Rent a car at Melbourne airport and you could be in the Mornington Peninsula in just under an hour and a half – and then the fun really starts. The exciting Mornington shire is a playground for travellers wanting to pack a variety of weekend activities into their road trip without driving too far; it only takes about an hour to go from one end of the peninsula to the other!

But don’t just take our word for it. Use our handy activities guide below to plan your weekend in this awesome place.

1. Royal Botanic Gardens – Cranbourne

Just at the edge of the Mornington Peninsula you’ll find Cranbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. This free-to-enter attraction is famous for its beautiful walks, with over 300 TripAdvisor reviewers positively gushing about the experience. There are six walking tracks of varying length here at Cranbourne, taking you through some seriously Instagram-worthy heathland, wetland and woodland. There’s also a 6-kilometre bicycle trail if you brought the bikes along, and a designated wading area in the form of the Rockpool Waterway for kids to splash around in.

And like all the best botanical gardens, if you get a bit peckish wandering so much, you can always pop into the Boon Wurrung Cafe and refuel before moving on.

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2018 Conference speaker Kate Cullity was described by The Garden Design Journal (UK) as Australia’s leading landscape architect. Her love of plants and art distinguish her work and help celebrate wonderful projects like the Redevelopment of North Terrace and Victoria Square in Adelaide and The Australian Garden at Cranbourne (pictured here). But it is her practice’s (@tcl_studio) waterfront projects, parks and outback cultural, international garden festival and environmental projects, which exemplify how succerssfully she invests places with meaning and cultural significance. #TCLstudio #KateCullity #gardendesign #TheAustralianGardenCranbourne #landscapedesign

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2. Enchanted Adventure Garden Now take your rental car about 45 minutes south and be amazed at Enchanted Adventure Garden. Unlike its relaxing botanic counterpart, Enchanted Adventure Garden is about excitement and challenging yourself. The main highlight here is definitely the garden’s three hedge mazes, filled with hidden sights and brain-bending puzzles. For those seeking a little speed, there are also six fantastic tube slides – even better, visitors get unlimited rides with the standard admission ticket! If you’ve got the energy, send the kids to try out the Bush Adventure Scramble obstacle course while you get some much-earned tranquillity in the Canopy Walk.

3. Fort Nepean Now it’s time for a little history. Around 50 minutes from Enchanted Adventure Garden sits the centuries-old Fort Nepean. Built back in the 1880s, this structure was once the most heavily armed installation in the Port Phillip area. In fact, Parks Victoria claims that the first British Empire shots of WWI and the first Aussie shots of WWII were fired from this very location. As a visitor in the 21st century, you’ll find about an hour’s worth of exploring here at Fort Nepean, accompanied by an insightful 11-minute downloadable audio tour.

4. Moonah Links Golf Club Just 40 minutes back up the road is the Moonah Links Golf Club: a world-class facility featuring two of the best 18-hole courses in Australia. The Legends Course is about 6 kilometres long, designed as a tribute to past golfing champions. It’s beginner friendly, so tee up for a pleasant 18- or 9-hole game. Those of you looking for an extra challenge should consider taking on the Open Course. Its website profile states that its the longest golf course in Australia, and is a “ferocious test” of golfing ability. And look – if golf isn’t your thing, you can always pop to the Moonah Day Spa just next door and indulge in a massage or hot stone treatment.

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Open course of Moonah Links

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5. Polperro Wines A long day of golfing, exploring or climbing deserves a bit of wine, right? Polperro is considered one of the finest wineries in the region, and it even has its own accommodation to boot. The Polperro Bistro – open late on Fridays and Saturdays – has fantastic views of the winery’s 25-acre property, and offers a sumptuous menu featuring an ever-changing range made from local seasonal harvests. When your stomachs are all full, Polperro has four gorgeous studio apartments available for overnight or weekend stays, or longer on request.

If this sounds like the weekend road trip for you, get in touch with East Coast Car Rentals today to get started!