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Victoria: Southeast Touring Triangle

Sorrento Mornington
Victoria Australia
Yarra Valley 4
Yarra Valley 3
Phillip Island Penguins 2
Koala Phillip Island
Golf Mornington
Mornington 4

Victoria: Southeast Touring Triangle

story by: Tom Ricketts

Victoria’s Southeast Touring Triangle is the collective name given to the regions of Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island, and the Yarra Valley/Dandenongs, all of which surround Melbourne. Each of the regions have their own jewels including abundant wildlife, fine wines, amazing scenery, great beaches and historical towns and villages. Most visitors make their way to each of these regions on a series of bus tours, but it’s easier and far more time efficient to hire a rental car and explore the regions on your own self-drive.

From Melbourne we recommend you first head for the Yarra Valley, just an hour to the east of Melbourne. Get away early and spend some time at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary on the way this morning, as Healesville is consistently voted one of the best places in Australia to see local wildlife.

Tummy rumbling, it’s time to head into the Yarra.

The valley is home to Victoria’s wine industry and features over 70 vineyards including famous names like De Bortoli and Domaine Chandon. Sharing the rich soil are many farms and orchards giving the valley a real abundance of fresh, locally grown food for its many cellar door restaurants. It would be rude not to sample a drop of wine while here, spending the whole afternoon enjoying the gorgeous scenery and delicious cuisine to match.

Day two takes you south from the Yarra Valley to Phillip Island. On the way, be sure to drop by the lush Dandenong Ranges where the hills here are covered in beautiful forests full of ferns and soaring trees. Dotted alongside the winding roads are many galleries and arts and crafts centres, adding to the alternative and relaxed lifestyle of this part of the world. The most famous resident is the old Puffing Billy steam train which huffs and puffs his way up to the bird-filled gardens of Gembrook.

Then it’s across the bridge to tonight’s destination, Phillip Island. Check out the Grand Prix circuit which hosts an annual leg of the World Superbike Championship. Explore the shops in Cowes and perhaps have a meal overlooking the beach before heading to the Phillip Island Nature Park. Here you can view seals, dolphins, sharks, koalas, and most famously, penguins. Stay for the Penguin Parade at sunset to see thousands of Fairy Penguins waddle up the beach seeking refuge after a long day out fishing.

Retrace your route early on day three and head back to the mainland and around the bay towards the picturesque Mornington Peninsula. Golf enthusiasts will want to stop at one of the nine golf courses located on the peninsula. Several of the courses are ranked amongst the best in Australia, but Moonah Links stands out having held the Australian Open twice as well as having facilities for any non-golfers in the car.

Finish your day exploring the towns of Sorrento and Portsea. These idyllic villages have long been a city getaway for Melbourne’s elite locals - it’s extremely evident these days as massive mansions line the beaches and cliffs. Beaches on the Port Phillip Bay side of the peninsula are calm and great for families, while the ocean side beaches, subjected to extreme weather from Bass Strait, have stunning scenic panoramas and are a magnet for surfers. Any shopping you forgot to do in Melbourne can be done in the many boutiques of Sorrento, and a warm sunny afternoon is best spent overlooking the beach from the manicured lawns of the Portsea Pub, the local favourite.

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