Fort Nepean, Portsea, Victoria
From coastal views to rugged wilderness, Mornington Peninsula is packed with beautiful scenery to be discovered.
By Aleksander Jason
Located 40 kilometres (25 miles) south-east of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is home to stunning scenic walks, lush bushlands, and untamed, windswept beaches. There’s so much to see and do but if you’ve only got one day, here are my top 5 picks.
Fort Nepean was part of a defense facility, protecting the entrance to Port Phillip. It’s a fascinating area full of heritage listed buildings that date back to the late 1800s. It’s also home to hundreds of giant cypress trees that tower 20 metres above the ground. There’s a path at the nearby Quarantine Station where the trees are lined on both sides creating a beautiful natural archway to walk through.
GUNNAMATTA OCEAN BEACH
Located between Cape Schanck and Point Nepean, Gunnamatta Ocean Beach is a long stretch of beautiful white sand and translucent water. It’s the most popular surf beach in the Mornington Peninsula, offering consistently high swells. The beach is patrolled during the summer and school holidays. Needless to say, catching the sunset or sunrise is spectacular from any part of this beach.
FINGAL PICNIC AREA
The Fingal Picnic Area offers a secluded, shaded resting spot with scenic views of Fingal Beach and the nearby basalt cliffs. The site is fully equipped with picnic tables, electric barbecues, restrooms, and a ball games area. Wrapped in the lush coastal greenery, Fingal Picnic Area is great for a family day out surrounded by nature.
To explore beyond the picnic area, take the Fingal Beach Walk, a 1.5 kilometre trek through the scrublands down to Fingal Beach. You can also get to Gunnamatta Beach from the picnic area via a stunning clifftop track, which is a five kilometre return trip.
Boneo Road cuts across Mornington Peninsula. Enjoy the scenery changes as the road starts from the coast and passes through the towns and bushlands before it reaches the other side of the peninsula. The secret here is to find the spots to stop at along this road, where a short walk towards the cliff can be rewarded with incredible views of the coastline.
Cape Schanck is near the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula. There is a timber boardwalk that starts from the beach and ascends all the way to the cliff top where Cape Schanck Lighthouse stands.
You can explore the lighthouse on one of the daily tours. The tour will also give you access to the circular viewing platform at the top where you will get uninterrupted views of the surrounds.
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