IN­SID­ERS: MORN­ING­TON PENIN­SULA

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - Rollo Crit­ten­den

GO: There’s a serene spot to take in the beauty of the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, south­east of Mel­bourne: many know of the at­trac­tion Arthurs Seat, but I usu­ally head straight for the equally beau­ti­ful and al­ways qui­eter Seawinds Gar­dens, just around the cor­ner. Its Euro­pean-style plant­ings open to an ex­pan­sive lawn with an un­ri­valled view of Mel­bourne right around to Port Phillip Heads and be­yond; vis­it­morn­ing­ton­penin­sula.org.

EAT: In the town of Morn­ing­ton, Count­ing House, op­po­site the park and just mo­ments from the hus­tle and bus­tle of Main Street, is the per­fect place to graze away the af­ter­noon. This old bank, con­verted into a con­tem­po­rary din­ing house, boasts an ex­cel­lent sea­sonal menu with a fan­tas­tic lo­cal wine list. For the af­ter-dark­ers, I rec­om­mend Two Buoys in Dro­mana, which serves great ta­pas; count­ing­house.com.au; twobuoys.com.au.

EX­PLORE: Head down to the Morn­ing­ton Pier and in­tro­duce your­self to the crew at Bay Fish N Trips for a great day on the wa­ter. There’s noth­ing like the thrill of a de­cent Port Phillip snap­per on the end of your line. For those who haven’t found their sea legs, load up on lo­cal mus­sels straight from the “farmer” when his boat is moored at the pier; bay­fish­n­trips.com.au.

SHOP: Not be­ing much of a clothes shop­per, I’m happy to ad­mit that most of my pur­chases tend to be of the con­sum­able kind. Just be­tween Mount Martha and Dro­mana is the tiny ham­let of Safety Beach, which is lucky to host the Ital­ian-inspired Provin­cia Food Store. Along with Houghtons Fine Food, in Morn­ing­ton, and La Casa Nos­tra Deli, in Rose­bud, this is the place to buy ar­ti­sanal cheese, meat and bread for a pic­nic on the beach; provin­cia.com.au.

DRINK: In the morn­ings I of­ten head to Lit­tle Rebel cof­fee roast­ers in Dro­mana for that much-needed caf­feine hit. Nat­u­rally, this should be fol­lowed by a visit to our re­cently opened Crit­ten­den Wine Cen­tre, near Dro­mana, for a wine tast­ing and per­haps even a bot­tle or two to take home; lit­tlerebel.com.au; crit­ten­den­wines.com.au.

STAY: For lovers of golf and for a bet­ter look at the south­ern end of the penin­sula, it’s hard to go past Pep­pers Moonah Links Re­sort in Fin­gal. The wellap­pointed rooms and fan­tas­tic res­tau­rant are a stone’s throw from the fa­mous Penin­sula Hot Springs. And for fear of a trip to the dog house, I had bet­ter men­tion my wife’s beau­ti­ful Lakeside Vil­las, which she op­er­ates from our fam­ily vine­yard at Crit­ten­den Es­tate; moon­ahlinks.com.au; lakesidev­il­las.com.au.

Rollo Crit­ten­den is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion wine­maker at Crit­ten­den Es­tate, which first planted in 1982 and is now home to some of the old­est vines on the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula; crit­ten­den­wines.com.au.

In­sid­ers editor: Graham Er­bacher Graham.Er­bacher@news.com.au

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