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Mornington is a popular seaside town only an hours drive from Melbourne's CBD making it a perfect day trip destination. The main street is a buzz with coffee shops, homewares stores, fashion boutiques, hair salons and restaurants. However there is plenty to do that doesn't cost a cent. Here are 10 free things to do in Mornington.
1. Walk along Mills Beach All the locals know and love Mills Beach. In summer you will need to arrive early to get a prime parking spot but at the moment it's a great time to go for a stroll and soak up some winter/spring sunshine. Mills Beach is home to the Mornington life saving club, plenty of colorful beach boxes and the surrounding homes are some of Mornington's most expensive.
2. Mornington Main St Festival is an annual food, wine and performing arts event that is perfect for the entire family. This years events will be held on Sunday 19th of October from 11am - 5pm on the closed off Main St ( centre of Mornington). This event grows every year and is sure to be bigger and better so make sure you get in early. There are no entry or parking fees and there is usually a few freebies for the kids. For more information click here.
3. Self guided Heritage walking tour: Why not delve a little deeper into the history of Mornington by following the heritage walking tour. It's always interesting to stop and look at the things that would usually go unnoticed. To read more about the heritage walking tour click here.
4. Mornington Rose Garden is home to 250 varieties of roses, 4,000 rose bushes all on a 4 acre lot on the corner of Morninton- Tyabb Rd and Dunns Rd Mornington. The garden has a large rotunda, 86 garden beds, lush lawn areas for picnicking, a platform overlooking the garden and car park adjacent to the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery. Nearby to the garden is a large pond with ducks and geese to feed, a skate park and playground. The gardens are at their best from late October with the roses in full bloom. For more information on the gardens click here.
5. Cliff top walk from Mornington to Mt Martha: Starting from Mornington Park follow the footpath (waterside) along the esplanade and continue past the roundabout at Barkley St past the Lilo cafe where the footpath turns into a trail and follow it all the way until the trail comes out at Helena St,at which point you will need to cross over the Esplanade and follow the footpath into Mt Martha. The trail is an easy grade and covers 6km one way. Views are lovely and dogs are permitted on leash. If you want to make the walk longer you could incorporate the Balcombe Estuary boardwalk to The Briars.
6. Wednesday Main St Market: Main St market is a Mornington institution with the market being held every Wednesday since 1983 (31 years) from 8am - 3pm. The market stallholders sell handmade crafts, home baked cooking, plants, fruit and veg, hot food and more.
7. Mornington Library: Is a great spot to visit. You can stop in to listen to one of the many authors offering their knowledge, read the daily newspapes, hire a book/dvd, use one of the many computers or chill out on a bean bag in the kids zone which is also equipped with video games for the youngsters. Story time is fun for children and each age group is catered for with 0 - 9 months Born to Read 30 minute rhymes session, Tiny Tots under 3's session on Thursdays at 11am and 3-5 years Preschool story and craft time on Wednesday at 11am.
8. Kids Day In the Park (a part of children's week): Is a free annual event for preschoolers and toddlers held at the Mornington Park. This years event will be held on the 22nd of October and will have all of the local kindergartens setting up activities along with a Bunnings planting station, Toy library, music, fire brigade and police vehicles visiting, an animal farm and much more. I suggest packing a picnic and getting a few friends together to enjoy the day out. For more information click here.
9. Stroll to the pier: Although the pier is under reconstruction at the moment and has been for some time it's still nice to walk along Schnapper point ( near Mornington Park) , up and down the stairs along the cliff with spectacular views toward The Heads, Arthurs Seat, Melbourne and Mt Eliza. Follow the path down to the pier past the Rocks restaurant and boat ramp, along Mothers beach and back up to the Mornington Park.
10. Farmers Market: The Mornington Farmers market has the best backdrop of the many markets I have visited with the market being held at the Mornington Park overlooking Mothers Beach. The market is held on the second Saturday of the month. A gold coin donation is required but 100% goes to a local community group that will benefit from the day.