Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Big Blue Backyard

Rates from (inc tax)$413.50

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21AUD), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Out of Africa


Amid the tea trees

At Big Blue Backyard, you’ll breakfast like royalty, bathe like pampered wildebeest in the outside spa baths, and sleep very, very well in the three suite’s big beds. Owner Lisa is warm and welcoming; her partner Paul is an expert chef.


Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of bubbly, chilled on arrival


Photos Big Blue Backyard – Mornington Peninsula – Australia

Need to know


Just three suites.


11am; earliest check-in, 3pm (both are flexible, subject to availability, and no charges apply). Let Lisa know your ETA, so she can be there to welcome you.


Double rooms from $413.50 (AU$541), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD595.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast; daily replenished goodies are laid out in your hideaway for you to enjoy when you please. Help yourself to the soft-drinks minibar in your suite. Rates exclude a 1.43 per cent surcharge for all credit-card payments.


You’re here to relax, so if an aching muscle is getting in the way, speak to Lisa: she can organise a visit from a nimble-knuckled local masseuse. Book ahead for guaranteed pampering. Meals are all-inclusive, but for an additional charge, you can have an even more romantic meal brought to your door – to enhance the experience, staff can attach love notes to balloons and set them free in your hideaway.

Hotel closed

Every Wednesday and Thursday night from April to December, inclusive.

At the hotel

Beach, stash of CDs and DVDs, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD player, DVD player, radio, iPod dock, minibar, Olieve & Olie bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Being suckers for nautical niceness (especially when the sea's in reach), we lost our hearts to Beach: a serene blue-and-white suite with driftwood furniture (designed by clever owner Paul), pebbles in jars, aquamarine mosaic tiles and a rudder on the wall. A close second is exotic Dunes, which has antique furnishings and warm hues, and an open-air spa tub on an expansive deck.


No main pool, but each suite has a two-person spa bath on its private deck, so you can bubble away happily outside, whatever the season. You’re just steps away from St Andrews beach, too.

Packing tips

The National Park is on your doorstep, so bring trainers and explore it. Remember a notebook so you can jot down what you eat: you’ll be wanting to recreate those breakfasts back home.


Smokers can puff away happily on their suite's private deck.


Romantic? Yes. Secluded? Absolutely. Child-friendly? Eh, not so much.

Food and Drink

Photos Big Blue Backyard – Mornington Peninsula – Australia

Top Table

Dinner is served on your private deck, with flickering candles and the tea trees as a backdrop. If it's cold or rainy, a table can be set up in your hideaway. Breakfast is set in your suite, so stay in bed (but watch for crumbs in the sheets).

Dress Code

Pyjamas for breakfast; whatever the heck you like for dinner.

Hotel restaurant

Owner Paul is a chef who has cooked his way around the globe (if you ever need a five-star bush kitchen in Zululand, or a Peloponnese feast, he’s your man). Expect big, delicious portions, showcasing the best local produce. Past crowd-pleasers include: prawns cooked with lime, chilli and coconut milk; beef with Madagascan pepper sauce, and soft-centred chocolate pudding. There's no formal restaurant; instead, breakfast is a selection of gourmet goodies laid out in your hideaway, including home-made, wheat-free granola, locally baked ciabatta, Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and daily changing specials (roast-vegetable frittata, vodka-cured salmon with avocado and pesto crème fraiche, or spinach and feta pies). Items are replenished daily between 12 noon and 2pm. At additional cost, a romantic dinner can be brought to your door (just let Lisa know any dietary requirements before you arrive). 

Hotel bar

No bar, but you can order wine from the short, yet carefully curated, wine list (or stock up on a bottle or three at the top-notch local vineyards). A local brewery and wine shop are 12 kilometres away.


Last orders

Breakfast is available at any time – just help yourself to the delicious bits and bobs in your hideaway and minibar fridge. Private dinners are served in suites between 6pm and 9pm.

Room service

All meal's are brought to your room; just remember: if you want something for your stay, you’ll need to order it online pre-arrival.


Photos Big Blue Backyard – Mornington Peninsula – Australia
Big Blue Backyard
56 Paradise Drive
St. Andrews Beach


Fly into Melbourne's international airport (, north-west of the city at Tullamarine. From here you can pick up a hire car for the drive to Mornington Peninsula.


It’s a great idea to drive here, so you can explore the Great Ocean Road, which lives up to its name with sweeping sea views and just-off-the-road beaches. Melbourne is 123km away. When you draw close, keep your eyes peeled for the sign: Big Blue Backyard is on a quiet, unassuming residential street, and it's very easy to miss the small gap in the trees with the Big Blue sign. Each hideaway has a secure parking spot for one car, but those riding in a four-wheel drive may find them a tight squeeze.

Worth getting out of bed for

Follow the stones on the ground marked with blue arrows: they lead down to the beach, through the National Park (if you need beach towels, grab some from the basket on the deck by the main house). Like the idea of sharing seawater with Australian Fur seals and Bottlenose dolphins? Head to Port Philip Bay and book a session with Polperro Dolphin Swims (; +61 (0)3 5988 8437). Golf more your bag? Tee off at The Dunes ( an 18-hole sprawl of green coastal sand hills in the Cups region of the Mornington Peninsula. Take your sweet tooth to Mornington Peninsular Chocolates (; +61 (0)3 5984 0416) and sample confections worthy of Willy W: blood orange tonka, fleur de sel, freezing mint, grignotine ivory, grapefruit ganache, passion jelly and so on. For the best night’s sleep of your life, book your bathing session at the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs (; +61 (0)3 5950 8777); for pimped-out tubbing, book a private bath. Have a day on horseback and drink some darn good wine with Horseback Winery Tours (; +61 (0)3 5989 6119); you’ll go galloping (or trotting gently, if you prefer) through the National Park’s coastal bush, and then reward your exertions at some cellar doors. Taste some delicious creamy blues at Main Ridge Dairy (; +61 (0)3 5989 6622), the area’s only large commercial dairy; drink top-notch brews at Red Hill Brewery (; +61 (0)3 5989 2959). Walk around the historic Port Nepean National Park (, right at the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, with sweeping views of Port Phillip Bay, Bass Strait and the Rip.

