The commercial centre of Frankston stretches along the wide boulevard of the Nepean Highway and east to Young Street, incorporating the Bayside Shopping Centre and the Bayside Entertainment Centre with its cinemas, eateries and fashion outlets. Four kilometres eastwards is Centro Karingal Shopping Centre on Cranbourne Road.
Frankston is the educational hub of the Mornington Peninsula, home to campuses of the Chisholm Institute of TAFE and Monash University. It also has a thriving arts and theatre scene with the popular Frankston Arts Centre and several galleries.
The coastline around much of Frankston consists of calm and sandy beaches, perfect for swimming, boating and other water activities. To the south, the coastline transforms itself into rocky cliffs and headlands. From Olivers Hill, located on the Nepean Highway at the southern end of Frankston, panoramic views can be enjoyed across Port Phillip and north along the beachside suburbs.
The Frankston Waterfront precinct is based around Frankston Pier where there is a central square, lawns, visitor information centre and restaurant. A scenic boardwalk extends southwards along the coast, ending at the boat ramp near the base of Olivers Hill. Landscaped gardens, lawns and BBQ shelters front Kananook Creek which has boat launching facilities and enters the bay just north of the pier. The pedestrian Landmark Bridge crosses the creek near its mouth, and is a recognised icon when viewed from Frankston's beach.
Frankston has a number of attractive parks and gardens including Beauty Park with its lake and jetties, Bunarong Park with its elevated views of the bay, the informal George Pentland Botanical Gardens, and the Pines Flora and Fauna reserve in Frankston North. Sweetwater Creek, which runs from Frankston Reservoir to the bay, is lined along some of its route by bushland which includes native vegetation, waterfalls, gullies, boardwalks and lookouts. Ballam Park, located in Karingal, covers 30 hectares and includes several sports ovals, BBQ and picnic areas, and the historic Ballam Park Homestead which is a French-style farmhouse that was built during the 1850s.
Frankston is the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula, which extends southwards and incorporates sheltered bay beaches, ocean surf beaches, stunning coastal scenery, historic maritime relics, wineries and fruit farms.
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