I had drafted this blog out back on the 16th April before things got more hectic than the Arc De Triomphe roundabout on my tour! 2 and a half weeks later and I’ve finally managed to find a sliver of time to be able to publish part 3! Let’s find out what happened when I bumbled my way through the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne.
What Is It?
That’s a good question as I never even heard of it myself before visiting Australia but it helps to have friends in the travel industry as they know the prime places to go! The Mornington Peninsula is an area of land just south of Melbourne (circled red in the Google Map snapshot below) and it has an array of walking possibilities along the coast with spectacular views around each corner.
I was reliably informed that Portsea and Cape Schanck Lighthouse were two must see attractions for scenery so that’s exactly where I headed! Thankfully, my friend lent me her car and I was able to get there with no real problems as it’s school holidays here – Monday driving never felt so good!
How To Get There?
Head south out of Melbourne along the M3 and then join the M11. The M3 is a toll motorway so you’ll need to make sure that your toll card is topped up – you’ll soon know if it isn’t as your car will beep 3 times as you drive under what I call these “marker bridges”. It will take about 1 hour 20 minutes to drive if you stick to the 100km/hour speed limit (like me) or a bit less time if you’re applying a little more “artistic licence” with your speedometer 😉
Once the M11 ends, you’ll then need to take a right at the roundabout (traffic circle) and join the B110 all the way to Portsea. You can park at either Shelley Beach, which is what I did, or go all the way in to Point Nepean National Park and park in there (depending on what you want to do). For me, I wasn’t too sure what to expect so I just pulled in to the first car park at Shelley Beach, Portsea, applied the factor 50+ suncream (yes, it’s Winter here. Yes, their Sun is more powerful in Winter than the UK Summer. Yes, I’m EXCEPTIONALLY white haha 🙂 ) and started exploring!
The parking is free here. I did venture in to Portsea and found a parking spot there but it was “P2” and I had no idea what that meant and wasn’t in the mood to get a parking ticket (I rarely am in the mood actually) so found the one at Shelley Beach. From this car park, you head down the path which descends quite rapidly but you join a long stretch of very fine sand, which goes on for at least 0.5km-0.7km.
The reasons for it being called Shelley Beach quickly become apparent when you start walking along as it’s covered in shells! Towards the end of the beach are a load of private jetties for those staying in the rather luxurious beach houses – one can dream!
I continued my walk west, looking for public footpaths and one rose up steeply, offering lovely views of the cliffs heading towards Foreshore Reserve, Portsea Camp and around the other side of that edge of land awaits Portsea Beach – picturesque views with fine, golden sands enticing you in.
Le Capucin, Café
At this point, I was getting rather peckish and ended up taking a lunch stop at a café called Le Capucin. A fine selection of home made baguettes, paninis and other nibbles, it’s a perfect stop for any hiker (or beach goer).
It is only open between the hours of 10am-3pm so if you’re planning on going on a walk with this stop off then you’ve been forewarned 😛 I had the Ham & Cheese full size baguette, which is pretty substantial and will keep you going – cost 15.50 AUD, However, if you only wanted half a baguette, it’s half the price! They are a decent portion, bread was crispy AND chewy (somehow they nailed that combination) and it was very tasty. I felt ready to crack on!
Point Nepean National Park
Opposite the café, the footpath continues to Point Nepean National Park alongside housing which have their own private access to the Weeroona Bay. If you do find yourself walking along this particular beach then there’s a road that goes off to the left a few hundred metres along (past the beach houses) which you should take, otherwise it’s a long way to go to the end and find that there’s no way to get back up! Trust me, I know haha!
There are many things to do here like hiring a bike, walk the coastal paths, head to one of the many spectacular beaches, search for wildlife and many other things. Check their website out to find out more about what you can do there when you visit.
For me, time was running out as I wanted to make it down to Cape Schanck Lighthouse before it was got dark so I didn’t venture too far but one point of interest that took my fancy was “London Bridge Lookout”. Living near London, I wanted to see how it compared 🙂
London Bridge Lookout
It depends on how much walking you want to do but I’d recommend driving there as there are car parks available at all the points of interest if you wanted to see the many on offer. Otherwise, feel free to park at the main car park and lace up those hiking boots! The point that’s furthest away from the main car park is Fort Nepean at the apex of the peninsula – 7.4km one way so it will be about 15km walk by the time you get there and back but you will be rewarded handsomely!
London Bridge Lookout is only 1.7km away from the main car park but it’s easy to find – there’s only one path and it’s signposted as “Wilson’s Folley track”. This path takes you through a former military training ground where there are potentially live explosives still in the fields – I’d recommend sticking to the path to avoid a potential incident but you may find artillery shells lying on the ground. When it opens out, this trail offers some great views across the National Park, which you may want to take a moment to enjoy.
All you need to do is to stay on the track until you get to the London Bridge Lookout car park where there are sign posts pointing towards the lookout. You won’t be disappointed when you get there! There’s two viewpoints that offer the best views in my opinion and they are to the right of the car park. The path splits left to a lookout about 20 metres away and to another lookout 100 meters or so to the right. Selfies optional 😉
It really is up to you how far you want to go after that but this crazy fool had a 4km walk to get back to Shelley Beach car park, which was riddled with wrong turns, going up private paths to people’s houses… got those steps in though didn’t I? Haha! Once I made it back to the car, it was time to head to Cape Schanck Lighthouse for sunset!
Cape Schanck Lighthouse
How To Get There?
Head out of Portshead via the B110 (if you’re coming from there) and join the C777 towards Cape Schanck. There are signs pointing off the C777 down Cape Schanck Road which you really can’t miss and the car park is at the end of the road – it’s free too. From Portshead, it’s about a 30 minutes drive.
Well, if you can’t see the lighthouse from the car park then you need to get your eyes checked haha! If you wanted to go straight there, there’s a gate that’s open from 8am-6pm, with tourist information and guided tours available. The main attraction is closed to the public otherwise but there’s a lookout with a great view of the open sea and some of the surrounding cliffs.
Trails Around The Lighthouse
There is an 800m loop you can do which feels a little bit longer with the various ups and downs but then, this is a coastal path so it’s to be expected. You can venture down to the cape view lookout which is a long board walk but worth doing if you fancied stretching your legs even more! The cape is pretty dramatic after many years of being battered by the sea but makes for a special site indeed!
A nice surprise really to be able to have the car and head down there during my first stop in Australia. You could certainly spend a very long time there and enjoy much of the scenery the Mornington Peninsula has to offer.
Sorry for being out of action for ages! It’s very difficult to blog and travel at the same time with so much jam packed in! I’ll be catching up blogs more regularly when I’m back home but may surprise you with a few here and there if I find free time (bear in mind, I visited Mornington Peninsula on 15th April and only just got round to writing about it!)
PHC Top 3 – A Chance To Win From A Growing Prize Pool
Well, whilst I’m here, I might as well take the chance to tell you about a new contest that I’ve been a part of with the Power House Creatives called @phctop3. All you need to do is tell us what your top 3 favourites for a chance to win from a growing prize pool – more info here.
Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)
EMA is a growing electronic music community run by electronic musicians FOR electronic musicians. We have weekly playlists on a variety of platforms to cater for all streaming preferences – make sure you follow our blog for your weekly dose here. We’re also launching a new community run label called Electronic Alliance Records which aims to spread the word even more for our artists – check the latest developments and what music is coming up here