Things to Do in Sorrento, Vic
Looking more like a slice of Italy than Australia, Victoria's Mornington Peninsula is littered with silvery olive groves, rolling green hills, gorgeous coastline, vine leaves in a multitude of colours and farm fresh produce available at roadside stalls. All year round this haven, only 80 minutes from Melbourne, is alive and buzzing with things to do.
Sorrento, on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, is a great 'foodie' destination for those seeking a gourmet getaway any time of year
Autumn is a particularly fabulous time to enjoy some time away from the city, sampling the local fare and watching the seasons change. Whether you fancy a feast at one of the many wineries or prefer some seafood in any number of the beach side restaurants, Sorrento is a great place to base yourself to start your gourmand’s tour. An historic town with beautiful limestone buildings it has the seaside character of yesteryear with all the modern facilities and requirements of today. It is the main hub of the area with a small permanent population of approximately 1500, but which swells enormously in summer with Melburnian day-trippers and holiday makers. Autumn, however, sees the town return to its gentle quietude without becoming a ghost town.
There’s an air of ‘Melbourne meets the sea’ about Sorrento – this is no run-down seaside village. With property prices at the upper end of the scale, and neighbours such as Portsea, Sorrento has all the niceties you’d expect of a well-heeled suburb without losing its beachy charm. Most of the town’s attractions are within walking distance, with the main street playing host to interesting galleries, curio shops and specialist boutiques. There’s even a great old cinema showing recent releases. There is so much to see and do for everyone particularly if you like anything to do with the water, wildlife or golf. But with the weather cooling off, this time of year is especially brilliant for the foodies.
The main street contains a multitude of restaurants and cafes, offering a large variety of international and local cuisines. Both the Sorrento Hotel and the Continental Hotel offer great ambience and menus with good local wine lists. There are also a couple of great fish and chip shops for picnics on the beach with the seagulls. For dessert you have to try the famous vanilla slice at Just Fine Food. The Smokehouse at the back beach end of the main street does a mean wood-fired pizza and is an institution amongst locals.
On the fourth Saturday of the month, from September to April, there’s a craft market in Sorrento where local growers and ‘crafty’ types sell their wares. A great spot to go and taste-test some magnificent cheese, apples and olives and there’s always good coffee on offer too!
Travelling only 20 minutes up the road, the Red Hill area is great for wineries and restaurants showcasing locally grown produce and wines. A couple of particular favourites are the mushroom pizza at T’Gallant and the gorgeous veggie garden at Montalto which supplies the stunning restaurant. You can also pick your own berries and olives at a number of farms in the area, a popular example of which is the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm in Main Ridge. There’s a shop there selling anything and everything with a strawberry in it or on it!
If somehow you’ve managed to exhaust all the possibilities in Sorrento and you really want to spread your wings and experience the delights of the bay, there’s a passenger ferry that links Sorrento and Queenscliff and runs regularly year-round.
And after all that eating and drinking you may feel the need to relax with a massage at one of the many local spas. Go on, treat yourself!