Stephanie Leonard (née Bray) started her Instagram page @peninsula.lifestyle in 2015. It began as a marketing strategy for the real estate agency she was working for at the time. Now it’s transformed into a creative outlet for Steph to share her writing and photography while engaging her local community and prospective visitors. It was Steph’s stylish, engaging, and relatable content that saw her page quickly grow. Kate Sears speaks to Steph about how it’s grown to have an amazing community and highlight the paradise that is the Peninsula.
Steph and Rayne
What’s your favourite aspect of your page?
I absolutely love meeting small-business owners on the Mornington Peninsula and hearing them talk so passionately and proudly about their companies during a collaboration, and afterwards hearing about how my work with them translated into new customers and exposure for their business. To have such a positive impact, while at the same time meeting so many amazing people, are the most fulfilling and memorable moments since the creation of the page. Some special collaborations include La Onda, Trofeo, KX Pilates and the list goes on.
When it comes to content creation, where do you get your inspiration from?
My biggest inspiration are the sunrises and sunsets on the Peninsula and how magic they are. You don’t need anything more than that.
If you’re not on Instagram or creating content, what do you get up to?
I spend my days with my beautiful daughter making memories while also studying my degree full time online. Between the content creation and the amazing businesses and people I have met in the six years of Peninsula Lifestyle, I was inspired to further my knowledge and skills by studying a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) so I can facilitate my work with the Peninsula businesses in the marketing industry. A day in my life also wouldn’t be complete without visiting a cafe on the Peninsula and getting coffee – you could say I am addicted.
What do you love most about the Mornington Peninsula?
I love how versatile our home is. From the calm bay and quiet seaside towns to the rolling hills and renowned wineries – don’t even get me started on the food and wine . . . heaven! – to the rugged cliffs and ocean beaches, there’s just so much to see and do. Our communities aren’t short of art, good food and culture. It truly is a holiday every day.
Could you share your top 3 must-do free activities on the Peninsula?
1. Sunset watching at Murray’s Lookout, Arthurs Seat. Pack yourself a picnic dinner, back your car into the car spot and set up a cosy lounge with pillows and a blanket in the boot just like you would at an outdoor cinema. Best part: you can do this no matter the season and watch the Peninsula’s most spectacular show free of cost.
2. Bushrangers Bay walk, Flinders. While the Peninsula is home to many amazing walks, this one is a favourite of mine and my husband’s. Depending on what time of the day you go, you are visited by kangaroos and other wildlife. The beach itself is wild and beautiful, and if you walk the length of the shore you’ll get to the rock pools which you can swim in, depending on the tide.
3. Stingray and banjo shark watching. In summer, Rye pier is home to some huge rays which are amazing to watch. Make a coffee at home and bring it along with you while you sit on the pier. Alternatively in winter, Rosebud pier is home to banjo sharks. You can watch them feed at sunset, and if you’re game enough you could also snorkel both locations to get the very best views.
Have these activities changed since you welcomed your first child Rayne and with your boy due December? What family-friendly activities are you loving now?
Absolutely. Since the birth of Rayne we have visited the likes of Big Goose Farm and started to attend more parks on the Peninsula. Even though she’s still so young and probably doesn’t quite understand it all yet, we are loving doing these family-friendly activities that the Peninsula is renowned for, being the holiday destination it is. Next on our list is Boneo Adventure Park and Enchanted Maze.
Is there anything in the works for your page? What’s next?
I plan to open my own digital marketing agency in 2022 to assist my clients beyond a blog post and feature on the page. I would also love to share our Peninsula and community further in a more open way, whether that be through a podcast or YouTube. I think getting to know both myself and Peninsula business owners on a more personal and transparent level is the way the page will benefit us and the community most.