THINGS TO DO ON THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA IN 2023
The comprehensive guide covers all the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula. From hiking well known paths like the Millionaires Walk, to strolling the pristine beaches and signing up for adrenelin pumping adventures to wineries and local gourmet food producers, this area has something for everyone.
We acknowledge the Bonwoorrung people are the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waterways of the Mornington Peninsula region
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Where is the Mornington Peninsula?
Just under 80km from the Melbourne CBD, about a 90 minute drive, this spectacular, wild, diverse, and family-friendly destination provides non-stop activities for a day trip or longer stay.
Before we dig into our ultimate list of things to do on the Mornington Peninsula we wanted to share our favourite guided experiences just in case you want to let someone else do the work!
Top 5 Mornington Peninsula Tours
If you prefer the idea of a guided experience while you are on the peninsula or would like to book a day tour from Melbourne these are our favourite options
- Best family experience with teens – Sorrento Waterbike Tours – a 90 minute ride on your own water bike from Sorrento to Portsea Pier.
- Best animal encounter – 2 Hour Snorkel and Swim with Seals – meet Australian fur seals and giant rays up close.
- Animal experience for non swimmers – Dolphin and Seal Watching Eco Boat Tour – a 90 minute cruise at Ticonderoga Bay Dolphin Sanctuary
- Best Foodie experience – Mornington Peninsula Hop on Hop off bus – 8 hours to explore the route filled with breweries, distilleries, winerays and farm door experiences.
- Best all round day tour from Melbourne – Mornington Peninsula & Hot Springs Tour – Ride Arthurs Seat Gondolas, Hike Cape Schanak and take a dip in the hot springs.
Ok now let’s go see what else you might like to do….
Hikes and walks on Mornington Peninsula
With two National Parks and close to a dozen more official state reserves and conservation parks the Mornington Peninsula feels eons away from the busy Melbourne CBD.
Miles of beaches, sand dunes, coastal paths, golf courses, and established rail trails, offer endless walking and hiking options. Here are some of the best:
The Famous Millionaires Walk
Locals love taking their dogs along this spectacular walk past lovely gardens and the Portsea mansions overlooking their private jetties and boathouses on beautiful Port Phillip Bay.
The walk can be taken from either the King Street or Lentell Avenue end of the walk. It’s a short, easy walk through gates and front gardens of the bayside residents lucky enough to live at this low cliffside location.
For a comprehensive article on everything, you need to know to take the Millionaire’s Walk, see Millionaire’s Walk: Portsea Mansions on Port Phillip Bay.
Location: King Street and Lentell Avenue, Portsea
Accessibility: This walk is not accessible
Sorrento-Portsea Artists’ Trail
This trail is the best way to discover Sorrento and Portsea. Incorporating the Millionaire’s Walk, the Sorrento-Portsea Artists’ Trail cannot realistically be done on foot in one day but is rather something to do in sections, perhaps on repeat visits, cause let’s face it, when you visit the Mornington Peninsula once you will be making plans to return!
The hunt for the stands that display the artworks painted at that site takes you over sand dunes, besides bathing boxes, to landmarks such as London Arch, and along cliffs, foreshores and jetties.
Location: 3236 Point Nepean Road, Sorrento
Accessibility: Most of this walk is not accessible. Download the official brochure of the trail here.
Walk in Port Nepean National Park
This is a fascinating National Park because of the diverse history of this land including its time as a military base. It also holds great sigificance to the traditional owners, the Boonwurrung people.
There are many aboriginal artefacts here as well as a memorial to the Australian Prime Minister, Harold Holt, who drowned while swimming at the Portsea Back Beach.
Multiple hiking trails run through the park waiting to be walked or e-biked. There is also a shuttle bus out to Fort Nepean and the tunnels where you can join a tour of the fort, the Gunnery, and a range of other military sites.
For a comprehensive article on what to see and do in the National Park,
see our Point Nepean Day Trip Itinerary
The Two Bays Walking Track
The Two Bays Track is a 26 kilometre walk from Dromana to Cape Schanck provides dramatic coastal views. Many people chose to do this as an overnight hike but it can be completed as a day hike if you have a good level of fitness.
