Foodie Heaven – Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula in Australia is just 90 minutes drive from Melbourne. Such a short drive for a wonderful experience.
When I got in here I visited Main Ridge Dairy. It is not like any other dairy, the owners here have around 400 goats! They produce delicious goat milk and cheese and run cheese making workshops – my kind of fun – and dairy tours. The kids loved meeting the goats, and I loved eating the cheese, particularly the fetta and haloumi were delicious. Their best sellers are the mild capriole and a semi-hard caprinella.
And let’s not stop there, Mornington Peninsula is not known as a foodie heaven just for the cheese. There are plenty of other cheese-makes, breweries, bakeries and restaurants. You have got to check out Montalto when you are down here. It has a sculpture park surrounded by vineyards and gardens.
Also a must see is the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm. The kids loved the pick-your-own session. The season begins at early November for strawberries, but you can find other berries here like blueberries and raspberries. Sunny Ridge is one of the biggest strawberry growers n Australia, picking about 800,000 punnets a season. Even if you don’t get to pick your own, it is worth the visit just to see the sheer size of this plantation.
And there is not one strawberry wasted here. Whatever doesn’t make the cut for sale gets turned into delicious produce. Inside the shop you will find fresh berries, freeze-dried berries, liqueur, port, jam, cider, ice-cream… let your imagination run wild, they will have it. They also have a cafe on site where you can sample some of these delicious items and if so you choose you can take home a piece of this deliciousness to grow, as they also have the strawberry plants for sale.
There are orchards, vineyards and a cherry farm to visit. If you make your way into Red Hill, you will find art galleries, cafes and gorgeous timber cottages. Bit further down the road you can take a soak in the Peninsula Hot Springs Bath House at Fingal. This is one of the most popular attractions of the peninsula with around 420,000 visitors a year. You can find thermal mineral pools, with waters up to 54C – although the hottest bath is only 43C – and a cold plunge pool, inspired by that of Russia and Finland, or take a walk on the reflexology path where various size stones will massage your feet in a warm shallow stream. If you are after something a little less active, you can always visit the spa that is attached to the bath house.
To close the day, we end up at the Mercure Portsea Golf Club and Resort. It is a small hotel with only 24 rooms, there is a bar and a restaurant to enjoy. The hotel offers stay and play packages, which was certainly what enticed me here. But there are plenty of other accommodation options in the region to suit all budgets and circumstances.
Mornington Peninsula is definitely worth the visit. It is only 90 mins from Melbourne, but it is like a whole new world.