Open for Business in the Peninsula

There is a further easing of restrictions by the Victorian Government beginning on 1st June 2020. You will be able to stay in tourist accommodation like ours! The Dolphin, Starfish and Beach Club cottages now accept bookings. However, the Beach Club communal BBQ and laundry must remain closed.

You can visit the Mornington Peninsula now!

We will continue to update the following list of places which are Open for Business. Social distancing rules still apply, see the Government website for more details.

Public Places & Parks

  • Beaches – Open!
  • Playgrounds and Skateparks – Open!
  • National Parks – Open except for the Point Nepean National Park and its visitor centre.
  • Fishing from boats, piers and beaches – Allowed!
  • Diving from the Rye pier – Allowed! See the popular octopus garden.

Enchanted Adventure Garden

 

Peninsula Hot Springs

  • Bath House bathing and café will re-open from Sunday 7th June 2020 at noon
  • Spa Dreaming Centre bathing, spa and café will re-open  from Friday 12th June 2020
  • Essential information before visiting, advanced booking is necessary, and information on our stay and bath package.
  • What to expect at the reopening of the Hot Springs.
Bathing at the Peninsula Hot Springs
Bathing at the Peninsula Hot Springs

Wineries and Restaurants

Cinema

Dromana 3 Drive In Cinema
Dromana 3 Drive In Cinema

Golf

More to come, please stay tuned!

 

A Perfect Day Around the Bay

The best part of our job is to discover and trial the best travel experience for our guests. Recently we tried a new route visiting both the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsula on the same day. The suggested itinerary below includes our handpicked sites, restaurants, menu suggestions and even wine pairing. We did this not once, but twice to ensure our recommendations can consistently deliver.


The Sorrento-Queenscliff Ferry provides a great way to cross the Port Phillip Bay. Instead of doing the long drive through the congested Melbourne freeways, treat yourselves to amusing wildlife and beautiful landscape.

Viewing deck on the Sorrento Queenscliff Ferry
The front deck on the Sorrento Queenscliff Ferry.

Here is our suggested itinerary to spoil yourself and enjoy the best from both sides of the bay.

1. Wake up at our gorgeous cottages

Family and pet friendly, our cottages are just a short 15 minutes drive to the Sorrento Ferry Terminal.

private courtyard fully fenced
The Beach Club Cottage – 15 mins from the Sorrento Queenscliff Ferry Terminal.

2. Breakfast at the Vanilla Slice Cafe

Enjoy great coffee and the famous Sorrento Vanilla Slice before you cross the bay. If time allows, browse through the art galleries and historical sites around the Sorrento township. The ferry departs on the hour and you are advised to arrive at least 15 mins before. You can also book online, otherwise just queue up and pay at the drive through.

3. Hop aboard the ferry

Boarding the Sorrento Queenscliff Ferry in a car.

You can drive onto the ferry, or leave your car behind. There is parking available at the terminal. The journey takes only 45 minutes while you enjoy the view on the deck or stay warm in their comfy lounge. There is a full service bar in the lounge if you have room after the vanilla slice.

Sorrento Queenscliff Ferry
The Sorrento Queenscliff Ferry connects the Mornington Peninsula and the Bellarine Peninsula.

4. Visit historic Queenscliff

Tour the Fort Queenscliff, lighthouse, and glimpse the old days on The Queenscliff Heritage Walk.

5. Late lunch with a 270 degree view

The Bellarine Peninsula is famous for their mussels, freshly harvested daily. There is no better place to enjoy them than the Jack Rabbit Winery, just 30mins drive from Queenscliff. It offers both indoor and outdoor dining area with the same 270 degree sea view. We have been there multiple times in the last 6 years, and were never disappointed with their food, wine and hospitality. Their mussel recipe changes regularly, we had it in a red wine sauce, creamy parsley sauce, and a Thai fusion sauce with coconut cream before.

Tip: match the mussels with their pinot noir, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc depending on the mussel receipt of the day.

Photo by the Jack Rabbit Winery (actual view at the winery). They are serving sunset dinner until the end of daylight savings on Fridays and Saturdays (ends on the 4-April-2020).

6. Bring home some mussels

Available at good seafood stores around the Bellarine Peninsula, also on the Mornington Peninsula. We like them both and have a great recipe to prepare them.

Grilled Veal Rack

We are very lucky to have access to quality meat in the Mornington Peninsula like at the Hillock Downs. A veal rack is as hard to find as hen’s teeth. The Cottage Chef finds a nice rack today and here is her recipe.

Veal has its unique texture. The Cottage Chef decides to marinate it with Asian ingredients and grills them over charcoal.

