Remember Tina Arena’s hit song from 1994 called Sorrento Moon? Do you remember the lyrics? “I remember how it all came true, it was oh so tender, I was lost with you… by the sweet sorrento moon”. Melbourne born Tina Arena sure knew what she was singing about. In fact the song was written about Tina’s teenage memories, spending time with her family in Sorrento each summer. The video clip was partly filmed along the back beach. The song was about her fond memories, of young love and allowing herself to get swept away by all her emotions. Walking along Ocean Beach Road or enjoying one of the many pristine beaches, it isn’t difficult to see why her young heart felt so buoyant and free.
Sorrento is a picture perfect town about a 1 and a 1/2 hours drive south of Victoria’s capital city Melbourne, situated toward the end of the Mornington Peninsula. During the warmer months Sorrento is beautiful seaside resort area, and hot spot for city siders, but during the rest of the year it is a wonderful and quiet little seaside township. Driving down along the coast road from Sandringham is recommended. The gorgeous waters of Port Melbourne Bay provide you with a focal point as you make your way down the coastline. As you reach Mordialloc, turn right at the round-a-bout and join the Nepean Highway. As you pass through Mount Eliza, you will want to turn right at Mornington onto Main Street. Once you reach the round-a-bout, turn left onto the Esplanade and continue down the coast, all the way until you reach Sorrento.
As you come into Sorrento you will see the pretty foreshore to your right that opens up onto Port Phillip Bay. Keep on driving until the road turns to the left and you start to climb a hill. Welcome to the heart of Sorrento, also known as Ocean Beach Road. As you reach the top of the incline you will start to see the beautiful historical limestone buildings. Galleries, cafes, fresh food market, cinema, fine Italian restaurants, clothing stores and great knick knacks. A little bit of everything for you to enjoy having a look at.
There is so much history in Sorrento. In fact Sorrento was the site of Victoria’s first official European settlement, which was established by Lieutenant Colonel David Collins in 1803. There is a monument that honours this historic event, which is located along Leggett Way, not far past Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron. The Museum on Melbourne Road (turn left at top end of Ocean Beach Road) houses great information regarding the First Settlement, the Quarantine Station and local Shipwrecks. The first settlement site overlooking Sullivan Bay includes graves believed to be of first settlers. The museum only charges $5.00 per adult for entry, not bad to read all about the areas intriguing past.
Its not just the history that brings visitors from not just across the state, but from all over Australia. Beautiful bottle nose dolphins and pelicans can be spotted from the foreshore, rare, but it does in fact happen. Moon Raker Charters situated at the end of the Esplanade, near the pier offer great dolphin and seal tours. They are so good they have actually won lots of state and country based awards for excellence in service, such as both the 2012 and 2013 Victorian Tourism Awards. Marine Environment awards, 2013 Australian Tourism Awards and the 2013 Victorian Tourism Award. Not bad! Check out what they have to offer for a fun filled adventure.
If you continue a little further along the coast you will come along the Portsea National Park. Another great source of great history relating to the area. Drive along the dusty road and explore the military forts and tunnels. Discover the historic Quarantine Station, view the memorial erected where Prime Minister Harold Holt went missing and enjoy the beautiful coastal surrounds. Fort Pearce and Fort Nepean are situated furthermost along the road. I visited Alcatraz in San Francisco a few years ago and I have to say, our government has taken much better care of our historical buildings than they have! The park is open everyday, there is an information centre that is open 10am – 5pm each day. You really need to see these places, they are amazing and only a short drive from the Sorrento town centre.
Sorrento is simply lovely. The perfect place to visit with a loved one. Stay a weekend, stay a week? You will be fall in love with the area just as much as I have. I still cannot believe we have such great places to visit in Australia, and such an easy relaxing drive from Melbourne. Coming to Melbourne…why not visit Sorrento? There is a Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry available for those travelling along the Great Ocean Road or near Geelong. Enjoy a laid-back vacation browsing antiques and boutiques. Wander the limestone shopfronts for beach and city clothes, furniture and homewares, artworks, jewellery and maritime keepsakes. Take a walk along the Sorrento-Portsea Artists Trail and see the views as they were captured by renowned local and international artists.
There is so much to see and do in Sorrento, see for yourself why I have visited the area several times since I moved to Melbourne. It will be worth it. Book a holiday for you and your loved one and be pampered. Enjoy the outdoors, sip a glass of wine in one of the local restaurants or cafes and simply unwind….you wont be disappointed. As Tina Arena sang “We let ourselves get swept away, it’s true baby, we held heaven in our hands for days”
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