Alternatively choose to walk one of the walks four sections which range from 2.6-12.6km. Along the way, markers featuring a Blue Wren within a circle, will help guide you and make it easier to stay on track.
The walk begins at the Dromana foreshore on Point Nepean Road and makes its way through Arthurs Seat State Park and Mornington Peninsula National Park.
If you would like to walk just part of the walk, the final section, which follows the main creek down to Bushrangers Bay and is unsurprisingly called the Bushrangers Bay section, is only 5km and will take you about 45 minutes to complete. There is a car park on Boneo Road if you wish to only take this section of the Two Bays Walking Track.
Location: 1350 Boneo Road, Cape Schanck
Accessibility: Most of the walk is not accessible with areas of uneven ground and loose rock.
The Red Hill Rail Trail
Walk, cycle or even ride a horse along the Red Hill Rail Trail for a great day of fun. Following the old railway line between Merricks and Red Hill you will find yourself right in the middle of wine country.
With gorgeous views out over Western Port Bay, a perfect incentive to complete the train is that that wonderful food and wine at either end of the Rail Trail.
Tip: It is uphill from Merricks and far easier to take the downhill trip from Red Hill to Merricks.
Location: Station Ground Recreation Reserve (northern side)
Accessibility: The trail is no suitable for regular wheelchairs although specialised chairs may be suitable. Three wheel prams can acess most of the track.
Balcome Estuary Boardwalk Circuit
This Boardwalk follows Balcome Creek and has been well designed with information posts along the way as well as the accompanying Yellow Robin Audio Trail.
The walk continues to a playground with a Lazy Lizard Audio trail and then to Mount Martha Beach and onto the shopping district.
At this point, there is another boardwalk on the opposite side of the Creek, or you can return along the Balcome Estuary Boardwalk. This is a very dog and kid-friendly walk.
Location: 499 Point Nepean Highway, Mount Martha
Accessibility: There are gravel sections and a wooden boardwalk. Suitable for prams with assistance in parts.
Sculpture Park Walks
The Sculpture dotted along the Mornington Peninsula has become one of it’s biggest tourist attraction. Within the Mornington Peninsula’s beautiful wineries are several wonderful walks you can take through their sculpture parks.
The most stunning of these is the Port Leo Sculpture Park but the most interesting (and family-friendly) walk is the Montalto Winery Sculpture Trail.
For a comprehensive article on the best Mornington Peninsula wineries and information on the Montalto and Point Leo Estate wineries’ sculpture walks and parks, see Best Mornington Peninsula Wineries.
Explore the Mornington Peninsula Beaches
The Mornington Peninsula has the advantage of straddling the ocean and Port Phillip Bay with the beaches and rugged coastline offering miles of stunning scenery. The “Back” beaches are the southern ocean beaches, and the “Front” beaches are the Bay beaches.
Mornington Peninsula National Park Beaches
Most of the back or ocean beaches along Bass Strait are part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park.
- Sorrento Back Beach
- Portsea Ocean Beach
- Koonya Ocean Beach
- Gunnamatta Ocean Beach
- Rye Ocean Beach
- Flinders Ocean Beach
The coves and rock pools at Cape Schanck are popular swimming and surfing spots for international tourists and Melburnians.
Some beaches along this stretch of the coast while beautiful can be treacherous. If you are visiting an ocean beach always make a point of looking for the red and yellow flags and never swim alone.
Sorrento Back Beach
Sorrento Back Beach has the advantage of being close to Sorrento and Portsea and offering facilities such as free car parking, toilets, and a cafe. The rock pools are an added bonus.
Location: Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento VIC
Portsea Ocean Beach
Not for the faint-hearted, the waves crashing along the long span of the Portsea Ocean (Back) Beach can be treacherous in bad weather.
The many small rock pools are however a lovely spot for small children.
Location: Portsea Ocean Beach Access Upper Rd.
Accesibility: The beach can be viewed from a platform above but access is via a steep track.
