Things to do in Melbourne: Nine must-do highlights of the Mornington Peninsula

THE ONE RESTAURANT

In a little pond filled with big fish, Moke is a quiet achiever. Housed in the old Flinders bakehouse, the fine-diner is a hidden gem, with hanging plants, plush green velvet chairs and floral prints. Creative chef Michael Cole creates exquisite, vegetable-forward small plates where flavour and presentation are both key. The wine list features glasses from local boutique wineries such as pinot noir from KK01 and chardonnay from Cappi. mokedining.com.au

THE ONE GENERAL STORE

Operating a cellar door, gallery, shop and restaurant, Peninsula icon Merricks General Store heaves on weekends, and with good reason. Surrounded by lush fruit trees, its light and airy dining room is decorated with art, baskets of dried flowers and horse-training paraphernalia as a nod to its rural past. Friendly staff serve country-style cooking with a modern twist, such as crumbed chicken with French spice vadouvan, hearty side salads and decadent quince and ginger-crumb trifle laced with rum. mgwinestore.com.au

THE ONE DISTILLERY

Mornington Peninsula
Credit: Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism
Jimmyrum Distillery
Tra11
Single use Traveller only

Self-confessed yachtie and ex-marine engineer James McPherson is passionate about rum, and spent three months visiting 70 distillers around the world studying the subject before opening his impressive Jimmyrum distillery at Dromana. Now, he wants to share his love of rum with you and, in particular, the joys of drinking it neat at his tasting bar. "Rum is as good as a single malt whiskey," he explains as he guides you through sips. But for those who will not be converted, there are always cocktails. "If we can't serve you a decent Hemingway cocktail or mojito, we're shutting the bar." jimmyrum.com.au

THE ONE BREWERY

A world-class racehorse training facility has been converted into the equally spectacular St Andrews Beach Brewery. The enormous site's stables are now open-air booths named after equine legends, and patrons can drink in the new "Birdcage". The racetrack houses heritage apple trees for a forthcoming cider and the kitchen's veggie patch. Almost everything is produced on site, from its range of craft brews, excellent fruity alcoholic seltzers to its pizzas - which can number about 500 on a busy day. standrewsbeachbrewery.com.au

THE ONE WINERY

Mornington Peninsula
Credit: Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism
Montalto
Tra11

At Montalto's, you can sample their pinot noirs and chardonnays at their buzzing tasting room then wander through the vines along its unique Sculpture Trail. Grab a pizza from the piazza or fine dine in the restaurant, watching crimson rosellas flutter between velvet-green vineyards. Chef Matt Wilkinson is at the helm, with relaxed, all day-dining over a set menu that incorporates fresh produce from the garden with local seafood, classic meat dishes and simple, comforting desserts. montalto.com.au

THE ONE HOT SPRINGS

The Japanese-inspired, destination-spa Peninsula Hot Springs is an ideal way to pass a wintry day (or night). In a native garden setting, pathways and wooden bridges link more than 50 mineral-rich pools, saunas, steam baths and foot baths located anywhere from tree-tops to caves, it's not difficult to secure one of your own. Complete the de-stress with a range of massages from the spa centre. peninsulahotsprings.com

THE ONE CHEESE SHOP

The Peninsula's forested Red Hill is atmospheric in autumn, and Red Hill Cheese has a splendid location right in its centre. IThe seating is mostly outdoors on the verandah, overlooking tall trees as they sway in the breeze - a fine spot to while away a few hours over a cheese platter with matched local beers and wines. They make cheese here in small batches - not enough for the platters, which includes French comte and blues to balance out the flavours. redhillcheese.com.au

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THE ONE VIEWPOINT

Mornington Peninsula
Credit: Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism
Arthurs Seat gondola
Tra11
Single use Traveller only

No longer a humble (and slightly terrifying) chairlift, Arthurs Seat Eagle upgraded to a Swiss gondola system in 2016, so it can operate year around. Named after the wedge-tailed eagle, the pods silently glide through the sky, offering tremendous views of the Peninsula's west coast right across to Melbourne. At the top, stop to walk the trails of Arthurs Seat State Park which contains wildlife, walking trails, more spectacular views, and picnic areas. aseagle.com.au

THE ONE BARBECUE

While we may not be able to travel to the US, Red Gum BBQ brings a taste of the south to the Peninsula. One couple's passion for smoked meats has seen their empire expand from farmer's markets to a huge space on Red Hill, formerly occupied by truck mechanics and hidden away behind a petrol station. Ethically-sourced meats served with homemade sauces come with classic sides to a soundtrack of country music. Local craft beers and wine are also a specialty. If you love their sauces, bottles are available to buy. . redgumbbq.com.au

ONE MORE THING

Depending on where you are in Melbourne, the Peninsula could be just over an hour away along the Peninsula Freeway, so bring your Esky and stock up on produce to take home. Head to Torello Farm (Torellofarm.com.au) for organic fruit and veg, Millers Bread Kitchen (millersbread.com.au) for pizza and bread; and Red Hill Cellar and Pantry (cellarandpantry.com.au) for some of the region's top produce.

The writer was a guest of Visit Victoria and Contained

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