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Coastal Retreat from Melbourne

Diving into the water in Portsea, in southern Australia, an hour southwest of Melbourne.

Photo: Mark Roper

On Friday afternoons from December through February—the golden peak of Australian summer—you can almost trace a line of cars heading out of Melbourne: a happy exodus of weekenders bound for the Mornington Peninsula, 56 miles south of Australia’s sophisticated southern city. Chances are they’re headed for Portsea or Sorrento, the two beach towns at the peninsula’s far western tip. These are laid-back escapes, Aussie-style: surfing in the mornings, languid lunches, fish-and-chips on the beach at sunset. Read the article

Destinations: Sorrento, Australia · Portsea · Fingal · Victoria

Inspired by: Melbourne's Seaside Getaways — by Sally Webb, Published Sep. 2010

Hotels (5)

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    Portsea Hotel

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    Sorrento Portsea Getaways

    Travelers planning an extended stay should consider renting a family-owned villa. Many of the ones from Sorrento Portsea have striking interiors, p

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    Port Phillip Estate

    The collection fo six high-design apartments opened in September 2010; rooms have boldly colored silk Italian throws, Missoni bathrobes, and amenit

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    Peppers Moonah Links Resort

    The 89 suites and studios are accented in earthy, sunburned tones and many have private balconies or patios overlooking the property's two golf cou

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    Hotel Sorrento

    Set high on the cliff above Sorrento’s small harbor on Port Phillip Bay, the hotel has 41 elegant rooms, some with timber finishes and exposed ston

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Restaurants (3)

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    Stringers Stores

    For the ultimate seaside picnic, head to the one-stop deli to pick up delicious ready-made meals (moussaka; pâtés; chicken-and-leek pies), freshly

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    Loquat

    Book a romantic garden table and feast on sophisticated Mediterranean plates like a crisp-skinned duck breast and duck-leg confit—try it paired wit

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    Acquolina

    Hearty northern Italian food including house-made spaghetti with fresh clams, mussels, and bottarga (tuna roe).

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Activities (8)

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    Port Phillip Estate Winery

    Try the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the tasting room, a striking space with ribbed wood ceilings and views of the 60-acre property.

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    Ten Minutes by Tractor Wine Co.

    The winery has made a name for itself with its rich Chardonnays.

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    Moorooduc Estate

    A modest dirt road leads to this winery, where vintner Richard McIntyre's earthy Shiraz and wood-fired pizzas (served only on weekends) have a cult

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    Peninsula Hot Springs

    15 minutes southeast of Sorrento, natural mineral springs feed indoor and outdoor pools and baths.

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    Point Nepean National Park

    From the tip of the peninsula, you can see black wallabies, blue-winged parrots, and long-nosed bandicoots.

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    Seed

    Exquisite children's clothing, including colorful bathing suits (or cossies, as the Australians call them).

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    Debs Boutique

    For flirty summer dresses and linen skirts and tops, the boutique showcases up-and-coming Australian designers like Thurley and Lisa Brown.

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    Gallery Sorrento

    The eclectic Gallery Sorrento has rotating exhibits by Australian artists such as Rick Matear, whose moody paintings often feature the Mornington P

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