Read our writer's views on this property below
Justine Costigan finds quality, charm and space for the price of a motel room.
Approaching Sorrento by the coast road may be the slightly slower way to arrive, but it sure is pretty. Glimpses of sparkling blue sea, boats bobbing in the bay and jetties made for fishing and strolling tempt holidaymakers from Mornington to Portsea. On a beautiful spring morning, we've definitely caught the peninsula in her Sunday best and feel justified in choosing this lovely seaside town for a short family break.
At the pointy end of the peninsula, accommodation can get pricey, but I've found a small cottage with room to spread out for about the same price as a motel room.
Our Sorrento Beach Unit is actually half of an original weatherboard cottage (the other half, with three bedrooms, is also available to rent). Renovated to provide two bedrooms, it includes a cosy open-plan kitchen and living area and a sparkling bathroom with spa bath. The huge deck extends the dining options - the inside table is only really big enough for two - while a grassy yard provides space to kick a ball or play cricket.
The owners have kept the design simple - white painted walls, white roller blinds and thick wool carpet in the bedrooms, a flatscreen TV and an all-white kitchen. They've invested in good-quality beds and linen and a leather sofa for the living area. The kitchen is well stocked.
Off one of the main roads leading into Sorrento, traffic isn't a problem and, even in the height of summer, the position back from the street means peace and quiet is a given. And being only a short walk into town, there's no need for a car unless you feel like exploring further afield.
And then we ate One of our holiday goals is to eat fish and chips on the beach as we watch the setting sun. A Sorrento local disloyally suggests that the best fish and chips are at Blue Fin Blairgowrie, so we take her advice and drive further down the coast to this slick little takeaway and cafe. We eat on the beach, admiring the beach boxes, playful dogs and driftwood, then walk off dinner until it gets too dark to see.
The next night, we barbecue stunning Red Hill beef and sit on the deck with a glass of local red, mopping up the meat juices with Baker Boys bread. The availability of local produce is one of the lovely surprises of Sorrento, with most food shops competing with each other to be the greatest supporter of local farmers, cheesemakers, winemakers and bakers.
Stepping out Our plan for the weekend is to visit Fort Nepean and spend a day exploring the park, stopping at deserted beaches and looking at the remains of what was once a significant defence position for Victoria. Getting lost in the fort's narrow fortifications is truly creepy. It doesn't take much to visualise what it would have been like to try to defend the country from this position. As it turns out, the Fort Nepean guns were only fired twice in aggression during the course of its military history. As well as the history, the views to Queenscliff and of ships passing through the heads are spectacular.
The deal maker Sorrento is a good place to base yourself if you want to explore this end of the peninsula. Its lovely jetty, grand old pubs and wide choice of shops and cafes mean there's lots to do, even if the weather isn't great. We loved our accommodation, as there was enough room for the family to spread out and we had everything we needed. The quality fitout felt like a bit of luxury at a reasonable price. And a spa bath is always welcomed by the under-10s.
Sorrento Beach Unit
Address 383 Melbourne Road, Sorrento.
The verdict A comfortable house perfectly located for exploring Sorrento. Price from $150 a night (low season).
Bookings Phone 0403 138 887, see coastandcountrygetaways.com.au.
Getting there An hour and a half from Melbourne via the Monash Freeway.
Perfect for A weekend beach getaway.
Wheelchair access No.
While you're there Lunch at The Baths — right on the beach with views across Port Phillip Bay (thebaths.com.au) — or have a late-afternoon beer on the lawn at the Portsea Pub.
Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.