The Mornington Peninsula is a boot-shaped strip of land, flanked by Port Phillip, Western Port and the open waters of Bass Strait. It lies just south of Melbourne, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or a longer stay for those coming from the city.
The beaches fronting Port Phillip, where most of the peninsula's population is concentrated, provide an interesting mix of coastal landscapes. From Seaford to Frankston are flat and wide sandy beaches which are ideal for swimming. The coastline then transforms itself into scenic cliff tops overlooking pockets of sandy beaches in coves between Mount Eliza and Mount Martha. Then from Safety Beach through to Rosebud and Rye are calm waters fronting extensive strips of sand and natural foreshore reserves. The coastline becomes a more rocky through Sorrento and Portsea offering some great coastal views plus long stretches of sandy beaches near the main public piers.
The Bass Strait coast from Portsea to Cape Schanck and Flinders offers a much less commercialised environment with exhilarating wind-swept surf beaches, bushy foreshore reserves, scenic lookouts and rocky coastal formations.
The Western Port coastline from Flinders to Somers is mainly extensive stretches of sand in a rural setting with several rocky outcrops. Further north, between Somers and Hastings, the coastline changes considerably into mudflats and mangroves.
Inland, the rural southern part of the Mornington Peninsula consists of rolling hills with areas of bushland. The highest peak on the peninsula is Arthurs Seat, rising to over 300 metres and offering panoramic views along the coast.
The southern part of the Mornington Peninsula is recognised as a quality cool climate wine region with wine production dating back to 1886. There are around 60 wineries mainly concentrated around Red Hill, Main Ridge, Balnarring and Dromana, many with cellar doors open to the public.
In addition to wine, the peninsula has a number of orchards, berry farms and gourmet food producers whose products include cheese, jam and olive oil.
A 28 kilometre scenic walking and cycling trail extends along the coast from Dromana to Portsea, winding its way past beaches and jetties and through areas of foreshore parkland and bush.
French Island, the largest island in Western Port, consists of a coastline of salt marshes and mangrove mudflats, with the island's interior offering colourful wildflower displays in the spring. The majority of the island is a national park which is home to Australia's largest koala community. Access is primarily via a passenger ferry from either Cowes on Phillip Island or Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula.
A passenger and car ferry service, operating from Sorrento to Queenscliff, links the Mornington Peninsula with the Bellarine Peninsula, providing an alternative to the road route via Melbourne and Geelong.
Visitor Information Centres in this region.
Regional tourist drives:
Regional guides on other websites:
Mornington Peninsula destinations:
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