The small village of Portsea is the last retail precinct at the end of the Mornington Peninsula and boasts a dive shop, small eatery and the famous Portsea Hotel (built in 1927) that overlooks the pier. The area is known for having some of the most expensive real estate in Australia with clifftop mansions that exude luxury and style on a very grand scale, and the local golf course has impressive views towards Port Phillip.
East of the pier is Point Franklin where a scenic walking track provides elevated views over Shelley Beach to the east and across Port Phillip. The village is adjacent to Point Nepean, right at the tip of the Peninsula, which is the best-known feature of the Mornington Peninsula National Park. The section was closed to the public for more than 100 years, but visitors can now walk it, cycle it and delve into a remarkable military history that dates back to the 1880s.
The Portsea Surf Beach faces the Bass Strait ocean and is a big attraction as it offers an impressive long stretch of sand and great surfing conditions given the large waves and strong tides that are often present. Spectacular views along this ocean coast can be had from the walking trails that form part of the longer Coastal Walk. A highlight is the scenic coastal pathway that meanders to lookouts and the rocky archway known as London Bridge.
Portsea is considered by many to be the hub of the Mornington Peninsula’s recreational scuba diving activities, so you will often find dive boats that travel to world-class marine national park sites both inside Port Phillip and outside Port Phillip Heads. Port Phillip is a nursery for the wild bottlenose dolphins and their major birthing place is off Point Nepean. There are approximately 90 bottlenose dolphins living and breeding in Port Phillip. The Portsea Pier is the home to the spectacular weedy sea dragon, numerous pufferfish and many other fish species.
Portsea is approximately a 1 hour and 40-minute drive (110 kilometres) south of Melbourne.