-two hour drive from Melbourne.