Filled with rugged, picturesque coastline, cosy wineries, galleries, beaches and relaxing hot springs and many other Mornington Peninsula attractions, it is easy to see why the Mornington Peninsula is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.
Located an hour from Melbourne’s CBD the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect place for a day trip or for a weekend getaway, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are so many things to do on the Mornington Peninsula that is the perfect place for everyone.
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- 1 Getting to the Mornington Peninsula
- 2 The Best Mornington Peninsula Attractions
- 3 1. Visit the Peninsula Hot Springs
- 4 2. Take in the views at Cape Schank Lighthouse
- 5 3. Take a walk to Bushrangers Bay
- 6 4. Explore the Rockpools at Bridgewater Bay
- 7 5. Admire the Coastline at Bay of Islands and Diamond Bay
- 8 6. Listen to the crash of waves at London Bridge
- 9 Where to stay on the Mornington Peninsula
- 10 Mornington Peninsula Map
- 11 Guided tour of the Mornington Peninsula
- 12 Share it!
- 13 My BEST Travel Resources
Getting to the Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is located an hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD.
There are two options for driving to the Mornington Peninsula;
Follow the coast from Melbourne towards Frankston where you will pass through the stunning beach side towns of Mt Eliza, Mornington, Rye, Sorrento and Portsea. Stop in for a swim or a bite to eat along the way.
Option two is faster, cruise down the M1 freeway which becomes the Eastlink tollway. Then take the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and finally the Moorooduc highway (if you stay where we stayed, you’ll be staying on this highway) and you’ll reach Mornington within an hour.
To reach the very tip of the Peninsula you will need to drive another 45 minute from Mornington to Portsea.
Tip: The M1 and Eastlink are toll roads and there are no toll booths on these roads. You will need to pay for your tolls online (either before or after your trip) from Citylink.
Looking to hire a car? Check out Europcar
Taking public transport to the Mornington Peninsula
It is possible to reach the Mornington Peninsula via public transport. The train to Frankston leaves from Southern Cross Station and Flinders Street station every 15 – 20 minutes. The train from the CBD to Frankston takes just over an hour.
From Frankston, you can take the local bus (number 788), to the Mornington Peninsula. Frankston to Portsea is around 2 hours and the bus will stop at the other towns along the way.
Tip: You will need to purhcase a Myki card and top it up before you travel. Myki cards can be purchased from most train stations, 7 Eleven stores or news agencies. You can plan you journey on the Public Transport Victoria website.
The Best Mornington Peninsula Attractions
From beaches and wineries, to hot springs and nature, there are so many things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.
Here are the top things to do on the Mornington Peninsula
1. Visit the Peninsula Hot Springs
One of the top things to do on the Mornington Peninsula is to spend a day at the Peninsula Hot Springs. When I say spend a day, I do mean spend a day.
From massages, to relaxing over a glass of wine and a share plate, to checking out all of the baths, you will spend the best part of the day at the hot springs.
I have been lucky enough to visit several hot springs around the world and the Peninsula Hot Springs are the best thermal baths I have visited.
There are over 20 public and private thermal baths including a cave bath, sauna, plunge pool, reflexology walk and of course, a bath house.
Visit the public pools and take in the views from the highest thermal pool, or brave the cold in the ice cave. If you want to step up your bathing game, book a treatment and unlock access to the private pools.
The Peninsula hot springs are the perfect way to hide away from the hustle and bustle of life and completely unwind.
Don’t forget to refuel and check out the restaurant and cafe. The only time is it acceptable to wear a robe to lunch!!
2. Take in the views at Cape Schank Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse is the most prominent feature in the landscape. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Victoria and was built 1859. It stands at 21 metres tall, rising high above the rugged cliffs. Despite it’s age, Cape Schanck lighthouse is still an operational lighthouse.
The view from the top of light house is stunning, take in the rocky cliffs and the crashing waves and don’t forget to keep an eye out for some whales. The Whales pass through Cape Schanck during migration in between May and October.
