Liv is an Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats Ambassador, which means she has stayed with us many times. As an Ambassador she receives our highest level of loyalty privileges when staying on her Mornington Peninsula Holidays but agrees to post helpful information about her stay. We love sharing knowledge and what better way to do so than having our guests write about their experiences.
Here is her story about she loves best about the Mornington Peninsula and Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats. Liv stays at the cute St Ives Cottage.
“We have stayed at this property several times, and it is always very enjoyable. We tend to spend quite a bit of time on the deck outside, relaxing, reading or studying. The deck overlooks the large back garden and our dog is very happy there, either roaming around or relaxing at the deck, it has both sunny and shady spots which makes it perfect. The garden has a lovely, tranquil atmosphere with native trees, I especially love the Moonah trees.
This time around we had at least 30 cockatoos stop by one afternoon before sunset, and it was such an unexpected and lovely experience!
Even though we always travel there in off-season (we love it when it is peaceful and quiet, and no need to book restaurants way ahead of time) we do spend a lot of time outdoors, we just bundle up and keep nice and toasty if the temperatures drop, even having sunset drinks at the deck.
The house itself is nice and cosy, even has a fireplace in front of the sitting area. We spent some nights catching up on films as the property has Netflix – no need to venture out for entertainment unless you want to. We also always appreciate the comfy beds and the addition of a Nespresso machine – as we don’t function without coffee in the morning… A delicious selection of food was left in the fridge for us (breakfast hamper), so even though we love eating out, we had something to snack on for a late lunch or for an early breakfast. (A bit like the Hobbits, with their first and second breakfast ?)
The fact that the property is always well kept, regularly updated and clean is very important to us, as we want to enjoy every minute of our stay.
Food and wine
In addition to loving the peace and quiet the area offers in winter, one of our main reasons to go is the amazing food and wine that is on offer. We highly recommend 10 Minutes by Tractor for the most memorable lunch or dinner, overlooking the peaceful garden/vines. The staff, food and wine is exceptional so it is always a treat to visit this restaurant, it has a very European feel to it and a very relaxing vibe, we always soak up the ambience and leave happy and well fed (and hydrated) ?
Two other wineries and restaurants we always visit Port Phillip Estate and Red Hill Winery. They both offer outstanding wines in their tasting rooms, have spectacular views, great staff and delicious food. In addition, Port Phillip Estate’s architecture is very modern and innovative, a reason by itself to visit. It also has both a bistro and restaurant, both brilliant, but the bistro has limited hours during winter so do call ahead.
A 10 min drive away from the property we stayed at is another fantastic place to eat, Unica, and it is truly Italian. This visit we enjoyed the Barramundi and the Lasagna, and if you think you have tasted great lasagna I bet this one is going to beat it – truly delicious! The ultimate test for an Italian restaurant for me is how well they make the Tiramisu. And WOW, this is the best one I have ever tasted! Being a lover of Italian food, I’ve tasted quite a few – even in Italy. This one, you HAVE to try!! They do BYO so you can bring your fave, local wine, perhaps from the winery you just visited, there are so many great ones…
As previously mentioned, we love to eat out, and that also goes for late breakfasts – it usually ends up being brunch. And this time, we found a new favourite place for it. Situated at the shopping area in Blair, we discovered this gem and kept returning.
Saint Ernest has the most delicious breakfast, and also coffee to match Melbourne (no small feat, as we Melbournians, are sooo spoilt in this area!). We sampled a few things on the menu, all yummy, but our favourite ended up being the porridge, so tasty and not one bit boring – as they tend to be. The service and staff are exceptional, so make sure you stop by, at least for a cup of coffee – and perhaps even a delicious cake. They are also open in the evenings on weekends – we have to come back and test it out – we had a mid-week stay.
We do enjoy a good pizza as well – and were very pleased with the pizza from Xpress Gourmet Pizza, they seem to be very popular with the locals as well, as there was plenty of take away customers all the time we were there.