Local restaurants

Go for a long lunch at Monalto, a family-run vineyard and restaurant at 33 Shoreham Road in Red Hill with a chef’s hat, and set in natural wetlands decorated with contemporary sculpture (; +61 (0)3 5989 8412). Indulge in a wine and olive oil tasting while you’re here, then go on a ramble in the gardens. There’s even an annual sculpture competition here, with sculptors from all over the world participating. Feast on oysters and Asian-inspired tapas at Steam, on Point Nepean Road in Rye (; +61 (0)3 5985 7700). Food is fresh and delicious; the mood, relaxed. Craving tacos, guacamole and excellent margaritas? Pay Baha – also on Point Nepean Road - a visit (; +61 (0)3 5985 2077); if you’re lucky, your meal will be accompanied by live music.



Photos Big Blue Backyard – Mornington Peninsula – Australia

Anonymous review

I haven’t exactly been the most committed partner of late (blame an intense few weeks of non-stop work and a ridiculously hectic overseas junket). Some much-needed quality time with Mrs Smith is long overdue – and the Mornington Peninsula, near Melbourne, is our chosen destination.

A friendly face appears from the tea trees as we pull into the driveway of the Big Blue Backyard. Lisa, our host and co-owner of BBB, together with her bounding Blue Heeler, leads us along a winding path to one of the three secluded hideaways. After showing us through our charming African-themed sanctuary –and the easiest check-in ever – Lisa leaves us to the business of unwinding.

Our African-themed room is instantly intriguing and we pore over the carefully selected masks, beaded sculptures and textiles, continually discovering new details such as the painted tables and chairs and hand-stained floor patterns. The interior hits just the right balance of kitsch and culture, and with the Australian bush outlook we feel immediately comfortable in our uniquely tribal yet rustic surrounds.

An outdoor double spa beckons on our private deck, but before we enjoy a long soak we work our way through an episode or three of a British TV series from the room’s DVD collection. As night sets in, we languish in the tub, lit only by candlelight, with the breeze whipping through the tea trees, and I rejoice in the Brownie points accruing by the minute.

We emerge from our tub just in time for the candlelit three-course meal that I’ve pre-arranged to be served in our room (more Brownie points – thank you BBB!). Mrs Smith selects some appropriate African tunes from the CD collection and opens a bottle of Mornington Peninsula pinot grigio from our well-stocked minibar. We later find out that Big Blue Backyard’s owners spent several years working at a local vineyard while building the hotel, so their knowledge of the many nearby wineries is exceptional. Lisa brings out tray after tray of the seasonal ‘chef’s dinner’, prepared by her partner Paul. We start with an entrée of duck and pistachio terrine, move on to a brilliantly cooked and sliced steak in a tasty jous, and end on a white chocolate panna cotta with raspberries. Despite Lisa timing the delivery of each course to perfection, we are absolutely stuffed. The only option is to return to the tub to soak our sore bellies.

A continental breakfast of epic proportions awaits us when we wake (very late) the next morning – another fantastic meal whipped up by Paul. The highlight is a house-made granola with poached pears. Wow. After another tub soak to aid our digestion (or so we tell ourselves), we drive to Portsea where we spy on some incredible shoreside mansions and take a brisk walk on the empty front beach.

The Big Blue Backyard’s proximity to the Peninsula Hot Springs is one of its many charms. Unbeknown to Mrs Smith I have pre-arranged massages (note: book ahead or you’re likely to miss out), so when we arrive we’re whisked into the Spa Dreaming Centre – an adults-only series of mineral baths accessible only to those opting for treatments in the spa. After an hour of steaming and soaking (yes, more soaking) I ride the Brownie point train to a joint massage room, with Mrs Smith opting for an indigenous Kodo massage, inspired by rhythmic Aboriginal techniques, and myself indulging in a much needed therapeutic massage. Exhausted, we return to BBB and crash out in a deep slumber, cosying up under the African throws adorning our king-size bed.

We squeeze in three final activities before departing the next morning: breakfast, a walk and one last dip in our private spa bath. Our second breakfast is a cooked one – a fluffy feta and tomato omelette served with rocket and bacon, accompanied by a basket of breads and pastries, and a fruit salad of yellow, pink and ruby grapefruits. With our waistlines yet again broadened we decide to check out St Andrews Beach. BBB is situated on its adjoining sand dunes, so our jaunt only proves a challenge because of the size of our stomachs! Our bubbly tub awaits on our return and, while lounging in the warm water, we’re greeted with a light shower – a quirky end to our romantic coastal weekend.

‘Thank you,’ whispers Mrs Smith. I’m back in the good books.

Since this review was published, the African Hideaway has been renamed as the Dunes Hideaway.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Big Blue Backyard’s Guestbook below.

We loved


Don’t expect



Stayed on 20 Mar 2016

We loved

Excellent dinners al fresco!

Don’t expect

Wine, but buy it yourself at a local winery - perfect!


Stayed on 19 Dec 2015

We loved

Lisa was amazing host and has mastered the perfect combination of being adequately attentive and nonintrusive. The food was very well presented and tasted even better. This is a perfect place for a weekend getaway to be on your own and/or with the one you love.


Stayed on 14 Feb 2015