Mornington Peninsula family guide

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Day 1 Explore Cape Schanck, Boneo and Rosebud 

Morning
Visit the Panorama Garden Estate in Boneo. The 22-hectare wildlife reserve includes 18 garden areas with lakes and waterfalls. Keep an eye out for animals including wallabies, emus, alpacas, and if you’re lucky you might spot a rare white kangaroo. A two-hour wildlife sanctuary and secret garden tour includes morning tea. (Open Wednesday-Sunday, bookings required.)

Lunch
Enjoy a picnic lunch at Rosebud Pier and visit the new playground. It has a flying fox, and the mountain slide, spinning disc and climbing nets are also rated highly. The kids have lots of space to kick a ball or throw a frisbee. There are also public barbecues available.

Afternoon
Top Fun in Rosebud offers mini golf (18 holes outside under shade and 18 holes undercover), ten-pin bowling and arcade games – handy for a rainy day.

Later visit the Cape Schanck Lighthouse, built in 1859 and still operating. Take the boardwalk down to the rocky beach, or older children might enjoy the 10-kilometre return walk to Bushrangers Bay. The clifftop walk has great views over the sea, various bays, farmland and a creek valley.

Evening
Have a swim or play a game of tennis. Order pizzas for dinner and enjoy some quality family time at Cape Schanck Resort.

Day 2 Explore Arthur’s Seat and Dromana

Morning
The views of Mornington Peninsula from the top of Arthurs Seat are impressive. The new Arthurs Seat Eagle cable car is a fun 30-minute ride down from the 314-metre summit to Dromana and up again in the secure gondola cabins.

Lunch
Stroll to the nearby Seawinds Gardens. The 34-hecatare park has a range of walking tracks, spectacular views of the Mornington Peninsula and some interesting sculptures by William Ricketts. This is an ideal spot for a picnic lunch and has tables, electric barbecues and toilets.

Afternoon
Tree surfing at the Enchanted Adventure Garden is a popular family activity. There are five levels of climbing, jumping and swinging. The Tree Surfing Nippers Course for younger children includes all-day admission.

Evening
Who could resist calling into the Dromana Drive-In, one of the last of its kind, with three screens and a choice of movies. Treat the kids to burgers, or pick up snacks for the movie, at the American-style diner.

Day 3 Explore Fingal and Rye

Morning
Get up early for an exhilarating morning horse ride on St Andrews Beach with Gunnamatta Trail Rides. There are bush rides available also, depending on your level of experience. Minimum age: six years.

Lunch
Drive to the Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal – a natural hot springs and day spa centre. You can have a casual lunch at the Bath House café (the pizza and bathe package is popular for families) or bring your own food and use the picnic area.

Afternoon
This is the perfect place to soak in the thermal springs and relieve your stiff muscles after your morning ride. Children are welcome all day in the family bathing area of the Bath House. After 10am, the Bathing Gully and Hilltop Pools are reserved for those 16 years and older.

Evening
Visit Rye and explore the local shops. There’s a good choice of cafes for dinner. During holiday periods visit the carnival. Don’t leave town without indulging in a gelato – best enjoyed while walking along the pier.

Day 4 Explore Sorrento and Portsea

Morning
As well as being one of Victoria’s most scenic national parks, Point Nepean has an interesting history. It played a part in Victoria’s early settlement and is home to historic defence and quarantine buildings. You can walk, take a shuttle bus or hire bikes (from Bay Play in Portsea) to explore the tunnels and fortifications.

Lunch
Choose from one of the many cafes on Sorrento’s main street. Top your lunch off with a treat – the famous vanilla slices from Just Fine Food Delicatessen (also good for stocking up for picnics) are hard to resist.

Afternoon
Relax at the beach or try stand up paddle boarding with Peninsula Stand Up Paddle (book ahead). You can also try snorkelling or kayaking with Bay Play.

Evening
The landmark Portsea Hotel offers great views of Port Phillip Bay. Dine outside on the lawns if the weather is good.

Day 5 Explore Flinders, Shoreham and Red Hill

Morning
Drive to the village of Flinders and stop on Cook Street where you can browse through the gift stores, boutiques and cafes. Take a break at Mornington Peninsula Chocolates to see the chocolates being made - don’t miss out on the tasty samples. Work up an appetite for lunch by pottering around the rock pools at low tide at Flinders Beach, nearby Shoreham or learn to surf at Point Leo (book ahead – Bay Play).

Lunch
Ashcombe Maze café is a good spot for lunch and afterwards you can search for a path through the traditional cypress maze. It was planted 40 years ago and the hedges are now three metres high and two metres thick. There is also a circular rose maze and a lavender labyrinth among the gardens.

Afternoon
After all that running around drop into Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm for a sweet treat. It’s great fun to take a punnet and pick your own berries when they’re in season (November to April).

Evening
Consider dinner out at the Epicurean in Red Hill (great for pizzas or locally grown wines) or the smart Deck bistro at Flinders Hotel.

Day 6 Explore Sorrento

Morning
Take in the scenery and ogle at the expensive mansions on the beautiful Millionaire’s Walk, a 1.5-kilometre return walk from Point King Road to Lentell Avenue. Follow the Sorrento Portsea Artists Trail and note the historical stone monument that marks the spot where Acting Lieutenant John Murray took possession of Point King and flew the Union Jack there for the first time.

Afternoon
Join a Polperro Dolphin Swim tour at Sorrento Pier at noon (8am tour is also available) to do some dolphin and seal spotting. This eco-tourism operator offers small groups and a range of tours. Refreshments available. Allow three to four hours. September-April.

Evening
Finish the day at the well-known limestone Hotel Sorrento with its multi-level dining spaces. In fine weather admire the view or in cooler times snuggle up by the fire. Dessert is taken care of by nipping down to Mubble Gourmet Ice-creamery on the main street. The shop is named after its most popular flavour, described as “summer sunshine” in a cone – yum.

Day 7 Explore Moorooduc and Mornington

Morning
Little kids and primary school students will love a visit to the Big Goose farm and fun park at Moorooduc. Choose from pony rides, hay bale rides, jumping pillow and mini golf. Visit the petting barn to cuddle guinea pigs, chicks and lambs. Take a tractor ride to spot cows, ostriches and camels.

Lunch
Food and snacks are available at the Big Goose, or bring your own picnic lunch or pop over to Mornington’s many cafes.

Afternoon
Mornington is a pretty seaside town with interesting shops and a street market on Wednesdays. Stroll down the pier to look at the pretty fishing boats or walk on the beach past the colourful historic bathing boxes. There are lots of cafes to choose from for dinner and DOC is well-known for its traditional Italian pizzas.

Evening
Though it’s open daily, the guided lantern evening tours at Moonlit Sanctuary are special (book ahead). You get to see nocturnal animals such as giant yellow-bellied gliders, quolls and owls. During the day you can meet dingos, Tassie devils and pythons – if you dare.

Written by RACV
March 23, 2017