About 72 kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD, Mount Martha is at the southern fringe of the Mornington municipality. Mt Martha guards the southern end of Fossil Beach which is one of only two exposed fossil plains in the world and whose remains date back 25 million years.
Mt Martha is also home to The Briars, an historic homestead whose spacious grounds include a wetland sanctuary where visitors can study the waterfowl from hides, a woodland trail and a wine centre. A National Trust property, The Briars was built in 1863 for pastoralist Alexander Balcombe who named it for his birthplace on St Helena.
Balcombe claimed a friendship with Napoleon Bonaparte, who, of course, spent his last days in exile on the remote South Atlantic island. In a room containing some of Balcombe's effects, one of the tables is said to have been used by Napoleon to write his memoirs. The homestead also contains the Dame Mabel Brookes Napoleonic Collection.
While Mt Martha is part of a bustling township of almost 16,000, Mornington retains much of the relaxed charm that has made it one of the most enduring and popular peninsula resorts. Mt Martha is within comfortable driving distance of the rest of the peninsula’s scenic attractions and vineyards.