After the rush of Christmas, I was in need of a short break and having some friends in Melbourne, I took the opportunity to head to Victoria and out of the city to some tourist spots. Ordinarily I’d go to the city, shop up a storm, test out some up and coming cafes and scope out town for some good bars and restaurants. On this occasion, my friend picked us up and off to the Mornington Peninsula we went for a day trip. The Mornington is known for beautiful beaches, eateries and a great place for the city folk to head for a holiday. We stayed inland and lunched at Merricks General Wine Store.
Merricks General Wine store
The General store has wine tasting, gourmet goods to purchase and also a gift store. Out the back, there is also a take away coffee window. I was keen to go to the restaurant for lunch and although it was really busy, we waited and got a table. My friends and I each had a glass of wine which accompanied the food well. My friends ordered the oysters, salmon and linguini. Food was beautifully cooked with delicate flavours. I had the poke bowl; a really fresh and healthy poke with tuna sashimi. We all really enjoyed our food. It is really popular, and a great place to eat. I would recommend booking.
3460 Frankston-Flinders Road, Merricks, Balnarring, Balnarring, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Peninsula Hot Springs
The Peninsula Hot Springs are a natural hot springs and day spa less than 90 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. Make sure you book as it is extremely busy! $40 and unlimited time at the springs. Enter, pop your things in your locker and head outside. There are lots of pools, ranging in temperatures, from the ice cold plunge pool to 40 degrees! There’s also a sauna and turkish steam bath. The baths are in the middle of wide open spaces, with a beautiful outlook. A great place to hang out with your family, friends whilst relaxing and rejuvenating.
Springs Lane, Fingal, 3939
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
The next day we headed down to the Yarra Valley to sample some of the regions beautiful wines.
We stayed at the Yarra Valley Lodge which is a huge resort on the site of a golf course. There is a member’s club for golfers, but guests can also play. You can take short trail walks around the site and see plenty of kangaroos. Rooms are spacious, they have comfortable beds, well stocked bath rooms and mini bars, TV’s have movies you can pay to watch and room service is also prompt. Breakfast was included, and although very busy, food was all you need at a buffet. On site there is a bar, day spa, pool and tennis court. All you need for a lovely weekend is here.
The next day we took a tour with Wild Wombat tours. We were picked up at our hotel, taken to 5 wineries (normally 4, but the lovely driver added in an extra), for $110, a full day tour including lunch and a glass of wine with lunch is very reasonable. Drivers are friendly and knowledgeable and tours always change depending on customers and area you are staying.
Wineries and breweries
In particular I loved the tasting at Chandon. Although this place costs $10 to taste, you can try 6 different sparkling wines and they have a few you can’t buy in store. One of my favourites was the “orange bitters” – pour in a glass of ice and it is like a spritzer. Amazing to have on a hot day!
Ezard at Levantine hill was also great. Huge site and it is a restaurant and cellar door that was rated Best Cellar Door in the 2016 Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine. We did a tasting, bought a few wines and had lunch too. Chef of the famed Ezard, I knew the food here would be good. As it was lunch, my friends and I shared a few dishes. The mac and cheese croquettes were a standout, as well as the mini sliders, linguini and cured salmon. It was an amazing lunch and I would certainly be keen to visit for a degustation.
Four Pillars gin was another top spot to visit. You can take tours of the site or undertake gin tastings. We did a tasting paddle; they have rare dry gin, navy strength gin, spiced negroni gin – try these with the matching garnish or add some tonic and you’re set for a great afternoon.
For NYE, we stayed in the city. A lot less busy than city, it is a good choice for your new years’. I booked the Sheraton on Little Collins street. Great location, 5 star luxury not far from the shopping mall, sports grounds and plenty of restaurants to eat. A very new and stylish hotel, rooms were fancy, huge bathrooms and certainly very comfortable. They have a great spa, pool and also deck bar where they had a DJ and small event for NYE. The buffet was also excellent. Check in was easy and I would recommend the Sheraton to stay.
27 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia
Phone: (61)(3) 9290 1000
Magic Mountain Saloon
For our drinks and dinner we went on the recommendation of Zomato to Magic Mountain Saloon. A pretty young and trendy place with thai inspired modern food, we tried a range of meals – great combination of flavours, a bit spicy but worth checking this place out. A huge range of cocktails and perfect for a date or catch up with friends. It also opens for breakfast.
62 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9078 0078