Head south-east from Melbourne and you will enter pinot noir country, located between the Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland (75km to 200km from Melbourne).
You’ll sip world-leading pinot noir and eat fresh seafood on the wild, windswept beaches that skirt the rugged coastlines. It’s a raw and untouched landscape, perfect for growing the ever more popular cool-climate grapes.
Depart Melbourne and head down the Mornington Peninsula Freeway. A short hop at about 60 minutes.
Pull off the freeway for at Tuerong for your first taste of the peninsula’s acclaimed pinot noir. Here, the focus is on single-vineyard pinot. Soak up the vineyard views and take a stroll through the sculpture park.
Drive to in Red Hill South for lunch. This two-hatted restaurant’s menu champions locally sourced seasonal produce and indigenous ingredients.
After lunch head to . Here, you’ll taste cherry and raspberry-scented pinot created from some of the peninsula’s oldest vines.
Make your way to your accommodation for the night at , one of Australia’s best hotels. It’s just a 10-minute drive from Stonier.
Once you’ve settled into your room, take a plunge in the infinity pool, book a treatment at the spa, or partake in a DIY room service spa ritual. The ‘Soak’ involves a soak in goat’s milk, magnesium and rose water while enjoying a glass of wine.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining, with two one-hat restaurants on-site. Enjoy casual shareplates at Rare Hare Wine and Food Store. At the high-end Doot Doot Doot, you can indulge in a five-course tasting menu.
Start the day with an Asian-influenced artisan breakfast at Jackalope’s Doot Doot Doot.
Check out and drive to in Red Hill. This architectural marvel offers vast views over the vineyards and coast. Look out for pinot noir from the Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate labels.
It’s time to head to , for a casual lunch. Grab a spot on the terrace or on the lawn under the trees. Order from the sharing menu and make sure to include a glass of local pinot.
It’s time to head to Phillip Island. It’ll take 90 minutes to drive around Western Port Bay.
Your first island stop is – one of the most maritime-influenced vineyards along the wine route. The vines are just 500 metres from the edge of the water. Experience a relaxed tasting at the cellar door.
Drive to your accommodation for the night, in the village of Cowes. This historic guesthouse is nestled beneath 100-year-old oak trees, just a short walk from restaurants and cafés in Cowes.
Take an evening stroll and eat at . Sample a wide range of local Gippsland pinot noir alongside a selection of small plates, such as slow-cooked pork ribs and fried zucchini and chickpea fritters.
It’s time to drive to the famous Penguin Parade where 4000 of the world’s smallest penguins will migrate to Summerland Beach around sunset (around 5pm in autumn/winter and as late as 8.30pm in summer).
Drive back to your accommodation to rest up for tomorrow.
Check out and head to in Newhaven for breakfast. Soak up the spectacular waterfront views and tuck into free-range bacon and eggs sourced from Phillip Island producers.
It’s time to wave goodbye to the island and depart for the charming and historic Gippsland village of Loch.
Explore Loch’s antique stores and galleries. Duck into popular café for a coffee. You can also pick up local jams and honey to take home as gifts.
Make your way to the cellar door, where you’ll discover a pristine small batch, cool-climate pinot noir, influenced by the Bass Coast winds.
Pop into the to purchase local whisky or gin, all made on site. The cellar door and some of the distillery’s stills are housed in a century-old building that was once home to the village’s bank.
Head to the village of Korumburra. Have lunch at the , where a range of local producers have come together to create a unique food, coffee and wine destination.
Drive to the village of Inverloch to visit one of Gippsland’s well-known wineries, . Here you’ll taste winemaker Marcus Satchell’s distinctive cool-climate pinot noir.
After a day of gourmet delights, it is time to stretch your legs with a bracing seaside walk at either Venus Bay or along the Bunurong Coastal Drive. Both offer excellent coastal views with plenty of photo opportunities.
Check into the in Fish Creek. The accommodation, and its distinctive architecture, is perched on the South Gippsland hills. Put your feet up in a suite and look out over views of Wilsons Promontory.
Dinner at the Church House is a social affair – gather with other guests in the lounge for drinks and canapes before enjoying a gourmet dinner paired with pinot around the communal table. For those seeking more privacy, a table for two can also be set.
Tuck into a generous breakfast on the Church House’s veranda – choose from a continental-style brekkie or a full cooked breakfast complete with eggs from the hotel’s chooks and homemade sausages.
Depart and drive 45 minutes to Wilsons Promontory.
Check in at Tidal River for the 11am cruise around ‘The Prom’. Over the two-and a-half-hour voyage, you’ll see rugged landscapes carved by the Southern Ocean. Keep an eye out for fur seals, sea eagles, dolphins and whales.
Depart for in Wattle Bank, a sustainability focused winery just a few minutes outside of Inverloch.
Have a late lunch at Harman Wines. Choose from a generous cheeseboard, or woodfired pizzas, paired with pristine pinot.
After lunch, leave for Melbourne and enjoy a leisurely drive home.