Time flies when you’re having fun…yes, yes it does my friends. I cannot believe I have been living in Melbourne for seven months! What is even more ridiculous is that in that time I haven’t left the city once…from beach bum to city girl, I honestly don’t know how I’ve done it. I guess the secret was finding work and throwing myself into that –it’s amazing how focusing on one aspect of your life helps you forget others.
I am approaching my 30th birthday and in stark contrast to my laidback lifestyle I left behind in Bali, Melbourne has been hard hitting, very hard hitting. There has been many, many times that I have just wanted to go home and get a cuddle off my mum, nephew and dog but I am a stubborn bitch and when I set out to achieve something I have to do just that so, in my mind going home with my tail between my legs is a failure – I don’t do failure. I’ve also been having fun of course, meeting new people, finding my favourite eateries, drinking wine (a lot of wine), and exploring where possible. But I needed a break. The Mornington Peninsula provided that. With its miles and miles of white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, glamourous marinas, cute beach huts, indulgent hot springs, haunting forests (or the bush I should say), vineyards and olive groves, it is truly breath-taking. Fresh sea air and coastal views were just what the doctor ordered.
We decided to use the long weekend to soak up as much of the peninsula as possible, but because it was the long weekend, finding last minute accommodation proved a little tricky so ensure you book a good couple of weeks, if not months, beforehand. We ended up staying in Dromana, not as popular as the likes of Mount Martha, but if you want a tranquil getaway it has it all. Its empty beaches are superb, the water is genuinely the clearest I have ever seen (and I’ve been in many oceans), it has cute laneway cafes and tapas bars and is close enough by taxi/uber to the likes of Red Hill for wine tasting.
We stayed with Margaret who was an outstanding host. She went above and beyond for her city guests who really didn’t know anything about anything at the beginning. What’s even better is Marg’s daughter in a fantastic masseuse and a holiday isn’t a holiday without a little pampering.
What we did
Dined at Two Buoys – the tapas is amazing, the red wine is even better, make sure you book at the weekend as it gets busy! Because of the two bottles of wine (Koonara Angels Peak Cabernet Sauvignon) we ended up paying slightly more than we had hoped but it was worth it. Sampled the charcuterie board with extra 1000 day old Gouda, (this comes with the best grilled sourdough I have ever tasted) warmed chorizo, and the dip of the day with sea salt flatbread.
Horse riding at Ace Hi Ranch – as we are both experienced riders we chose the Forest Trail as it’s advertised as fast paced with plenty of cantering. My horse was enormous (part Clydesdale) named Echo – he was a dream to ride and gave me big smooch at the end, can’t wait to head back to see him. This trek takes you through the bushland close to the ranch, you will most likely see kangaroos and you pass decadent mansions and divine vineyards. It’s pretty special. It is fast though so if you want to take in the scenery more maybe do the Beach Walk instead.
Massage and infra-red sauna (courtesy of Marg’s daughter) – a full body massage (60 mins) plus 40 mins in the infra-red sauna only set us back $65 – this was much needed…not for the faint hearted, Alisha doesn’t hold back when it comes to kneading out those knots.
Takeout Indian food – so again, we left things too late and couldn’t get a dinner reservation on night two but we were so shattered after the horse riding anyway, we decided to order in. Now I love Indian food, the spicier the better, I have tried and tried to find a decent restaurant in Melbourne but am yet to succeed in finding one…one exists in Dromana! HALLELUJAH.
Beach, pier and brunch at Laneway Espresso – gorgeous views and tasty food. I had the Portobello mushrooms on sourdough with spinach, poached eggs and garlic sage butter.
Ten minutes by Tractor, Red Hill – I have dined in many an expensive restaurant in my time from Michelin starred, Bohemia, in Jersey to the gorgeous Tower rooftop restaurant in Edinburgh and I have to say this small yet perfectly formed formal restaurant set amongst acres of vineyards is up there with one of the best culinary experiences I have ever had. It is worth the money! I treated this weekend like my birthday one so it was a special occasion and if I can’t splash out on my 30th, when can I? The service was as incredible as the food with head chef, Gordon (from Glasgow), even driving us to our train station after his shift! Oh yes, getting to Red Hill from Dromana – piece of cake, getting back impossible. Taxis are very unreliable and there wasn’t any ubers in that part of the peninsula. Same thing happened after the ranch in Boneo. You have been warned.
The Mornington Peninsula is a special place, it is so quiet and peaceful that you can take stock of your life and breathe, properly breathe, and soak up the atmosphere. The sunsets are phenomenal, the people are amazing, it offers everything one could need for a chilled getaway and now I know where I can go when life gets a little bit too much.