There’s heaps to do down on the Mornington Peninsula this summer, but if your group decides to hit up one of the region’s many wineries, one mate – the designated driver – usually ends up feeling left out. That’s where “hop-on hop-off” shuttle service Hop It comes in.
It’s by husband and wife team Jon and Sara Lee, who first launched the service in the Yarra Valley earlier this year. They regularly took visiting friends and family to the famous wineries, and wanted a way to get around without the pressure of one of them being the designated driver.
It was the same situation down on the peninsula, too. “It’s one of our favourite little areas in Victoria to visit. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you’ve got the mixture of the countryside and coastal views,” says Jon.
He’s spent 13 years working in hospitality, and Sara’s got a background in tourism, so the two put their skills and knowledge together to find a solution.
Enter Hop It, ideal for visitors looking to plan their day their own way. There’s a timetable and an extensive stop list from which to craft an itinerary – ticketholders can choose up to four stops in total.
The journey begins at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD, with additional pick-up from Frankston Station. Stops are at Port Phillip Estate, T’Gallant, Red Hill Brewery, Montalto and Foxey’s Hangout, among others. The final pick-up time is 4.30pm from Bass & Flinders Distillery. People based on the peninsula can call ahead to see if local pick-up is possible.
“It’s for people wanting to have more of that coastal view. There are over 200 wineries, there are distilleries,” says Lee.
An 11-seat Toyota van runs the route, and there’s space for each guest to bring a small carry-on bag and collect some wine bottles along the way.
Lee also believes the service allows visitors to enjoy the diversity of activities and natural landscapes of the region beyond the wine-growing industry. You could, for example, stop off at Arthurs Seat Eagle to ride the gondola and take in scenic views across Port Phillip Bay.
“We needed to have a good mix, we’re not all about an alcohol-fuelled day. We want something for everybody,” says Lee. “That’s why Hop It has been successful in the Yarra Valley. We’re not just a wine tour.”
Hop It's Mornington Peninsula tour costs $69.95 per person and is available from Friday to Sunday.