Supporting local business is important, and the fish and chips from the family-run Hector’s Seafoods went down a treat – we did a take away as it is literally a minute away from the property. On par with our fave London Fish and chips!
What was the highlight of your Mornington Peninsula holidays?
For us, the highlight is always spending time together as a family. Since hubby lives overseas for work and we all lead busy lives in general, we want to be able to enjoy every minute we have together.
This is why we always book with Ocean Blue Retreats as we want everything to be perfect.
Being able to stay in a comfortable and well-kept property, where our dog can run around in the garden and is welcome inside as well is vital to us. Being used to be able to bring our dog to fancy hotels in Europe left us a bit disappointed when we moved to Australia, and we were so happy to find Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats for our Mornington Peninsula Holidays as it is exactly what we want it to be, clean and with a keen eye for details.
The booking process is always easy and seamless, and we always enjoy our stays very much. We are fortunate to be part of the Ambassador program since we are regular guests, and thus enjoy some extra perks, which we appreciate! Sian is always quick to respond to any queries and goes out of her way to make sure our stay is a great one.
We all love to do to different things during our stay, the property is close to the beach for my husbands runs and swims, and of course, for dog walks! Our dog is a real beach bum so going to the beach every morning for a walk and a swim is definitely the highlight of his day! The rest of the family also enjoy beautiful beach walks, but we equally enjoy sitting out on the deck reading a good book, having a glass of sparkling and just soaking up all that peace and quiet!
Local attractions or experiences
I always enjoy my interactions with the locals, everyone is very friendly and I have the most interesting conversations! This time, my love for Nora Jones (her cd playing in whilst I was waiting for my take away coffee) resulted in a chat with the barista, and as we talked we soon switched over to Swedish, we had both lived in Stockholm ages ago and we both enjoyed having a chat in a language we don’t normally speak that much ?
We have a rather rare dog breed – an English Setter – they are the most amazing dogs, both by nature and looks, and we often get asked if we know where to get one. Since we brought our dog over from Europe, we really don’t know any breeders here, but out walking in Blairgowrie we met this lovely gentleman, and it turns out his daughter just started breeding them! Not only did we have a lovely chat, we now know whom to recommend when we get these questions in the future. This area of the Peninsula is full of good things, truly!
When we visit, I always have to stop by the beautiful IGA in Blairgowrie, it is a small one, but oh so well stocked! A few years back I discovered my favourite hand cream there, from local Olieve & Olie, and I always have to stock up on it when I am there! I can buy it online of course, but Iove my little ritual of getting some each time I am there. Their other products are lovely, too! And the IGA even have Phillippa’s bread and pastries, YUM!
Nature is, of course, a big reason for going on a Mornington Peninsula Holidays in the first place, and the beaches are divine. We do love the bay beaches for our dog, we venture out to different ones, but as I mentioned, the fact that we can walk to the one down the street is a big plus. We also love to drive down to Portsea to the little cafe there by the beach for lunch (Portsea Pier General Store) and let the dog run the beach down there, before going to the wild and beautiful back beaches, where dogs are no longer allowed to roam.
The views at Koonya beach are so soothing, both from the car park and also down at the beach itself. Such a peaceful place! Saint Pauls Beach is another gem, very quiet and beautiful as well, not a lot of people know about this amazing place. I just love how you can be in the peaceful Bay beaches one minute, and in just a quick drive be at the more dramatic Back beaches, such a diverse landscape is such a small geographic area.
Other outstanding attractions or events.
Horseback riding at St Andrews beach is an experience I will never forget, Gunnamatta trail rides do an excellent job in providing a wonderful experience in a very beautiful area, with very calm and peaceful horses. It takes a little while to get to the beach, but once you are there, you never want to return to the stables, there is something quite magical about being in that environment on the back of a beautiful horse.
Another favourite to visit is the Cape Schank lighthouse. By now I have probably seen it in all sorts of weather and it is always a fresh experience! The views are amazing and I also enjoy walking the steps down to the beach to have a closer look at the Pulpit rock and the unique beach. The hikes in the area are also lovely.”