My husband and I recently spent 3 days in and around Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula, child free, for our 12th year wedding anniversary and my birthday. Our little annual getaway this time of the year is something I look forward to every year, as a way to recharge as well as to reconnect. Even when you plan a little couples getaway and plan to do a lot of nothing most of the time, some research and planning was still required. You’d be surprised that when it comes to areas such as the Mornington Peninsula, you cannot just “drive around and hopefully find someplace to eat” just by rocking up. I found that a lot of places aren’t even open for dinner, and because we went during the week, I found many places were also not open on some week days.
So, I thought I would share our 3-day itinerary (Monday to Wednesday) in and around Cape Schanck as a guide for those planning a similar getaway. Please bear in mind that I made these decisions based on budget, quality and value for money. Some places we completely skipped because I was not prepared to pay the full price for that experience. Other places, I decided to go for it and splurge – because the menu suited my taste, etc. Anyway, all shall be detailed and elaborated as we go through the list 🙂
Day One: Monday, 9th December 2019
LUNCH – The Cups Estate, Fingal
The region is surrounded by so many wonderful wineries and most of them have on-site restaurants, but The Cups Estate stood out as one that offers a menu after my own heart. They are only open for Lunch, and we were lucky at the time that they are open from Thursday to Monday, so we made it on that Monday at the very start of our trip! We went for the Chef’s Menu, a showcase of their favourite dishes, and every single dish was just spot on. What an incredible start to our little getaway, each dish was a flavour explosion in my mouth and I cannot be happier. We also had a bottle of wine (2016 Syrah) from the estate, and since we had to drive to our accommodation and really should not be finishing the bottle, they were more than happy to let us take the bottle home.
The Verdict: 9/10
$$$: $65 x 2 Chefs Menu 6-course Lunch + $40 bottle of 2016 Syrah = $170
ACCOMMODATION – Views Cape Schanck Boutique Hotel
This entire getaway actually started with choosing this accommodation, and this place was chosen months in advance thanks to Cudo Travel. Those of you who know me well, will know that I am a huge fan of finding deals on Group Buying Sites. It is truly the best way to experience something new, at a lower risk, and discounted price. This lovely rustic little boutique hotel exceeded my expectations. With only 10 guest rooms on-site, and a spectacular view of the Mornington Peninsula, it is truly the perfect place if you are looking for a quiet place to just relax. Our host, Damien, made us feel truly welcomed from the very minute we arrived. He welcomed us with a glass of sparkling wine each, and showed us around a little bit, and told us to help ourselves to the open bar lol. He then showed us to our lovely room and our fridge has been pre-filled with breakfast to last us throughout the whole stay. There are definitely quite a few other accommodation options, but if you want value for money, spacious rooms, good ol’ friendly hospitality, privacy, a peaceful and quiet getaway, and if you have pets and would like to bring your furry family member along, Views Cape Schanck pride themselves as a Pet Friendly accommodation with pet minding services.
The Verdict: 9/10
$$$: $329 for 2-nights, thanks to Cudo Travel discount and free room upgrade.
DINNER – Flinders Hotel
I decided that since we had a rather fancy lunch, to just keep it simple for dinner and have a meal at a local pub. Little did I know that Flinders Hotel was more than just your typical pub. A short 14-minute drive down the road to Flinders and this bistro was serving up quail, de-boned, spice rubbed with chickpeas, smoked eel, witlof and green apple. The crispy squid was lightly crusty and so tender. The ricotta gnocchi was absolutely delicious, and one of their signature dishes the roasted lamp rump was perfectly cooked. It was a rather satisfying meal and just that little bit more than your average pub meal.
The Verdict: 8/10
$$$: $150 in total for the quail, calamari, side of asparagus salad, gnocchi, roasted lamb rump, a Mojito and a beer.
Day Two: Tuesday, 10th December 2019
LUNCH – T’Gallant Wines
Once again thanks to Cudo (this deal was also on Scoopon), we got to experience the amazing T’Gallant at a very discounted price. This winery experience included wine tasting experience from the Cellar Door, half a woodfired pizza per person, salad to share, glass of wine per person, and a take-home can of Prosecco per person. All for $39 (valued at $97)! It was a truly wonderful experience. The estate itself is so beautiful and picturesque, and the staff were so friendly and accommodating. It was just such a delightful birthday lunch, and I felt truly blessed that we were able to experience that at such an amazing price.
The Verdict: 8/10 (only because I was limited to eating pizza for lunch… haha. Still very thankful for such an amazing deal)
$$$: $39 for Two (from Cudo)
We had some time to kill before our spa appointment in Red Hill, so we decided to go and check out Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm literally next door to T’Gallant. We did the U-pick and picked our own strawberries, then sat down at the cafe and had chocolate fondue with even more strawberries. These strawberries were so delicious! Amazingly sweet and juicy and ugh, just thinking about them now is making my mouth water.
