Time Out (Melbourne)
Bellarine Peninsula vs Mornington Peninsula
Which ’ninsh is nicer for a weekend away? We loved finding out.
The Bellarine’s chilled-out lunch spot: Basils Farm
Basil has moved on, but his farm continues to thrive as a winery and paddock-to-plate café. On a sunny day, regardless of season, visitors can be found spilling out of the café and onto the sprawling, green hillside while enjoying lunch, coffee or just a glass of wine. The menu here draws – wherever possible – from the farm’s own vegetable garden, which you can walk through freely.
43-53 Nye Rd, Swan Bay 3225. 03 5258 4280. www.basilsfarm.com.au. Mon, Thu, Fri 10am-4pm;
Sat, Sun 10am-5pm.
Feeling flush? Try Igni (Ryan Pl, Geelong 3220).
The Bellarine’s laid-back winery: Curlewis
Any winery that greets you with two friendly dogs is a winery we can get behind. Outside it looks like a barn; inside it looks like a hunter’s cabin got the Queer Eye treatment. Wine tastings aren’t served in glasses but in test tubes, which (while a little unorthodox) makes it simple to compare and contrast each wine. The vines at Curlewis are hand-pruned and picked, and their winemaking process leans on old-world techniques like basket pressing.
55 Navarre Rd, Curlewis 3222. 03 5250 4567. curlewiswinery.com.au. Sat, Sun 11.30am-4.30pm. Want to splash out? Visit Scotchmans Hill
(190 Scotchmans Rd, Drysdale 3222).
The Bellarine’s water activity: Adventure Park
There are plenty of waterslides, kids’ rides and family activities like go-karting or minigolf. You can even race your mates down a waterslide and clock your time to the hundredth of a second. If all this sounds a bit too exciting for you, ease yourself onto the Lazy River, where you simply lie back in an inflatable ring and float idly away.
1249 Bellarine Hwy, Wallington 3222. 03 5250 7200. adventurepark.com.au. Seasonal, 10am-5pm & 10am-6pm. Prefer your fun furry? Check out Jirrahlinga Wildlife Sanctuary (170-200 Taits Rd, Barwon Heads 3227).
The Bellarine’s fancy-pants accommodation: Lon Retreat
Talk about boutique accommodation. This luxurious retreat comprises just seven suites and can fit a maximum of 16 adults (children are not permitted on the property, to ensure a peaceful stay). There is a mineral pool for you to soak away your stress, as well as a rain shower, a bath big enough for two, luxury bath products and a breakfast hamper. There is private beach access, walking tracks and stunning views to the lighthouse, ocean, lakes and golf course.
25 Gill Rd, Point Lonsdale 3225. 03 5258 2990. lonretreat.com.au.
Don’t want to break the bank? Stay at the Nest (2140 Bellarine Hwy, Point Lonsdale 3225).
Mornington’s laidback lunch spot: Tuck’s Ridge
The restaurant and winery features hearty, produce-driven food, lawn chairs and picnic rugs, and a range of wines whose recommended consume date is right there in the name: Now. The best seat in the house is the tree swing, which could comfortably seat four, but two will have plenty of space for their wine and food. And you definitely want to make space for both. Food is simple, for the most part, allowing premium ingredients like slow-roast pork shoulder and hot-smoked salmon to shine.
37 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South 3937. 03 5989 8660. tucksridge.com.au. Fri-sun 11am-5pm.
Feeling flush? Try Laura (3649 FrankstonFlinders Rd, Merricks 3916).
Mornington’s chilled-out winery: Foxeys Hangout
In a primo Mornington Peninsula location, Foxeys Hangout is a laidback winery with absolutely delicious produce, pinot noir, chardonnay and rosé. The winery also offers a make-your-own sparkling class, where the winemaker will teach you about how sparkling wine is made and show you traditional methods of riddling and disgorgement. You can design your own sparkling with your own preferred dosage (sugar) level, and you get to take home your very own labelled bottle.
795 White Hill Rd, Red Hill 3937. 03 5989 2022. www.foxeys-hangout.com.au. Fri-mon 11am-5pm.
Want to splash out? Visit Montalto ( 33
Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South 3937).
Mornington’s water activity: Peninsula Hot Springs
This is your one-stop shop for wellness on the peninsula. The mineral pools range from hot to extremely hot, and there is also an ice cave for a bit of cryotherapy. You can alternatively sweat it out in the sauna and steam room to banish those toxins. Book in for a massage, facial or other treatment to soothe body and soul. The café upstairs is good for a light, healthy meal.
140 Springs Ln, Fingal 3939. 03 5950 8777. peninsulahotsprings.com. Daily 7am-10pm.
Prefer your fun furry? Check out Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park (550 Tyabb-tooradin Rd, Pearcedale 3912).
Mornington’s fancy-pants accommodation: Jackalope
You might expect to find a cutting-edge, ultraluxe hotel like this in New York’s Meatpacking District, not set among rolling hills and gently swaying vines. Staff are attentive, showing you to your room and familiarising you with all the whiz-bang accoutrements. Many rooms have as their centrepiece a deep, black stone bath, which staff will draw for you on request (it takes about half an hour to get it to the right level). If you do indulge in a bath, make it extra special with a few spoonfuls of Jackalope’s bespoke bath salts, made with grapes from the property.
166 Balnarring Rd, Merricks North 3926.
03 5931 2500. jackalopehotels.com.
Don’t want to break the bank? Stay at Lindenderry at Red Hill (142 Arthurs Seat Rd, Red Hill 3937).