Summer is bustling on the Peninsula; it’s the season our seaside communities really come into their own, offering up so many things to do and places to go. Here are our top picks for nearby events taking place over the next few weeks.

Emu Plains twilight market

Once a month for half the year, Emu Plains Market takes place in Balnarring’s Emu Plains Reserve, combining a festival feel and country-style charm against a scenic backdrop of stringybark trees. The brainchild of Peninsula locals Vanessa and Joel Johnson, Emu Plains Market was born from their love of shopping at local markets.

When my husband and I moved to Somers in 2008 we adored going to the Balnarring Racecourse Market,” Vanessa says. “When it closed down in February of 2012, we were devastated!” After volunteering to organise the Somers Winter Market, Vanessa was inspired to launch her own bazaar. Now in its seventh year, Emu Plains Market has tripled in size. A twilight edition next weekend will feature more than 200 highly curated stallholders from the region and beyond, selling everything from homespun fashion and beauty products, to one-off homewares, art designs, and locally grown produce. Food vendors such as Native Eats, Perla Tacos and Mushiki Dumplings will be open for business, so visitors can settle in for a picnic while being serenaded by musos Sam O’Connell and Ben Whiting.

Saturday, January 19, 3 - 8pm. Free entry, $4 parking. Emu Plains Reserve, Coolart Road, Balnarring. 

Farm visits at Green Olive

For Sue O’Donoghue, being able to enjoy a close-to-nature lifestyle is what makes the Mornington Peninsula a great place to live and work.“It’s an outdoor-loving, relaxed community,” she says. “It’s a lovely thing to be able to share with others.”Sharing with others is exactly what Sue and her husband Greg have done for nearly two decades, as the owners of family-run farm, vineyard and kitchen, Green Olive at Red Hill. “Green Olive at Red Hill is about a whole farm experience, so we try to share the farm in different ways with different groups of people,” she explains.

“During the school holidays, we like to promote a few extra activities that give children the opportunity to get outside, be on a farm and enjoy the fresh air.”

One such activity is ‘Meet the Animals’, where little ones can feed the resident chooks and collect eggs, meet Pisa the Maremma sheepdog, and pat Gracie the Shetland pony. Entry is free, but a gold coin donation to support Riding for the Disabled Mornington Peninsula is encouraged.

Other kid-friendly events include pizza making classes, cupcake baking, and juggling lessons where children craft their own juggling balls. All run for approximately an hour and cost $12 each. From January 14 to 25, various times. 1180 Mornington Flinders Road, Main Ridge.

For more information, visit Email to book a place.


Peninsula Summer Music Festival

For arts and culture buffs, the Peninsula Summer Music Festival is a January fixture, with classical concerts taking place at venues across the region for two weeks every year.

This year’s program wraps up on Sunday but there are still several shows available. Over at the Peninsula Hot Springs’ Amphitheatre pools, visitors can soak up Bach and Mendelssohn compositions as well as a spa session when the festival’s string quartet presents “Bach and Bathe”.

In Flinders on Saturday, Jane Davidson directs pianist Francis Greep and special guests in “Fairy Tales in Opera”. The show will explore folklore through arias, telling the stories of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and three-act chamber opera Albert Herring.

And the festival draws to a close with free family-friendly event, Pelican Park Promenade. Beginning at 3pm and continuing through the evening, this final concert features several performances in different locations throughout Hastings’ Pelican Park. Visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic and stay awhile. Arrive a little early and you can meet the festival’s artistic director, Ben Opie, at 2.30pm.

The Peninsula Summer Music Festival concludes on Sunday, January 13. Various locations, times and prices. For more information, visit


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