Friday, 8 August 2008

Hiking on the Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula in Victoria (Australia) is a well known tourist area, with many Melburnians spending their summer holidays camping on the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay. On Mornington Peninsula you can find sheltered golden sandy beaches as well as surf beaches providing challenges for surfboarders and body surfers. Equally fishermen can try their luck with the bay beaches, surf beaches and rock fishing. There is also an extensive wine industry on the peninsula along with many restaurants and cafes. However, there is also many hiking opportunities which we have been able to explore over the past weeks.

Two Bays Track

The two bays track connects Port Phillip Bay with Bushrangers Bay and Cape Schanck, the trail is 26 km in length and commences ( if heading West) with a 280 metre climb from Port Phillip Bay to Seawinds Gardens which are adjacent to Arthurs Seat a 305 metre summit overlooking both Port Phillip and Westernport Bays. Seawind Gardens is an important botanical reserve consisting of many plants that were indigenous to the area and are now being regenerated to establish flora that is typical to the region. After leaving Seawind Gardens the trail heads wast to King Falls, these falls provide a respite from the settled areas around a Aurthurs Seat and the housing estates abutting the mountain. Upon leaving the falls the trail ultimately descends to the settled areas around Waterfall Gully Rd before coming to an an easement for the continuation of Gardens Rd, which links Duells Road with Browns Road. After crossing Browns Rd you soon enter Greens Bush, where you will never be far from the sight of the many Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Black Wallabies. The trail meanders through the Stringybark and Box forests of Greens Bush before arriving at Boneo Road. Upon crossing Boneo Road the trail heads west to Bushrangers Bay with its rugged rock outcrops, before finally turning south west to reach the Cape Schank lighthouse which provides an Easterly light for the ships heading towards Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne.

Greens Bush and its occupants

Peninsula Coastal Walk

The Mornington Peninsula is blessed by two coastal attractions, the calm of Port Phillip Bay and the ocean beaches of Bass Strait. The Peninsula Coastal Path follows the ocean coastline and commences at the Sorrento Ocean Beach, passing through Bridgewater Bay, Gunnamatta, Cape Schanck before concluding at Bushrangers Bay.

This 31.5 km walk along sandy beaches and trails provides outstanding opportunities for viewing Bass Strait as well as Cape Otway (to the west of the entry into Port Phillip Bay). The walk commences by following the lifesaver track (formed after 2 major shipwrecks in the 1890’s) above the rocky limestone cliffs east of Sorrento, before ultimately reaching Sixteenth Beach, from there it is a mostly coastal walk to Cape Schanck, however, high tides may impede progress and trails above the limestone cliffs may be required to complete the walk.

This walk, or parts thereof, can be recommended at any time of the year as watching the the ocean and the waves is a relaxing experience no matter what the weather.

Photos of the area are shown in our web gallery.