While you’re visiting the lighthouse, take a stroll along the boardwalk to Pebble Beach. There are a lot of stairs, so be mindful if you are in a wheelchair or have a pram. The view from the top of the boardwalk is beautiful, so if you struggle with stairs head to the top of the stairs for a view of the beach.
Unlike many Australian beaches, Pebble beach is a volcanic rock beach. The jet black pebbles stand out from the white waves and the surrounding flora. Sit and listen to the rumble of the pebbles as the waves rush back out to sea.
3. Take a walk to Bushrangers Bay
Named after two escaped convicts, this beautiful bay is surrounded basalt cliffs and coastal Banksia.
From Cape Schanck lighthouse Bushrangers Bay can be found at the end of the 2.6km trail. The trail is clearly marked and will take around 2 hours, depending on how long you spend at Bushrangers Bay. You can also access the trail from Borneo carpark and picnic area, the trail is slightly shorter (2.5km).
Most of the trail is fairly easy but there are a couple of sections where there are very uneven stairs! It is a beautiful walk but be mindful of the puddles and the slippery mud if there has been a lot of rain.
I recommend packing a picnic to have once you reach Bushrangers Bay.
4. Explore the Rockpools at Bridgewater Bay
Bridgewater Bay is located in Blairgowrie and a little more off the “tourist route”.
At low tide, Bridgewater bay is a fantastic place to explore the rock pools and take a walk along the beach. At hide tide, you will spend your time climbing over the rocks to get further down the beach.
5. Admire the Coastline at Bay of Islands and Diamond Bay
Diamond Bay can be found in Sorrento and was named after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The cliffs surrounding the bay are impressive sandstone cliffs that have been transformed over time by the wind and waves.
Follow the signs to St. Paul’s lookout for outstanding views of the Bay of Islands. Not to be mistaken for the Bay of Islands in New Zealand or Tasmania, this Bay of Islands is made up of four tiny rock Islands.
Tip: Bay of Islands and Diamond Bay is not easy to find, it is located at the end of the sandy Diamond Bay Road.
6. Listen to the crash of waves at London Bridge
London Bridge is an amphitheater style rock formation on Portsea’s back beach. Before embarking down onto the beach, head to the lookout to get a birds eye view of this impressive structure.
The sandstone structure has been weathered over thousands of years to form the structure that is on the beach today.
Once you have viewed London Bridge from the viewing point, take the short walk onto the beach to get a closer look.
At low tide, or when there’s a break in the waves, venture inside London Bridge and listen to the crash of the waves as they’ll tumble through the “portholes”.
From inside London Bridge, you can climb up onto the outside and explore the rock formation. If you’re short like me, you’ll need to stretch your legs to get back down.
Watching the waves, is mesmerising, time will quickly slip away from you.
Tip: For some of the best views and colours, visit at sunrise or sunset.
Make sure you are comfortable around water and rocks before heading into or onto the rock formation. This is not a patrolled beach.
7. Go hiking in the Port Nepean National Park
Not only is Port Nepean National Park extremely scenic, it is also rich with history. For a look into what Port Nepean was like during World War I head to Fort Nepean. Not only are the views stunning but it is a great step back in time, make sure to visit the Quarantine Station and Gunners Cottage.
There are several walks around Port Nepean and the gates to the National Park close at 5pm. Make sure to arrive early in the day, to give yourself plenty of time to complete a couple of the walks and enjoy the history of the park.
If you are not local to Australia (or even if you are), it is a great place to become acquainted with some of our famous wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for Emus, wombats, echidnas and Kangaroos.
8. Swim with dolphins and seals
Probably one of the the most exciting things to do on the Mornington Peninsula is to take a boat out into Port Philip Bay to swim with the wild Dolphins and Seals.
After your safety briefing of what to do when you are on the boat or in the water, you will head out into the Bay.
