Catriona stays at a picture perfect bed & breakfast in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
The Mornington Peninsula has great beauty. It offers history, nature, wonderful scenery, beaches, wineries, gardens, dolphin watching and plenty of sporting activities.
Bittern, on the peninsula, was named after the shy wetland bird. Established around Warragine Creek, it is in significant areas of native bushland and dense coastal vegetation. It formed part of the 1860s Coolart pastoral run. The railway was put through in 1889 and commercial development began in the early 1900s, but the town failed to realise the hope of becoming a major service centre.
Bittern Summerfields Country House was established by Leon and Maxine Janssen. They were inspired by the beautiful coastal homes along the New England coast of North America. Their initial plan was to have somewhere beautiful for special occasions, but it soon evolved that people wanted to stay.
The American-style mansion stands at the end of a circular drive and blends beautifully with the local countryside. It overlooks an ornamental lake and is surrounded by 20ha of gardens and olive groves.
There are six suites, which accommodate up to 14 people. All have a style of their own. The Wilshire suite has two spacious rooms and ensuite with antique clawfoot bath. The Cape May suite has a delightful four-poster bed, the Biltmore suite has a king-size bed and the Huntington suite has two bedrooms, one queen and one with two singles.
The Madison suite and the Attic both have queen beds. All have ensuite facilities and three have spa or bath. A conference room is available and there is an in-house masseuse.
English breakfast and afternoon tea are served in the sun-filled conservatory or outdoors. The Janssens use much home-grown produce, such as raspberries, strawberries, pickles and olives. Dinner can be arranged for those wishing to dine in and there are barbecue facilities. There is a choice of restaurants just minutes away.
The lake is stocked with trout and bass, there is a tennis court and nature walks where you can observe plenty of bird life, including swans and native ducks.
It’s an easy drive to tranquil beachside villages and the rugged coastal scenery of Cape Schanck and Port Phillip Heads. The beautiful and winding coastal ride to Sorrento and Portsea takes you through many vineyards with cellar door sales.