Mornington Peninsula has ripper beaches, bougie getaways and some of the best wine Australia has to offer. But it doesn’t stop there. Think coastal hikes, mountain biking and even a high ropes adventure. Whether you’re looking to relax by the beach or hit the trails, there’s something for everyone.

We acknowledge the Boon Wurrung / Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation, the traditional Country on which these adventures take place, and the Traditional Custodians who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.



  • Swimming with dolphins and seals
  • Secluded coastal walks
  • Wine and food and wine and food and wine



I won’t say the Mornington Peninsula is a hidden gem because it’s pretty clear the cat’s out of the bag on that one already. What I will say is that it lives up to the hype. Sheltered beaches in Westernport and Port Phillip with ocean beaches out the back, and hills, forests, and wineries in the middle make it pretty clear why the Mornington Peninsula is so popular.

And as the Peninsula is just south of Melbourne, it’s close enough for a day trip. But with so many things to do and food to eat, even a whole week there can seem too short!


Cape Schanck Lighthouse

This one is probably my favourite walk on the Mornington Peninsula and the first I’ll recommend to friends when they come down. The trail starts at the Cape Schanck Lighthouse and explores the rockpools nearby, before wandering along the coastal track to Bushrangers Bay.

Just make sure to be mindful of the tides and swell when exploring the rock pools. Weather conditions on the Peninsula can change quickly, causing big swells. People have been swept off the rocks before or become stranded on them when the tide has quickly changed.

French Island National Park

Only a short 15 minute ferry ride from Stony Point terminal, French Island is great for a day trip or a little overnight hike. French Island is still largely undeveloped and remains isolated, one of the few areas so close to Melbourne that can still boast this. Make the trip out there and you’ll be rewarded with mangroves, salt marshes, and coastal wetlands that play home to more than 230 species of birds.

Most of the tracks start from the Tankerton Foreshore Reserve (where the ferry drops you off) with short 1-2 hour walks up to bigger 18km loops. If you’re going to stay the night, Fairhaven Campsite is the way to go, just 5km from Tankerton Reserve.


Mornington Peninsula 100km Walk

Alright alright I’ve started with some fun ones but if you really want to step it up, check out the Mornington Peninsula 100km Walk. It links up four stunning tracks together into a doozy multi-day hike that’ll take you on a lap of Mornington Peninsula.

First up is the Two Bays Walking Track, which takes you on a dance through the hinterland from Dromana on Port Phillip Bay to the ocean beaches at Cape Schanck. Next up you’ll make your way along the coast with stunning beaches and epic cliffs to Portsea and on to Sorrento. 

Coastal and bush tracks will then take you to the tip of the Mornington Peninsula through Point Nepean National Park, the traditional Country of the Bunurong people. Last up is the Bay Trail which follows Port Phillip right back to Dromana.

The full shebang takes about 5-7 days to complete, with plenty of cute B&Bs, wineries, and cafes to keep fuelled up along the walk.

All of the sections are doable by themselves, or you can break them up further into day walks. A few stand-out sections are the 5km one-way Bushrangers Bay walk at Cape Schanck or the clifftop Coppins Track from Sorrento. Whatever your appetite for distances, the Mornington Peninsula 100km Walk has got a section for you.

Aquatic Adventures

Peninsula Hot Springs

I mean this one might be a bit less of an adventure and more of an ‘experience’. But when I say experience, I mean e-x-p-e-r-i-e-n-c-e. Peninsula Hot Springs is a handful of natural spas (and day spa!) flowing with thermal mineral water, with the top spring offering sweeping views out over the Peninsula. 

If you want to take things up a notch, check out the private pavilions, moonlit bathing and massages. If this sounds like the kind of place you’d never want to leave then don’t worry, they’ve also got glamping on offer too.

Swim With Dolphins

If you really want to make your trip special, hit up Polperro Dolphin Swims for… you guessed it, swimming with dolphins (and Australian Fur seals)! Dolphins are not uncommon in Port Phillip and there are a couple of locals that like to hang around, but to make sure you see them, get the experts to take you out.

Heading out from Sorrento Pier, you can jump in the water to swim and snorkel with the dolphins or observe from the boat and get a lesson in marine conservation if you’d prefer. Polperro Dolphin Swims is also an accredited eco-tourism business, so they make sure that you’re safe and the dolphins and seals are too!



The Mornington Peninsula is the perfect place to break out the SUP and go for a paddle on the calm waters of Port Phillip. Take your own or rent one from Mornington Boat Hire and explore Mornington Harbour, with nice sheltered beaches.

As a bonus, it’ll give you a good core workout and ensure you’ve got a solid appetite that evening.


Red Hill Rail Trail

As far as rail trails go, Red Hill Rail Trail ticks a lot of boxes. The trail is 6km one way, heading from the Merricks Beach General Store up some decent hills into Red Hill. As it climbs, you get great views out over Western Port, and you can treat yourself to some delicious food and drinks at the cafes and restaurants at both ends. 

It’s a shared trail so you might even get to see some horses or walkers with their dogs if you’re lucky.


