Indulge and unwind on the Mornington Peninsula.

1 September 2019


Indulge and unwind on the Mornington Peninsula.

1 September 2019

A woman sitting in hot springs

Relax in the natural thermal mineral waters of the Peninsula Hot Springs. Image: Supplied.

The expression ‘treat yo self’ will become somewhat of a mantra during a weekend away on the Mornington Peninsula – where a justification for enjoyment is not required. The easy one-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD alone will help you shed the shackles of the week, preparing you for rest, relaxation and replenishment.


A light lunch at Tucks, in Red Hill, should be the first stop on your weekend itinerary. Sit overlooking the vineyards and olive groves of neighbouring Montalto winery and sample the produce grown just a stone’s throw from your relaxed position. A bowl of flavoursome estate olives, followed by crunchy rustic house bread, with dukkah and home-grown olive oil for dipping, will pair with a Tucks NOW Pinot Noir or a lighter Tucks Savagnin.

If an indulgent lunch is on the cards, then Montalto Restaurant is a clear winner. Floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the refined country-style interior in sunlight on a clear day or provide a moody backdrop to a rainy afternoon. Prepare to (reluctantly) share the à la carte menu or book in for the Taste of Estate menu, which will take you on a culinary tour of the winery and garden. The Sher 9+ wagyu striploin and cheek is a standout on the menu, and a dessert of sesame parfait with orange and praline will be the much-anticipated encore to your meal.

While no special occasion is necessary, a visit to Jackalope’s Doot Doot Doot will certainly gain you brownie points for an anniversary of some sort. Treat your tastebuds to a dinner reservation and experience the expertly curated five-course tasting menu. Matched wines or non-alcoholic pairings from a mix of local and international locations are a necessary accompaniment for dilettantes of food and drink.


Allow the worries of your week to slip out of reach as soon as you check into Jackalope Hotel. The sleek exterior of this five-star accommodation seamlessly continues through to the chic, modern interior.

Jackalope Hotel at dusk, surrounded by vineyards

Jackalope Hotel’s sleek exterior. Image: Supplied.

The generously sized rooms have either a car park or winery outlook (it’s worth spending a little extra on the winery views) and the magnificent black bath will convert even the most devout shower fans.

The nightly turn-down service is a small touch that adds distinct luxury to the experience – look out for the complimentary toiletry gift and illustrated weather card each evening.

It’s the thoughtful details that make the stay particularly personal – from the welcome drink at the downstairs bar to the complimentary breakfast at Doot Doot Doot.


The region’s cool climate makes it ideal for growing wine (and snuggling in front of a fire) and the focus for most vineyards has been on pinot noir, a wine that Montalto does particularly well.

For those planning ahead, the Perfect Pairing experience gets you a seat at the high table overlooking the vineyard in Montalto’s Wine Room; sip the range of wines that have been perfectly paired, as the name suggests, with bite-sized canapes. If you’re travelling during the summer months a picnic experience (prepared by the restaurant and set up for you on the day) at one of the 10 sites is a definite addition to the bucket list.  

A set table overlooking a vineyard

Enjoy a private picnic overlooking the vines at Montalto Estate. Image: Supplied.

Drinks with a side of lunch at Rare Hare, overlooking the rolling green of the Willow Creek vineyard, is another must-stop. Long wooden communal tables allow for big dining parties and the chance to turn to your neighbour and gush about how delicious the food and wine is.

Stop by the cellar door for a tasting of Rare Hare or Willow Creek wines and make sure you allow enough baggage to take home a few bottles. The standout dishes on the share menu are the starter of sardines on toast with preserved lemon and the staples of roasted parsnip with feta, macadamia and fried sage and the lamb rump with freekeh, eggplant relish and hummus. The woodfired chocolate cookie is an absolute must for dessert.


Walk or ride the Red Hill Rail Trail for an easy 6.5km stroll that will take you from near the Red Hill Cellar and Pantry to the coastal hamlet of Merricks. You’ll find many swimming and surfing beaches all over the peninsula, but if you’re on the search for some beach walks then head to Point Nepean National Park.

Relaxation will be a must for your weekend away and a few hours of soaking at the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs won’t go astray. Make sure to pre-book as it can get busy over the weekend.

If you’re wanting a more secluded pampering session then the spa at Jackalope Hotel will, as the tagline suggests, steer your overstimulated mind to a better place.  

*Mercedes-Benz New Zealand Ltd at all times promotes the responsible service and consumption of alcohol.

By Georgia Lejeune