The Verdict: 9/10
$$$: $10 per adult for picking (500g take home punnet each), $18 fondue, $4.50 coffee, $8 iced coffee = $50.50
After the strawberry farm, we still had a bit more time to kill. So, I randomly looked at the map of the area on Google and found a lookout spot. It was a pleasant walking trail, not too far at all and I wasn’t prepared to go on a hike so I even did it in high sandals and survived. By the time we got to the lookout point, we found that it was just this little gap between the trees so most of the view was obstructed throughout the entire way except for this one gap where we can see the bay and town in a distance. Not the best lookout point lol but at least we went on a quiet, slow paced relaxing walk in the woods and managed to kill a bit of time!
We finally got to our 3.30pm appointment at Red Hill Spa. Here’s a little tip – avoid arriving at school pick up time… when we arrived, there were cars everywhere because of the school across the road, and finding a car park was difficult. Most of the car parks in the area were restricted during school pick up times, otherwise it would have been abundant any other time during the day. Thankfully we managed to find a spot a short walking distance away, and got to our appointment in time.
We were welcomed with a pot of tea, and I have pre-booked the “Indian Love Bath” package with includes a bath soak apparently full of aphrodisiac oils 😉 with a glass of sparkling Kombucha each and some light snacks. We had our bath soak out on the balcony, so it was quite pleasant and relaxing. Then, we indulged in an hour relaxation massage.
Unfortunately the little bath tub was a little small for my liking, sure it’s intimate and hubby had to literally have his arms around me the whole time just so our shoulders weren’t squished too close together, lol but I do prefer a much bigger and spacious spa experience. As for the massage, I thoroughly enjoyed mine and even fell asleep at some point, but hubby claimed he was very sore after. Possibly because he was already sore to begin with, but he was in pain. Poor thing. Massages are so hard to get perfect for everyone though, that is why you go to many different places until you find your perfect masseuse and stick to that one!
The Verdict: 7/10
$$$: $300 for the Couples Indian Love Bath package
After the massage, we arrived at the Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill a little earlier than our booked dinner reservation, so we took the opportunity to walk around the gardens and check out this beautiful boutique accommodation. It was just stunning. The gardens were pretty and there was a little lake, a well maintained sunken garden, and as you walk around the hallways of the hotel itself you see beautiful relaxing areas where you can just sit and relax, and lovely artwork on the walls. I took some pictures, but I found my picture did not do any justice, so I am not going to post any of my crappy photos.
When we finally got to the restaurant, we were led into this cosy and beautiful traditional yet with a modern touch looking dining room. We were first to get there, but it quickly filled up with other couples, a few families and a group of business looking guys who looked like they were all staying there for a company retreat or conference of some sort.
Dinner was excellent. We decided NOT to go with the Tasting Menu despite the fact that we usually would, but I just didn’t think I was able to eat so much that night so we went for the 2-course menu instead. Hubby and I do a little swap thing whenever we eat out, so we get to taste a bit of everything. So we ordered two different entrees and two different mains, we would eat half of the plate and then do a swap. So we get to basically taste 4 different dishes. I absolutely loved the Sher Wagyu tartare, it was combined so well with the sesame ponzu dressing, wasabi creme fraiche and nettle. The sea scallops with gnocchi and lobster bisque was also excellent. Then for mains, we had the King George whiting which was steamed beautifully and served with this sushi rice in broth that actually reminded me of a really good home cooked meal back in Malaysia. It was very Asian, and to me I grew up eating fish and rice a lot.. so that truly brought back memories. Then we had the venison rump with pumpkin, dandelion pasta, goats curd, mushroom gills and jus. So good. The food doesn’t look like much in the photos, but we were full and content. It probably also helped that they served us the best freshly baked in-house bread ever. The bread was amazing! I cannot even describe how amazing it was. So light and fluffy and delicious, with this super light smooth crust, and the most delicious smoked butter. I was so happy they offered us more bread, but I couldn’t finish my second bread roll… I was too full.
By the end of it, we decided to share the dessert so only hubby upgraded to 3-courses lol. I literally had two spoonfuls (mind you, there were really delicious two spoonfuls) of the Eton Mess and hubby finished it off with a glass of De Bortoli Noble One.
The Verdict: 9/10
$$$: $243 including 2x entrees, 2x mains, 1x dessert and 4 glasses of wine.
Day Three: Wednesday, 11th December 2019
Immediately after we check out of our accommodation, we drove down to Cape Schanck Lighthouse and walked up to the lookout. The view from up that hill was spectacular. There were also a few walking trails etc but I didn’t really feel like walking much, so the lookout was enough for me. Maybe on another day, I will come back and do the boardwalk and walking trails around the area. It was a good end to our trip and we left the Mornington Peninsula feeling relaxed and refreshed.
And if that wasn’t enough content, check out all the photos and videos from my Instagram Story Highlight below: