Point Nepean Historic Highlights


Point Nepean Historic Highlights

Point Nepean National Park

Point Nepean is one of Victoria's most popular heritage sites, boasting a fascinating collection of historic buildings located in dramatic coastal scenery. Explore Fort Nepean and the Quarantine Station on foot or on a hired bike - and enjoy a picnic overlooking Port Phillip. This is a fantastic daytrip near Melbourne.
There's so much to see and do at Point Nepean National Park. A walk from the Quarantine Station to Fort Nepean, via the beach at Observatory Point and Gunners Cottage, will cover many of the historical highlights of this unique place. 

Things to do in the area

Aboriginal history
Point Nepean is the traditional Country of the Bunurong People who have lived on and around this important cultural place for over 35,000 years. The coastline has been an important source of shellfish and other foods and extensive shell middens are reminders of the enduring association that Traditional Owners have with this area.

European arrival
Point Nepean has evidence of some of the earliest European settlement in Victoria, including pastoral activities and lime burning. Shepherd’s Hut, located in the Quarantine Station, is one of the earliest intact limestone buildings in Victoria. Its cellar dates to 1845.

Established in 1852, the Quarantine Station was the major place for quarantine purposes in Victoria until 1979 and was closed in 1980. Animals were also quarantined here and you can see the remains of the jetty built for this purpose in 1878 at nearby Observatory Point. The beach here is a beautiful spot for a picnic. 

The walk to Observatory Point is 2km / 30 minute along Coles Track from the Quarantine Station. While you're there, take the Walter Pisterman Walk inland to nearby Gunners Cottage and Point Nepean Cemetery, where those who died in quarantine are buried. If you're on a bicycle you can continue along Coles Track to Gunners Cottage. 

The entrance to Port Phillip was once the most heavily fortified port in the Southern Hemisphere. There are many Colonial and Commonwealth structures from the 1880s–1940s located around the park. Fort Nepean is considered to be one of the best examples in Australia of a major fort complex exhibiting the changes in military engineering over the 19th and 20th centuries.

The walk from Gunners Cottage to Fort Nepean is approximately 3km or 45 minutes. On the way, you can explore the remains of Fort Pearce, Pearce Barracks and Eagles Nest. Fort Pearce was established in 1911 and designed to take advantage of the six-inch Mark VII guns being introduced to coastal defence at that time. The Pearce Barracks site is where many of the army personnel stationed at Point Nepean lived. Eagles Nest was the site of Australia’s largest 'Disappearing Gun'.

National Park

After World War II, soldiers were removed from the forts and the buildings and fortifications declared redundant. The area remained closed to the public and was used as an occasional firing range and training ground until 1988 when, as part of the Bicentennial celebrations, control of the site was transferred to Victoria, declared a national park and opened to the public. The Quarantine Station became part of the national park in 2009.
A view of the bunker and canons overlooking Bass Straight at Fort Nepean.

Fort Nepean

Fort Nepean is one of the fortifications that protected Melbourne during World War I and II. Located at the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula, where the calm waters of Port Phillip meet the wild waves of the Southern Ocean, explore the extensive tunnel complex which connects the historic gun emplacements.
The historic buildings of the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean.

Quarantine Station

Point Nepean Quarantine Station offers a glimpse into the early European history of Victoria. Established in 1852, explore nearly 50 heritage-listed buildings. Learn about life at this once-remote location and the station's critical role in protecting Australia from introduced diseases.
South Channel Fort in Port Philip part of the Point Nepean National Park.

South Channel Fort

The South Channel Fort is a reminder of Port Phillip Bay's early history as part of the defence lines for Melbourne. The artificial island was constructed in the 1880s to illuminate the channel at night and electronically explode mines under attacking ships coming through the Heads.

How to get there

Point Nepean Historic Highlights

Start your tour of Point Nepean at the Quarantine Station carpark. Alternatively, you can park at Gunners Cottage for a slightly shorter walk to Fort Nepean and Observatory Point. 

Need to know

Point Nepean Historic Highlights

Change of Conditions

Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.

  • Point Nepean National Park

    Point Nepean National Park is closed

    Under the direction of the Chief Health Officer and in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services’ requirements limiting the number of people at public gatherings to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) Point Nepean National Park will remain closed until further notice.

    The Bend Steps closed

    Access to The Bend steps, including access to the Bay Beach Walk from this location, will be closed until further notice due to severe erosion. Beach access is available at Observatory Point and the Quarantine Station only.

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Sites

    Heritage building and precinct closures due to COVID-19

    The following buildings and structures will remain closed until further notice:-
    -            Information Centre
    -            Fort Nepean Tunnels and Engine House 
    -            Disinfecting Complex (Boiler House)
    -            Foul Luggage Store
    -            Shepherd’s Hut
    -            Hospital 3 & Cook House

    There is no bike hire.

    Shuttle Bus service suspended until further notice

    The Point Nepean Shuttle Bus service has been suspended until further notice to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).   
    The park remains open to  vehicle entry from 6am – 6pm, and 24/7 access for pedestrians and cyclists.  The toilet facilities also remain open.

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