How to spend a week with kids on the Mornington Peninsula
Seven days of family-friendly things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.
If you're looking for a laid-back beach break that offers a bounty of family fun, Mornington Peninsula should be top of your travel list. This family-friendly destination is renowned for its dazzling bay beaches, beautiful hinterland, luxury hotels and first-class food and wine scene, but it also boasts a smorgasborg of activities and attractions perfect for keeping young minds entertained.
Situated between native bushland and the beach, just over an hour's drive from Melbourne, you'll find RACV's stunning Cape Schanck Resort. The recently revamped coastal retreat is an oasis for families, with a range of child-friendly facilities including pools, playgrounds, a games room (replete with pinball and table-tennis tables), and even tennis courts, making it easier than ever for parents to kick back while the kids kick on. The architect-designed hotel also boasts 120 new rooms and suites, each with brilliant views of Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay, as well as a golf course, day spa and myriad restaurants to keep parents occupied, too.
So if you're planning your next school holiday escape, here's a handy seven-day itinerary to help you make the most of a week exploring Victoria's sublime seatheast corner.
Snap a photo with Mornington's colourful beach bathing boxes.
The hotel's booked, bags are packed and car is road-trip ready (including checking your Emergency Roadside Assistance is up to date)? Here's how to spend a week on the Mornington Peninsula.
Day 1: Explore Cape Schanck, Boneo and Rosebud
- Morning: Go mini golfing at Boneo Discovery Park. Set on 11 hectares of native wetlands, and surrounded by indigenous flora and fauna, the 18-hole mini-golf course offers fun for kids of all ages. As well as having a swing, the park also boast a jumping castle, maze, giant games and even a sand-sculpting exhibition. Plus, the on-site cafe will cater to all your coffee needs.
- 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: 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 and moving early with a morning walk along Fingal beach, or explore one of the myriad walking tracks from Cape Schanck Resort.
- 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 escapades. 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 – and don’t miss out on the tasty samples. After indulging your sweet tooth, potter around the rock pools at low tide at Flinders Beach or learn to surf at Point Leo.
- Lunch: If you've worked up an appetite, head to Green Olive at Red Hill for an authentic farm dining experience. Get acquainted with the farm's furry house guests – including sheep, chooks and pigs – and make friends with the resident kelpie dogs. On arrival, you'll be greeted with a farmhouse platter of estate-grown and made goodies, including olives, olive oil, tapenade and ciabattta, before choosing from a selection of six tapas-style dishes to share. Adults can enjoy a glass of wine with lunch, while the kids will love washing theirs down with some refreshing farm-made cordial.
- Afternoon: After all that running around drop into Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm for a fresh 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.
- Lunch: No trip to the peninsula would be complete without stopping in at Vanilla Slice Cafe, the home of Sorrento's famed vanilla slice. This Main Street institution has been serving up wholesome fare made using seaonal, sustainable and locally sourced produce since 1983. But while their Sorrento beef burger and beer-battered flathead tails are lip-smackingly delicious, it's their vanilla slice, made with layers of flaky pastry, plum jam and traditional custard cream, that put them on the foodie map.
- Afternoon: Join a dolphin and seal-watching eco adventure cruise at Sorrento Pier at 4:30pm (9am and 11am tours also available) from some dolphin, seal and, if you're lucky, migrating whale spotting. You'll also sail past the 20 million-year-old sandy cliffs, immaculate holiday homes and pristine beaches as you cruise through Point Nepean National Park and Port Phillip Bay.This eco-tourism operator offers small group tours with a maximum of 12 guests. Allow about 1.5 hours.
- 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. 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.
Holiday here this year with RACV
There has never been a better time to holiday in Australia and support local businesses and the tourism industry. Whether it’s a weekend getaway in country Victoria or an extended Australian adventure, RACV Members get more when they travel with discounts and benefits on everything from travel and accommodation to tours and other experiences so you can easily holiday here this year.