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The Mornington Peninsula circles the southeastern half of Port Phillip Bay. A much larger piece of land than it first appears, the peninsula is lapped by water on three sides and measures about 65 km (40 miles) by 35 km (22 miles). Along the bay’s coast is a string of seaside villages stretching from the larger towns of Frankston and Mornington to the summer holiday towns of Mount Martha,
Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento, and Portsea (which has one of the most dramatic—and hazardous—beaches in the region). On the Western Port Bay side the smaller settlements of Flinders, Somers, and Hastings have quieter beaches without the crowds.
Together with Main Ridge and Merricks, Red Hill is one of the state's premium producers of cool-climate wines, particularly Pinot Noir and Shiraz. The majority of the peninsula's 60 wineries are clustered around Red Hill and Red Hill South; however, there are another dozen or more dotted around areas farther north, including Moorooduc, Dromana, and Mount Martha. For an afternoon of fine wine, excellent seafood, and spectacular coastal views, plan a route that winds between vineyards. Red Hill has a busy produce-and-crafts market, which has been operating for decades and shows no signs of abating. It's held on the first Saturday morning of each month from September to May. A good website for getting all the lowdown on peninsular wineries is www.visitmorningtonvineyards.com.