Portsea is the most westerly settlement on the Mornington Peninsula and borders Sorrento in the east.
Portsea is located on a thin strip of land just 2 kilometres in width, fronting the calm waters of Port Phillip in the north and the rugged surf beaches along Bass Strait in the south.
The main bay beach fronts Weeroona Bay and includes the Portsea Pier from which golden sandy beaches extend in both directions, lined with a mixture of characteristic English trees and native bush. East of the pier is Point Franklin where a scenic walking track provides elevated views over Shelley Beach to the east and across the bay.
The Portsea Surf Beach faces the ocean and is accessible from two main points. At the southern end of Back Beach Road is the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club and scenic views along the coast can be enjoyed from the surrounding pathways which extend down to the beach. Further west, at the end of London Bridge Road, is an access point down to the beach, scenic coastal pathways, lookouts and the rocky archway known as London Bridge.
Portsea has a small commercial centre located on both sides of Point Nepean Road close to the Portsea Pier. The major landmark in the town centre is the Portsea Hotel which was built in 1927 and extended in later years to include both indoor and outdoor dining and entertaining areas which extend down to the foreshore and overlooking the beach and pier.
Portsea has become one of Melbourne's most exclusive places to live, with a number of 19th century mansions perched high on ridges above the coast, intermingled with upmarket dream homes and weekend retreats.
At the western edge of Portsea and extending right to the tip of the land is the Point Nepean National Park which features relics Aboriginal settlements and past military fortifications. A quarantine station was built there in 1852 to protect Victoria against disease from people arriving by boat. In 1882, a fort with barracks was established to defend the headlands of Port Phillip against invasion. There are a network of walks throughout the park which allow visitors to explore the remains of military occupation of this area and to enjoy scenic coastal features including pristine beaches, cliffs, reef platforms and turbulent seas.
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