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.

Arthurs Seat Climb

It was a cold spring morning in Rye. I woke up in the dark asking myself, “are you sure?” Despite I had readied my cycling gears, getting out of bed for a ride was never easy. The Mornington Peninsula has been a cycling friendly region, cyclists are welcomed and tolerated (yes imagine you are driving behind a big bunch riding at 30km/hr along Point Nepean Road) to ride at anytime of the day. I wanted to start early as I always enjoy riding in the morning, free from the traffic.

I walk quietly towards the living room, with fear of waking up my kids, put on my gear in the dark, turn on the bike light and off I went. I rode along the relatively flat Point Nepean Road with a tail wind on my back, towards Sorrento. You’ll have difficulty finding a better stretch of road for a warm up ride, cars free in the morning, with the sun slowly emerging from the horizon. It was sunrise when I made it to Sorrento. I had a little stop near the Searoad Ferry pier before I turned around for the major objective of the ride, The Arthurs Seat climb.

Brief stop near the Searoad Ferry pier in Sorrento.

For the fit cyclists, the Arthurs Seat climb is steep but short. One climb is never enough and many of them do loops as part of their training. It is a very popular climb for obvious reasons. The climb itself is very well documented, therefore I won’t repeat here.

It is however not just another scenic cycling challenge, but also a monument in Australia road bike racing. For many years the Arthurs Seat climb had been featured as a stage in the Herald Sun Tour. World class cyclists like Simon Clarke, Stuart O’Grady, Bradley Wiggins, Simon Gerrans and recently the Tour de France winner, Christ Froome, had all been sweating along this climb. During a race day, cycling fans and spectators would be gathering at one of the many hairpin turns along the climb, cheering for their favourites.

I took my time riding towards Dromana before I started the climb. I still needed my legs playing with my children in the afternoon, so climbing once was enough.

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Stopping at one of the lookouts along the climb, with Port Phillip Bay in the background.

At the top I was rewarded with a good view, and of course the descend. If you know what you are doing, descending the Arthurs Seat is a joy. On a dry day in good conditions, there are many hairpin turns to test your skills.

I ended the ride with an easy stroll back to the cottage, time for coffee and of course a dip in the hot tub.