Sorrento: The Mornington Peninsula’s Mellow Retreat

Even though its name and location on the Mornington Peninsula are well known, very little else is known about Sorrento. Sorrento is a popular summer tourist destination, but even few Victorians know just how significant this peaceful town is in Australian history.

Ask a Victorian where the oldest settlement in Victoria is located and they will probably take a stab and say “Melbourne.” They are close, but still far away. Actually, Sorrento is the site of Victoria’s first settlement. Back in 1803, the first settlers chose Eastern Sister, a point at the southern end of Sorrento’s crescent shaped bay, as their home.

Unlike Melbourne, which once settled grew at a frantic pace, Sorrento was left to mature at a more leisurely rate. The first hotels weren’t even built there until the 1870s and the best examples of them, like the wonderful limestone construction of the Continental Hotel, are still standing and still serving patrons today. This and other examples of 19th century architecture are just one of the reasons why a visit to Sorrento is so enjoyable.

A refined and sophisticated community, Sorrento has a traditional charm about it. The Sorrento foreshore is an example of this. Unlike so many beaches that are backed by highrise hotels or rows of houses and shops, the wide Sorrento foreshore is lined with grass and trees. Whether you go there to swim or to stroll, it is a pleasure to while away a day on the beach in Sorrento.

Two good reasons for visiting Sorrento are that not only is it one of the finest suburbs on the Mornington Peninsula, it is the perfect jumping off point for exploring the rest of the peninsula and beyond. Centrally located between all of the peninsula’s charming suburbs, it is also where you can catch the vehicle and passenger ferry and cross over to Queenscliff and the Great Ocean Road.

One of the biggest tourist drawcards in Sorrento is located offshore. Bottlenose dolphins can be found in abundance: view them from shore or take a dolphin viewing excursion. For that matter, you can even dive in the water and play with them if you want to.

Back on land, you can tour the Mornington Peninsula in style from Sorrento. Imagine taking to the road in the sidecar of a vintage Harley Davidson, your tour guide being a local who knows all about the history and attractions of the peninsula.

The Mornington Peninsula becomes very narrow by the time it reaches Sorrento. If you love to be near the sea, this makes Sorrento an ideal place for you to stay. On the bay side is the tranquil Front Beach: perfect for a relaxing day in the sun. Just minutes away, on the opposite side of the peninsula, is Sorrento’s Back Beach. Back Beach is on the wild, windswept Bass Strait coast and is perfect for adventurers and lovers of the outdoors.

Sorrento is close enough to Melbourne that you can make it a short day trip, but that’s not the best way to do it. By the end of the day, you will wish you had booked a Sorrento accommodation. Do yourself a favour and make a reservation before you go. This way, you will be sure to have your accommodation waiting for you when you arrive.