IMG_1641

Ingredients:

One whole rack of veal

Marinate – green onion, shallot, ginger, Chinese cooking wine, corn starch, raw sugar, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, white pepper, cooking oil.

  1. Finely chopped all ingredients.
  2. Cut the racks into individual pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and sauces and apply them evenly over the rack pieces.
  4. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.
  5. Grill over charcoal.

Tip: leave in the freezer for a day or 2, and you will get a different texture.

Wine match: Bass Phillip Crown Prince Pinot Noir

 

Peninsula Fresh Organics

We aren’t running out of ideas for this subject line nor this is an ad. We aren’t paid to write this. But the name Peninsula Fresh Organics really sums it up, we do believe it is an accurate reflection of their produce and this post.

Staff loads the produce which are always harvested the night before
Staff loading the produce which are always harvested the night before

Fresh? If you aren’t aware until now, the vegetables sold at our regular grocery shops aren’t picked when they are ripe. In facts they are often harvested early to increase their shelf life. They ripen in the trucks and insides their boxes. Many of the favours and nutritions aren’t there. It’s very apparent when you are having them as salad, or making soup or sauces. At Peninsula Fresh Organics they pick the evening before.

Organic? Detox and fasting have been popular habits lately. People become more cautious of what they put into their stomach. I’m very supportive of food science and technologies. They allow food to be grown faster and bigger, solving many crisis. But the unnatural substance introduced do accumulate in our bodies. Instead of detoxing we can simply put less harm in. The higher price of organic produce can be preventive, I admit I cannot afford it every day. However let’s support our farmers occasionally, our bodies will say thank you. The Peninsula Fresh Organics website says that their produce are certified, I ain’t lab technicians but I believe in them.

Delicious? Please try it and we’ll leave the verdict to our readers. The Cottage Chef certainly think so, see her recipe here.

A good place to visit in the Peninsula? Definitely. They have been farming at their Baxter location for more than 40 years and into their 5th generation now. Through the entrance visitors will enter the rustic property with many antique tools on display, greeted by their friendly staff, and seeing freshly harvested produce being loaded onto shelves.

Our favourite are their round zucchini and heirloom root vegetables. Don’t miss it while you’re heading down to the peninsula. It makes a great first stop on the way from the city; load up with fresh fruits and vegetables for your stay, or enjoy them back at your home.

 

Zucchini Carpaccio with Wine Aged in Terracotta

The Cottage Chef takes on a new recipe and wine pairing challenge, with emphasis on retaining the original favours of freshly harvested organic zucchini. She came across these delicious vegetables after a visit to the Peninsula Fresh Organics in Baxter.

IMG_1053
Pairing Zucchini Carpaccio with the Trofeo Estate Amphora Chardonnay

A “less is more” approach is therefore taken. The Cottage Chef will use a recipe which adds little seasoning, to ensure diners are actually enjoying the zucchini, a “light taste” vegetable itself. The same is required from the wine, best if it is nothing but grape juice; well fermented grape juices. Luckily the Mornington Peninsula offers a good variety of wine making styles and methods.

At Trofeo Estate they make wine which is aged in terracotta. According to Trofeo, “Terracotta does not impart any flavour, so the wines produced in the Amphora display all of the delicate fruit aromatics and flavours, pre-existing in the grapes. Terracotta is an inorganic medium, and as such does not harbor spoilage micro-organisms, thus reducing the levels of Sulphur required to safeguard the wine.” The Cottage Chef found their Amphora Chardonnay to be a good match. The Chardonnay grapes were hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. The wine is aged in Terracotta Amphorae for 10 months accompanied with periodic stirring of the lees. Besides the natural favour of the fruits, there is mouthfeel texture and complexity, adding a good natural contrast to the zucchini.

Zucchini Carpaccio
Zucchini Carpaccio

Zucchini Carpaccio

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil, rocket salad, lemon juice, rind, sea salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Methods:

  1. Trim the ends of the zucchini and slice diagonally into wafer-thin rounds. Place in a bowl.
  2. Combine the oil, lemon juice and rind, and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over zucchini and leave for 5 minutes. Pile the rocket onto serving plates, then top with the zucchini and finish with the parmesan. Serve as a first course or as an accompaniment to simply grilled meat and fish.

This is such an easy dish to be prepared and enjoyed at our cottages. Getting the wine and vegetables at the Trofeo Estate Winery and Peninsula Fresh Organics are great attractions themselves. We recently had guests asking for a bigger fridge to keep the food they brought in. To our dear guests, why are you bringing your own?! Let’s just enjoy all the Mornington Peninsula can offer.