Local, State & National Parks

Discover some of the region's finest

Everyone knows about the glorious beaches and fabulous wines of the Mornington Peninsula, but the state and national parks really are the region’s best kept secrets. But the best thing is, they’re easily accessible and simply beautiful.

So here are some insider tips. Walk right to the end of the Mornington Peninsula at Point Nepean National Park, which is rich in military history. Or explore some of the spectacular coastline of the Mornington Peninsula National Park along Bass Strait. At night, go to the highest point of the Peninsula at Arthurs Seat State Park and see the lights sparkling right around Port Phillip.

The peninsula is a 720 square kilometre boot-shaped promontory separating two contrasting bays: Port Phillip and Western Port. The peninsula contains a diversity of scenic landscapes and is almost surrounded by the sea, with coastal boundaries of over 190 kilometres, a total of approximately 10 per cent of Victoria’s coastline. From picturesque coastal scenes to the natural beauty of our National Parks, the Mornington Peninsula is a region of striking contrasts. With tranquil bays, wild ocean beaches and fascinating marine parks, to picture perfect national parkland and serene walking trails; this intriguing part of the world is an adventure playground just waiting to be explored.

The region features more than 25,000 hectares of National Parks which offer a spectacular mix of rugged coastline, serene wetland areas and wild, untamed bushland. Take a walk, a ride (by bike or even horseback) and connect with the local flora and fauna in these picturesque landscapes.

Drive to the top of Arthurs Seat through the Arthurs Seat State Park, and take in incredible views of Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas. On a clear day the view extends as far as the city skyline, the You Yangs and Mount Macedon. At 305 metres, this is the Peninsula’s highest point. Visit the delightful 34-hectare Seawinds Garden featuring indigenous and exotic formal gardens, along with sculptures by William Ricketts, or there are a number of delightful walks including the pleasant one hour circuit walk to Kings Falls.

Walk right to the tip of the Mornington Peninsula in the Point Nepean National Park, past the old Quarantine Station, World War Two military defences, along coastal and bush tracks. There’s a hop-on hop-off shuttle bus that runs from the Quarantine Station to Fort Nepean with four stops along the way. Discover the historical precinct of the Quarantine Station which has almost 50 heritage listed buildings. Cheviot Hill is the park’s highest point and overlooks Cheviot Beach, the site where former Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared without a trace in December 1967. Explore the Eagles Nest and Fort Pearce lookouts from the fortifications with stunning views of Bass Strait. Discover a series of military fortifications at Fort Nepean dating back to the 1880s with stunning views of Port Phillip and Bass Strait. Explore the tunnels, forts and gun emplacements from which the first allied shots of World War I and first Australian shots of World War II were fired.

The Mornington Peninsula National Park adjoins Point Nepean National Park, encompassing 26km of beach and cliff walks along Bass Strait from London Bridge right to Cape Schanck, plus the coastline around Flinders and beautiful Greens Bush just inland a little. Bushrangers Bay, London Bridge, Portsea Back Beach, Diamond Bay, Coppins Track and Cape Schanck offer stunning landscapes; the mystery of dramatic volcanic features, unspoilt and wild beaches and scenic walking tracks with spectacular ocean views. Cape Schanck is also a site of rich European history with its heritage listed lighthouse precinct.

Situated between Arthurs Seat and Cape Schanck, Greens Bush is the largest remnant of bushland on the Peninsula. Surrounded by farmland, this island of native forest is a tranquil gem and a wildlife haven, with kangaroos and wallabies feeding in the early morning or at dusk, and birdlife including wrens, colourful parrots, kites and soaring eagles.

French Island National Park is a true paradise. Accessible only by a 30 minute passenger ferry ride, from Stony Point, French Island is a haven of peace and serenity, home to a diverse range of wildlife and containing environments ranging from mangrove saltmarsh areas to open woodlands. Explore the park at leisure by bus, bike or on foot, using the network of public roads and management tracks. There are whole day, half day and shorter walks and rides starting at Tankerton Foreshore Reserve.

Our Marine National Parks are blessed with a rich and diverse selection of marine life just waiting for you to ‘dive in’. Rocky reefs and underwater forests, sandy plains and sponge gardens… shipwrecks to dive around, and unique sea life to discover. Western Port is Victoria's second largest bay and contains three Marine National Parks; Yaringa Marine National Park, French Island Marine National Park, and Churchill Island Marine National Park. At the southern end of Port Phillip lies the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park comprising of six separate areas; Swan bay, Mud Islands, Pope's Eye, Point Lonsdale, Point Nepean and Portsea Hole.