01 Oct 20

The Mornington Peninsula 100km Walk

Zoe Rees Australia & NZ

The 100km Mornington Peninsula Walk is one of Victoria’s top walking trails. It combines four well-established and distinct walks in a roughly triangular route, and offers something for everyone – lush native bushland, dramatic cliff tops and wild oceans, sparkling sheltered bays, rich cultural and artistic history, abundant native flora and fauna, and charming coastal villages.

Challenging yourself to the entire 100km over a number of days is the perfect way to see it all. But if you are short on time, or are not confident about walking back-to-back days (with an 20km average per day), there are plenty of options to complete individual sections over several visits.

Enjoy the hinterland of the Two Bays Walk, the lesser-known (and best-kept secret) Mornington Peninsula National Park on the Coastal Walk, walks in and around historical Point Nepean National Park, and the beautiful Bay Trail along the shores of Port Phillip.

And of course, along the way enjoy world-renowned vineyards, luxury accommodation and the Peninsula’s reputation for fine food and seasonal produce.

So, the big question is, where to start? We are proud to call Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula home. We love all these trails and lace up our hiking boots every week to go exploring. Here’s what you need to know…

TWO BAYS WALKING TRACK (26KM ONE-WAY)

Best for? Wildlife and nature buffs. You like being surrounded by green forest and the opportunity to spot some of Australia’s cute critters.

Starting in Dromana, this section has the highest point on all the trails (and the hill climb to go with it). The trail is mostly gravel tracks with some small road sections for the first half, then as you enter the national park it turns into dirt tracks and some sandy paths. Once you have climbed to the top of Arthur’s Seat and back down the other side, the rest of the walk is fairly flat and easy going, with a large section through lush ferny forests. It is almost a given you will see a wallaby or kangaroo on this section. You finish at the clifftop Cape Schanck, with some stunning coastal views on the final stretch.

THE COASTAL WALK (30KM ONE-WAY)

Best for? Wild ocean lovers. You like more of a challenge as you walk through sand dunes with the fresh salty air on your face. You never tire of dramatic and wild ocean views and don’t mind being out in the elements.

Starting where the Two Bays left off, you head out along the cliffs, walking on sandy tracks in the dense coastal scrub, popping out every now and then to a lookout point offering views stretching ahead of all the upcoming bays you will soon explore. Once down on Gunnamatta Beach you have the first stretch of sand walking. To your left you might see some surfers or fishermen, to your right sand dunes.

You then head up into the dunes at Rye ocean beach and make your way through a series of trails to London Bridge, Portsea. Sometimes you will be back on the beach, other times some rock hopping is involved, and the rest up on the clifftop paths.

These trails are exposed to the weather which, along with tide levels, is to be taken into consideration. The last 2km to Point Nepean is mostly on crushed rocks and gravel as you head inland through grass and woodland.

POINT NEPEAN WALKS (16KM RETURN)

Best for? History enthusiasts who want to make it to the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula. You aren’t looking for anything too strenuous, preferring to take your time and enjoy the views.

A circuit track on mostly sealed roads takes you around WWII forts and tunnels, through scrubland to the headlands past historic landmarks and military points. Even those who may be slightly indifferent to the historical past of the southernmost part of the Mornington Peninsula can still appreciate the stunning views of both the Port Phillip Bay and Bass Coast.

As well as having evidence around Point Nepean of the earliest settlement in Victoria, the area is part of Boonwurrung country and plays a significant part in our Aboriginal heritage.

THE BAY TRAIL (28KM ONE-WAY)

Best for? Social walkers. The easiest section will appeal to those who like to see a lot of people and activity while walking.

This trail takes you through camping foreshores, past jetties and piers, and villages with cafes that you can pop into along the way. In the warmer months you can stop to paddle in the calm waters of the bays – you might even see a cheeky dolphin or two.

The path is paved for the majority of the way, and shared with bike riders, other walkers and dogs. Occasionally you will encounter sections of gravel and sand. Leaving Fort Nepean you will first pass through the well-known seaside towns of Portsea and Sorrento (which can feel like Melbourne on the Riviera over the summer months), with their splendid beachfront mansions.

From there you meander along past the Rye and Rosebud piers and foreshores – stopping in between at the White Cliffs lookout with panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay. It’s a relaxing walk, sheltered among the trees in places, detouring onto the sand in others – with plenty of options to linger in a nearby cafe.

 

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