Looking for your next vineyard vacation but you’ve already done Napa, Burgundy and Tuscany? Check out the Mornington Peninsula in Australia, just an hour south of Melbourne. Here, a relative newbie, the Willow Creek Vineyard — planted in 1989 — is making a name for itself.
In April, the Jackalope Hotel opened on the grounds. The ultra-modern hotel has 46 rooms with deep-soak Japanese tubs, rain showers, double vanities and bath luxuries by Melbourne’s Hunter Lab. The luxury amenities include a pinot grape skin and seed bath soak and body scrub made from the hotel’s vineyard. Room categories include: Terrace, Vineyard, Dens (studios with private terraces) and Lairs (signature suites), ranging from 409 square feet to 914 square feet.
Outside is a 98-foot black infinity pool. Guests can lounge on the poolside pavilion or, if they choose, sign up for massage treatments or private dining here.
Good to know: Both Lairs and Vineyard rooms overlook the vineyards. Lairs have loft ceilings, a 320-square-foot terrace, a double-sided indoor / outdoor fireplace, a kitchenette with seating for six, a cocktail bar and a personal wine cellar.
The winemaker, Geraldine McFaul, hosts wine tastings in the barrel room and private tours of the vineyard. Wine offerings continue into the three eateries: Doot Doot Doot, the upscale dining venue serving contemporary Australian fare by Executive Chef Guy Stanaway; Flaggerdoot, the bar located in the original property owner’s house (built in 1876) with a rotation of art commissions and installations; and Rare Hare, a casual eatery with a wine bar and produce store.
The family-friendly (although not pet-friendly) hotel also observes a number of green practices.
Note: The Jackalope Hotel harvests all of its rainwater, treats all waste onsite, receives energy from solar panels, maintains a 9,700-square-foot garden and orchard, and has developed a zero-waste system in partnership with Closed Loop for the entire site.
Off site, there are 50 cellar doors and restaurants dotting the landscape around the vineyards. There are also 20 golf courses, two coastlines offering surfing spots, natural springs and several national parks.
The best way to get to the area is via Melbourne Airport, from where the hotel offers car service. Contact Group General Manager Tracy Atherton (011-61-359-312-515).