In Travel

Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula: Inside The Food, Wine And Wellness Mecca

Being greeted by a seven-metre sculpture of a mythical horned beast may not sound like the most charming start to a luxurious vineyard-side getaway, but contrasting dichotomies are the name of the game at Jackalope in the Mornington Peninsula.

The property is located on an 11-hectare vineyard and was designed by Australia’s renowned Carr Design Group. Jackalope straddles the “ideal and the surreal” – something evident in its design and surrounding landscape. The hotel is known for its hand-curated installations and collaborations with some of Australia’s best designers. Gastronomy and viticulture is also foregrounded so foodies, wine aficionados and those looking to simply relax needn’t look any further.

The rooms


Image: Jackalope Mornington Peninsula / supplied

Jackalope boasts just designer ‘dens’ on its grounds, assuring that intimacy and hospitality reign king. Three tiers of lodging is offered, including private terrace rooms, west-facing sunset rooms, and luxurious lairs. The property’s signature suites boast terraces, indoor-outdoor fireplaces, dining tables, and even personal wine cellars.

All rooms are equipped with plush king-size beds, complimentary mini-bars stocked with local beverages, handcrafted chocolates, and savoury snacks. Massive Japanese black stone bathtubs sit in the center of every accommodation, equipped with exfoliating sea salts and a variety of preloaded on-demand movies on the nearby flat screens.

The spa and fitness facilities

Guests looking to indulge self-care can book one of Jackalope’s transformative treatments, including massages, facials, and other various forms of body care, including 60 to 240-minute curated ‘body treats.’ Fully bask in the property’s vineyard ambiance with the wine-focused body treat, which incorporates pinot grape foot immersions and body scrubs, a relaxation massage, and various other moisturising treatments.

And for guests who simply can’t handle the thought of leaving their luxury lair? No sweat – treatment specialists will happily offer service within the comfort of your own room.

If fitness is top of your agenda, never fear for Jackalope’s got you covered. Although there aren’t any dedicated fitness facilities, guests can swimming laps in the 30-meter-long infinity pool to break a sweat. If running’s more your thing, try running around the vineyard’s perimeter trail. For lower-key workouts, a variety of pre-recorded high-intensity circuits and room workout sessions are available via on-demand room entertainment with the simple touch of a button.

The bar


Image: Jackalope Mornington Peninsula / supplied

Jackalope’s booze mecca, Flaggerdoot Cocktail Lounge, contrasts antiquity with modernity. Situated inside the property’s original McCormick House, the former homestead boasts a contemporary take on modern mixology, while simultaneously reminding visitors of the estate’s rich history.

The bar was designed with a chemist’s lair in mind, holding fast to the alchemy connection of craft cocktail creation and the hotel’s overarching theme. Sleek barware and an array of garnishes, syrups, and colorful mixers line the perimeter of the bar station, though its most impressive attribute are the 10,000 illuminated golden bulbs situated above.

The restaurants


Image: Jackalope Mornington Peninsula / supplied

Jackalope features two on-site restaurants, Rare Hare and Doot Doot Doot. The former, often referred to as the winery restaurant, accommodates 90 ‘tails’ at a time, offers breathtaking views of budding vines and the iconic Jackalope statue itself. Ingredients are sourced from local farms, used to create small plates and larger entrées prepared in the massive wood-fired oven, washed down with wine produced on-site.

At Doot Doot Doot, executive chef Guy Stanaway dishes up innovative takes on classic cuisine. Sip on an array of local Mornington wines paired with a curated five-course menu, all while overlooking Willow Creek’s vines. For light bites al fresco, guests can head to the private pool deck, complete with vineyard views and an array of outdoor seating.

The vineyard


Image: Jackalope Mornington Peninsula / supplied

Jackalope is ideally situated on a stunning 11-hectare vineyard planted with 30-year-old vines, deeply rooted into the Peninsula’s rich volcanic soils. Willow Creek Vineyard’s particularly cool microclimate makes it the perfect place to cultivate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as smatterings of Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

Vinifications are executed by Geraldine McFaul, an outspoken pioneer of single-vineyard bottlings within the region. Guests can choose to imbibe on the wines at either of the property’s dining establishments, as well as purchase them for takeaway at Rare Hare; after all winemaking itself is a serious focus at the heart of the estate.

The nearby activities


Image: Jackalope Mornington Peninsula / supplied

Once settled into Jackalope, the need to explore generally seems to suddenly disappear. However, for those with an insatiable curiosity, the hotel’s location is perfect for checking out neighbouring sun-soaked beaches, wineries, and a slew of other outdoor excursions.

With 50 wineries and restaurants, 20 golf courses, two local sculpture galleries, and a handful of hot springs, parks, and surf-centered beaches, finding an off-site afternoon activity is rather simple, no matter what type of traveller you may be.

(Lead image: Jackalope / supplied)

Published 10 June, 2019