Photo by Visit Vic


Gravel Rides

The Mornington Peninsula is chock-a-block with bike tracks. So many of the roads have sneaky little single tracks hidden just out of view in the trees that are perfect for gravel bikes or hardtail mountain bikes. There’s also a tonne of gravel backroads through farmland. 

I’ve found the best way to get the scoop on these tracks and good linkups is through scouring Strava for a bit. Rest assured though, you won’t run out of options anytime soon.


Arthurs Seat State Park MTB Trails

The mountain bike trails at Arthurs Seat State Park have got something for everyone. There are beginner friends trails that flow through wildflower fields, under fern canopies and through forest, or with views out over the ocean.

Then there are more technical downhill trails with plenty of jumps, drops, and berms. The Red Hill Riders MTB Club also do a social ride once a month on Sundays, check out their website for the latest dates!

Highline Adventures

If you’ve seen the Mornington Peninsula on foot, wheels, and from the ocean and you’re still looking for more, there’s only one thing left to do… take to the trees. Enchanted Adventures have a tree surfing adventure with more than 50 aerial obstacles and zip lines. 

They’ve got five different levels of increasing difficulty and height, with level five topping out at 10m and a 100m zipline!


Hots Springs & Hikes – An Explorer's Guide to Mornington Peninsula, Ben Savage, high ropes course, treetops

Where to Refuel & Stay

Where to eat?

Red Gum BBQ over in Red Hill is the place to go if you want a big community-style feed. They’ve got a big dining hall filled with long tables, local beers and wines and some of the best smoked BBQ you can get your hands on.

Another brilliant option is Rare Hare, situated just next to the Jackalope Hotel at Willow Creek Vineyard. They’re known for their delicious seasonal dishes (and unsurprisingly paired with incredible wine).


Hots Springs & Hikes – An Explorer's Guide to Mornington Peninsula, Ben Savage, Rare Hare, food, eat

Where to drink?

If you’re the kind of person who prioritises drinks and have food as an afterthought, then these are for you. 

The Mornington Peninsula is well known for its wineries and craft breweries so whichever one you pick will blow you away, but here are a few of our favourites.

Jimmy Rum in Dromana is a distillery and cocktail bar where you’ll learn just as much as you’ll drink. Aside from just making great rum and cocktails, they offer tasting sessions, cocktail workshops, and even a day with their distiller. As a bonus, their rum yard (think beer garden) has great food and is dog friendly.

Jetty Road Brewery, also in Dromana, is great for a cold frothy one. They’ve got live music Friday through Sunday and have a great laid-back atmosphere. All their own beers are on tap as well as a few other local options, and there are wines or non-alcoholic options available too (along with great food).

One of my favourite spots on the Peninsula for a beer is definitely St Andrews Beach Brewery. Just near Gunnamatta Surf Beach and not far from Cape Schanck, it’s the perfect way to wind down a day. They brew their own amazing beers on site and have a bunch of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic options along with good food to boot. 

A list of places to drink on Mornington Peninsula wouldn’t be complete without a winery. If you’re asking for my pick, it’s got to be Montalto. Set up in Red Hill, the winery, restaurant and sculpture park have so much to offer you could easily make a day of it. I’m no wine snob but even I know a good Pinot Noir when I see one.

Where to stay?

If you’re looking for luxury then Jackalope is the stop for you. Placed on a 28-acre vineyard, Jackalope sets a new bar for bougie with two restaurants (Rare Hare being one of them), a cellar door, a winery and a cocktail bar on site. 

For a taste of van life but with a twist, grab a Gypsy Wagon for the weekend and create your own glamping experience. All you have to do is pick a campsite or farm stay and they’ll drop the wagon off for you, easy as pie.

If you want to keep it a little more low-key but still have all the amenities and the beach at your doorstep, set up at the Sorrento Foreshore Camping. They’ve got spots for tents or caravans and access to hot showers and toilets. You’ll need to book well in advance in peak season though, as it sells out quick.

To get some time in the tent but still be treated to all your luxuries, tee up some time at Iluka Retreat. Set amongst the gum tree but less than 2km from Shoreham Beach, you get the best of both worlds. They also cater to groups, weddings and other events, so whether it’s just you and your special adventure buddy or the whole crew, they’ve got you sorted.

Essential Gear

  • A car!
  • Gravel bikes or hardtails
  • Hiking shoes
  • Swimmers
  • Some ripper tunes for the drive
  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen

How To Get There

Mornington Peninsula is just a stone’s throw from Melbourne and the recently extended Peninsula Link will get you there in no time. In less than 1.5 hours you can get from the centre of Melbourne to the heart of Mornington Peninsula at Red Hill or Dromana via the M1 and Pen Link.

Leave No Trace

If you’ve made it this far you’ve probably gotten the message that the Mornington Peninsula is pretty bloody special. At We Are Explorers, we reckon it’s a good idea to keep it that way, so make sure to take all of your rubbish with you, minimise your plastic use as much as possible, stick to the paths and try not to disturb the area or animals. Mother Nature will thank you for it!

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!


Photography by @ben.savage