You are not allowed to touch the animals but you can hold onto a guide rope and float along in the water observing from a distance, you will be surprised how close the dolphins come to the boat.
Of course, they are wild animals so you are not guaranteed to see both dolphins and seals, it is up to them to come and say hello.
Either way, it is a great way to spend a few hours, snorkeling and hopefully getting up close with some beautiful animals.
9. Check out the Mornington Peninsula Beach Boxes
Many of the beaches along the Mornington Peninsula have Beach Boxes.
These beautiful historic boxes are essentially nothing more than coloured sheds. The boxes have generally be passed down from generation to generation. Some times, if you’re lucky, the owners will have the doors of their boxes open, you can get a sneak peak inside to see how they utilise their boxes.
The beach boxes can be found from Mt Eliza and Dromana to Rosebud and Portsea. I recommend checking out the boxes at Mills Beach in Mornington.
Be warned, if you do happen to see a for sale sign on one of these beauties, it will set you back a pretty penny. The asking price for one wee beach box usually starts at around $150,000!!
10. Visit Arthur’s Seat
Besides the beautiful beaches, the Mornington Peninsula is famous for Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is a granite hill that extends 304 meters above the sea.
There are few options for visiting Arthur’s Seat either by foot, bike or car.
One of the best ways to visit Arthur’s Seat is by air. Catch the gondola, also known as the Arthur’s Seat Eagle. The Gondola leaves from Dromana and stops at the summit.
Don’t miss out on the scenic views and walks and make sure you visit Arthur’s Seat.
11. Catch a movie at the Dromana Drive-in
“Back in the day” going to the Drive-in cinema was one of the things to do. These days there are three drive-in cinemas in Victoria, and one of them is located in Dromana.
The Dromana Drive in has been showing movies since 1962. There are three screens and a 1950’s style movie diner, where you can get a great range of food from dinner to movie snacks.
For the latest films and screening times check out their website.
Tip: There are some great deals per car, so grab a few friends for a cheap night out.
12. Taste the local wine
To feel a little fancier for the day, one of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula is to visit a winery or a brewery.
When we think of the Mornington Peninsula we think of premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Sample some of the best local foods while sipping on some amazing wines.
If you’re looking for the perfect “Do-It-Yourself” wine tour look no further than The World Loves Melbourne. They have put together a great (and free!) DIY wine tour.
Do you prefer to drink rather than drive? Check out some of these guided wine tours.
Tip: We headed to the local bottle shop and looked for the local section! We picked up a bottle of Mr Fox for a pretty reasonable price.
13. Check out Victoria’s oldest market
When you’re in Mornington, make sure you check out the Mornington market on the main street. The market has been running for 40 years, which makes it Victoria’s oldest market.
The market stalls are stocked with local produce and hand made crafts. On a nice day, grab some snacks and head down to the beach for a picnic.
Where to stay on the Mornington Peninsula
During our stay on the Mornington Peninsula, we stayed at the gorgeous “Windmill Cottage” in Moorooduc. The miners cottage sits on a rural farm about a ten minute drive from the heart of the Mornington Peninsula.
The cottage is new and full of modern facilities, but is also filled with old world charm. Equipped with a kitchen and a wood fire, you can completely unwind and enjoy the surrounding gardens whilst watching the farm animals graze near by.
The hosts were kind enough to provide us with provisions to make bacon and eggs for breakfast and of course, tea and coffee. Whilst the hosts house was located near by, we still felt as though we were in our own oasis.
During the winter months you can curl up in front of the fire with glass of wine, and an outdoor shower provides you a place to wash off from a summers day at the beach.
Just like we can’t wait to visit the Mornington Peninsula again soon, we cannot wait to return to the Windmill Cottage. It has definitely given me some ideas for designing my next home!
Mornington Peninsula Map
Guided tour of the Mornington Peninsula
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My BEST Travel Resources
Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro
Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.
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Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.
Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out Europcar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!
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