An easy one hour drive from Melbourne CBD (15 minutes longer if coming from the airport), Mornington Peninsula is a compact area with a diverse array of activities, ticking lots of boxes for a perfect holiday destination – beautiful beaches, renowned restaurants and vineyards, a thriving art scene, thermal springs, pristine national parks and sporting and adventure activities for those that can muster the energy. My first home swap experience exceeded expectations and landed us in Arthurs Seat, perched on a hilltop with stunning views of Port Phillip Bay. A well-positioned base for exploring the area, we cracked through a lot of the recommendations kindly and expertly put together by our host. View my best food, wine and other picks from the area. Visit Mornington Peninsula.
Waiheke Island is a paradise only 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, New Zealand, with world class restaurants, vineyards, stunning beaches, great coffee and gelato, art galleries and jaw-dropping landscapes. Big shout out to my sister who has been relentless and persuasive in recommending Waiheke as the perfect holiday destination. I completely understand why this island holds such a special place in her heart. Tried so far and loved: The Oyster Inn, Cable Bay Vineyard, Mudbrick Restaurant and Vineyard, Man O War Vineyard, Solar Eating House. There are many more places on my list that we will be visiting during our stay but the one I’m most hyped about (everyone we’ve spoken to here raves about it) is the Sunday Italian long lunch at Poderi Crisci vineyard where they have a saying “There is always plenty more thyme in the garden, and there is always another ferry.” Arrive, sit, eat, drink, take in the beauty of the place and you’ll devour a feast of the chef’s choice which changes weekly. The island has accommodation to suit all budgets. Put this magical place (recently voted as one of the world’s best islands) on your travel list now.