Your guide to the ultimate trip to Point Nepean National Park
Monday 3 April, 2023
This is also a significant place for Traditional Owners of the lands, the Bunurong people, who have cared for this land for at least 35,000 years. During your visit, be aware that the park protects a range of native plants and animals, and that parts of coastline here contains shell middens that house the remains of shellfish eaten by Aboriginal people.
Stay overnight in Point Nepean National ParkLocated within the idyllic coastal Point Nepean National Park, the pre-pitched Discovery Tents offer a unique opportunity to camp without the fuss of setting up your own gear. Wake to the sounds of magpies warbling and enjoy a sunrise walk along the nearby beach – just 20 metres away from your campsite. Follow it up by cooking an egg and bacon roll for breakfast at the outdoor BBQ, all while enjoying a fresh cuppa. End your day with a wander around the historic Quarantine Station at dusk and spot echidnas (and their puggles) roaming around.
Explore this unique landscapeEnjoy panoramic ocean and bay views when you walk along this rugged coast. Hire or bring a bike and cycle to the tip of the bay. View the site and memorial where Prime Minister Harold Holt went missing while swimming at the nearby Cheviot Beach. Explore military forts and tunnels and learn about the people who passed through the Quarantine Station in the early 18th century. If you’re lucky, you might spot dolphins splashing about in the ocean during your visit.
Take a dip at nearby beachesDuring summer, the patrolled ocean beaches of Portsea and Sorrento are great places to cool off. Or drive out along the coast and enjoy a swim at Rosebud or Rye, popular with young families.
After a more adventurous experience? Dip into the excellent surf beaches of the Mornington Peninsula National Park and tackle the waves of Gunnamatta, Flinders, Portsea and Rye ocean beaches. Be aware that these beaches are exposed to the rough conditions of Bass Strait, and can have dangerous undertows, rips and unexpected large swells. Remember to only swim at patrolled beaches and between the flags.
Enjoy a walk along Cape SchanckCape Schanck offers stunning landscapes, the mystery of dramatic volcanic features, unspoilt and wild beaches and scenic walking tracks with spectacular ocean views. Follow the Bushrangers Bay Walk from the Cape Schank Lighthouse and take in stunning views of the coastline. Listen to the wild waves crashing against the jagged rocks guarding the entrance to the bay and keep an eye out for wildlife along the way. This track takes around one-hour each way and ends at Bushrangers Bay, a sandy beach surrounded by basalt cliffs.
Snorkel in the bay and meet some of Victoria's unique marine life
The Mornington Peninsula is famed for some of the best underwater experiences in Victoria. Swim in the shallows of Blairgowrie Marina to see rays and Port Jacksons sharks or go in deeper to check out the Nudibranch Wall. Snorkel along the pylons under Rye Pier to see colourful sponge gardens or visit in winter to witness Giant Spider Crabs gather in their thousands. If you want to see Victoria's iconic and mysterious marine emblem, Flinders Jetty is one of the best places in the world to see the Weedy Seadragon in the wild.
Hike the Greens Bush hiking trailsFor the best chance of spotting wildlife, head to the Greens Bush hiking trails. As the largest fragment of native bushland remaining on the Mornington Peninsula, this is a haven for birdlife - including honeyeaters, parrots, wrens, and even wedge-tailed eagles. Head out at dusk for the best chance to spot wildlife and kangaroos and wallabies grazing in the grasslands.
Immerse yourself with a diveDiving in Victorian waters provides outstanding opportunities to see a wide range of marine life, much of which is unique to our part of the world. Reefs at Point Nepean, Popes Eye, and Portsea Hole in Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park are rated as some the best diving spots in the world. Divers visit for the chance to see walls of colourful invertebrates, incredible varieties of fish, and the occasional wildlife encounter with inquisitive Australian Fur Seals. You can join licenced tour operators, visit with a dive club, take your own boat or simply walk in from the shoreline.
Hike Arthurs Seat for incredible viewsRising above the Mornington Peninsula, Arthurs Seat State Park is a prominent feature in the landscape of Port Philip Bay. Climb the 300-metre granite hill of Arthurs Seat for spectacular views of the bay. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Melbourne city skyline, the You Yangs and Mount Macedon. For a bird's-eye view, climb aboard the all-weather Arthurs Seat Eagle, a state-of-the-art gondola that soars high above the trees.
Go rock-pooling in FlindersExplore the rock platforms at Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary. This is a special family-friendly spot for marine discovery. At low tide, the sea withdraws to expose a huge mushroom-shaped ‘platform’. You may be lucky in spotting the amazing Black and White Sea Star, one of only two sea stars known to brood its young in its belly. Get up close by snorkelling or diving, and see fish such as Saddled Wrasse, Magpie Morwong and the strange box-like Cowfish moving through the seaweed fronds. Watch the Weedy Seadragons, Victoria’s marine state emblem, as they beat their small fins to hover over the seagrass beds.
Go wildlife watchingAlong the coast of Port Phillip Bay, see dolphins surfing in the waves in groups, whales migrating from May to October and seals lazing around Chinamans Hat. Joining a wildlife-watching tour with a licensed tour operator is another great way to catch a glimpse of these marine mammals. In Port Philip Bay tour operators can take you to visit and even swim with wild seals and dolphins.
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