As a charming coastal suburb of Melbourne in the Mornington Peninsula, McCrae is a perfect weekend getaway for anyone who loves history, charming eateries and a beautiful beach atmosphere. If you love the sea and relaxation, you will find a perfect holiday spot in McCrae.
McCrae also has an ideal location, as it is nestled between Rosebud and Dromana on Port Phillip Bay. The city boasts its own coastal frontage, meaning that the beach here is secluded, safe and quiet, which is a welcome respite from the hubbub of nearby Melbourne. It is also just minutes from bigger travel hubs like Sorrento, so you can easily hop from city to city in the Mornington Peninsula for a varied beach holiday like none other.
By Matt Pruys
Many people looking for accommodation in the area love to make their home away from home along the shore, and who could blame them? McCrae Beach is regarded as one of the most stunning on Port Phillip Bay's shore, with many uncrowded spots to take an afternoon dip or sunbathe. Because of the position of the bay along the peninsula, the waters are smooth and tranquil, so this may not be the best spot for surfing, but it sure does draw in plenty of couples and families who simply want to relax.
McCrae Yacht Club
In addition to swimming and lounging, the calming waters and soft winds of McCrae make for excellent sailing adventures, and luckily the McCrae Yacht Club delivers on all levels. The club has been part of the community since the 1960s, and has since hosted several sailing programs, social activities, state, national and international championships and a variety of regattas. Today, it remains one of the most respected yacht clubs in all of Victoria, as it has hosted several club champions over the years. If you love the ocean, you are in good hands here.
Arthurs Seat State Park
If you want to spend a few hours further inland, lace up your boots and head to Arthurs Seat State Park. The 344-metre summit will offer you a great chance to fit in a little exercise while you are away, and there is no better place in the city to snap a picture or two of the shoreline. You also have 24-hour access to the park, so bringing a hot date up here with a sunset meal for two isn't out of the question.
The McCrae Eastern Lighthouse
One of the most impressive structures along Port Phillip Bay, the McCrae Eastern Lighthouse, is a must-visit for anyone planning on staying in the area. The steel edifice was assembled in England in 1874, then shipped to McCrae and erected in 1883. Today, it remains the largest building on mainland Victoria at 33.5 metres and features dioptric, catadioptric and holophotal lens systems. Although it helped guide sailors from Melbourne along Port Phillip Bay for decades, it is now a historic relic that has been placed on the Victorian Historic Buildings Register.
Any traveller who is a history buff will want to spend at least one day wandering through the McCrae Homestead. This beautiful home chronicles what life was like for people who lived here during the very beginning years in Victoria. There were two families that lived on the homestead, the McCraes and the Burrells, and they helped develop the hub into the coastal paradise that it is today from 1851 to 1925. Today, the homestead comes to life with guided tours, education services and filming and photography locations. One of the great-great-grandsons of the McCrae family sold the property to the National Trust in 1970, and it has been wowing visitors to the region ever since.
Food and Drink in McCrae
With the stellar fishing and viticultural options in the Mornington Peninsula, fine dining is practically a pastime, and no one does it better than McCrae. Whether you want a premium meal with all of the finer things or a simple pint and a plate of fish and chips, you can find it in the city.
Pavilion: This beautiful restaurant is located just opposite of the McCrae Lighthouse and Beach, and specialises in craft cocktails and luxury cuisine. Here you can feast on homestyle favorites like barracuda, roast chicken and gnocchi or spring for more delicate dishes like terrine, calamari, veal or snapper. Although some beachfront joints can be a bit tacky, the Pavilion knows how to create a perfect mix of maritime atmosphere with a hint of sophistication and class.
The Lighthouse Cafe: This stellar little cafe offers incredible Thai cuisine that could rival some of the best in the Mornington Peninsula. Everything from red curry, tamarind prawns, coconut rice and panang creations can be ordered here. Keep in mind that they do have a corkage fee, but it is totally worth it to be among the throngs of other diners who have full bellies and happy faces.