February 24, 2019 / By Oceana Setaysha
The Mornington Peninsula is an easy winner as a weekend getaway from Melbourne, particularly if you enjoy stretching your legs and taking a walk. As a stunning natural location, the Mornington Peninsula offers an great escape from city living. It’s easy to drive around the many attractions in the area, and for nature-lovers and adventure seekers there are also almost 100 trails and walks to do around the Peninsula’s beautiful landscapes. From beaches and piers to historic sites, creek following and ocean views, there’s a walk to suit any preference. Here I've rounded up a few of my favourites, to get you started.
1. Cape Schanck
There’s something magical about looking out onto the ocean and one of the best spots to do this on the Mornington Peninsula is Cape Schanck. Inside the Mornington Peninsula National Park, Cape Schanck is actually the southernmost tip of the peninsula. Walkers will find a number of trails here, including the popular short boardwalk that takes wanderers around the Cape’s many geological formations and even includes an old lighthouse, the grounds of which are open for exploration.
One of the longest continuous walking tracks on the Mornington Peninsula (not including the mammoth 100km hike) and spanning 26km of incredibly varied landscape, the Two Bays Walking Track is a wonderful walk from start to finish. Of course, only the true enthusiasts will undertake the whole thing! The walk can be split into several smaller sections, and there are also a number of circuits that branch off to other spots like Arthurs Seat and Bushrangers Bay. Start at either Cape Schanck or Anthony’s Nose on Latrobe Parade to do the entire thing.
3. Briars Park
A unique location tucked away on the Mornington Peninsula, Briars Park is a heritage listed working farm and wildlife reserve. Inside you’ll find a historically significant homestead, wildlife sanctuary and a number of good walks. Many of the Briars Park walks are short, and they include the Wetland Walk through the beautiful wetland areas of the park, and the Woodland Walk where kangaroos and wildlife are a plenty, among others. Be sure to visit the local visitors centre while you’re at the park!
The Coppins Track Walk is a lovely short walk of around 3km return that traces the coastline from Sorrento Back Beach to Diamond Bay and back again. This walk is actually a guided historic walk, winding along stunning clifftops and offering some amazing views. Get up to date on the history of the area over the last century, and keep your eyes open for the limestone paved footpath sections that remain from the original walk built in the 1800s.
5. Greens Bush
Squeezed between Arthurs Seat and Cape Schanck, Greens Bush is the largest slice of the remaining native bushland on the Mornington Peninsula. Although it is surrounded on all sides by farmland, Greens Bush is a true sanctuary for native wildlife and also an ideal place to take a walk. There are both short and long walks within Greens Bush, giving walkers a chance to wander through eucalypt forests, explore fern gullies and follow bubbling creeks. Keep a look out for native Eastern Grey Kangaroos that live within the area and actively feed at dawn and dusk. If you’re lucky, you might even see a koala!
Port Nepean National Park is a ‘must visit’ Mornington Peninsula location, not in the least because of its great walking trails. Combining vibrant natural landscapes with interesting local history, Port Nepean also happens to have some of the best views on the Mornington Peninsula (which really is saying something!) Park at the Point Nepean carpark and take a walk up to Fort Nepean, considered one of Australia’s best major fort complexes, or embark on a stroll to Cheviot Hill, Eagles Nest, London Bridge, or the Quarantine Station.
I am a big fan of a good boardwalk trail, particularly when the walk is as beautiful as the Balcombe Estuary. The traditional owners of Mornington Peninsula named this area after the sound that local frogs make, and the boardwalk and its associated trail is a great place to spot and hear them. The trail is about 2.5km in length, and will take around 1-2 hours. It runs through bushland and can be done as a circuit, or you can continue along to Briars Park. Start from the Balcombe Creek Car Park.
A good walk is not hard to find on the Mornington Peninsula, meaning the biggest question for visitors now is: where to start?
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