Sorrento Front Beach
Stretching along the Sorrento foreshore and promenade, this is a long stretch of white sand with the calm bay and jetties that are a favorite place for families.
Location: Point Nepean Rd, Sorrento
Accessibilty: A beach mat is available (next to the Baths Restaurant)
Facing the small towns of Rye, this is a long, beautiful, and clear bayside beach, perfect for walking, swimming, and great for families.
Location: Bay Trail, Rye VIC
Mount Martha Beach
A 2km long family friendly beach Mount Matha attracts instagrammers with its colourful bathing boxes. It’s consider by many to be the best beach on the peninsula. There are BBQ’s, a playground and a beach access map you can book at the surf club.
The southern end of the beach is preferred for swimming and relaxing.
Location: 465 Esplanade, Mount Martha
Discover the coastal towns of Mornington Peninsula
There are many vibrant towns along the coast and a longer stay at the Mornington Peninsula is highly rewarding
Snoop around Sorrento
Sorrento boasts a beautiful foreshore, some wonderful small bars and restaurants, and a shopping strip that includes upmarket clothes boutiques and art galleries.
It has more accommodation than neighboring Portsea. It also has everyday necessities for an extended stay such as banks, postal services, and supermarkets.
Portsea is the premiere holiday house destination for wealthy Melburnians. The clifftop mansions are best seen on the aptly named Millionaire’s Walk.
The small town includes the Portsea Pier where you can look for weedy sea dragons, and is home to the Portsea Hotel which has great views over the pier and Bay.
Portsea ends in the Point Nepean National Park. As a result, there is limited accommodation but it draws crowds because of its beauty and affluence.
Shop Markets and Local Produce
Weekend visitors on the hunt for some fresh produce should check out the Red Hill Community market. This Farmers Market is the best one stop shop for to tasting and buying the regions best produce.
Other markets to check out include:
- Mornington Racecourse
- Dromana Indoor Market
Check the dates of the Mornington markets here
Rocky Creek Strawberry Farm
The popular U-Pick activities that were previously offered under the name Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm have returned to their previous owners the Gallace Family. There are now four generations of the family working the farm so you can be sure to find some great strawberries here.
Strawberries can be picked here from November through to April between 10am and 5pm. Year round you can visit the onsite cafe and shop for some delicious strawberry ice cream, fresh jam or a delicous devonshire tea.
Location: 244 Shands Road, Main Ridge
Main Ridge Dairy
This is one of the best stops to try and stock up on the variety of local cheeses produced in eastern Victoria. It is the only farmhouse cheesery and dairy on the Mornington Peninsula.
Location: 295 Main Creek Road, Main Ridge
Red Hill Truffles
Organic Périgord truffles are grown at this truffière where owner, Jenny McAuley will help you hunt under the oak and hazelnut trees. Hunts and tasting are great fun here and you can purchase the truffle that you find on your truffle hunt.
A farmgate shop sells all things truffle from butter and salts to honey and mustard. A must for truffle afficinados.
Location: 235 Arthurs Seat Road, Red Hill
Green Olive Farm
The number of experiences on offer at Green Olive Farm is pretty amazing. Choose from a sustainable farm tour, a native bushfood experience or even a wildflower crown workshop!
For hungry visitors there are picnic packs, and both brunch and lunch are served in the cafe.
Location: 1180 Mornington Flinders Road, Main Ridge
Accssibility: Green Olive offers an excellent experience for wheelchair users in both the idnoor and outdoor dining spaces. There is also an accesible bathroom and parking area.
Mornington Peninsula Attractions
When it comes to family friendly attractions there is plenty to choose from in the region.
Point Nepean Quarantine Station
Located within the Point Nepean National Park, this abandoned Quarantine station contains dozens of buildings free to walk through. It is an eerie, beautiful, and haunting location.
Initially set up to isolate ship crew and passengers during the last global pandemic, the Spanish Influenza, the station is a fascinating look at how large-scale infrastructure was created in Australia to deal with housing and feeding passengers, and disinfecting baggage.
It’s also fascinating to see how different “types” and “classes” of people were treated. Consumptive and lepers areas were created and there is a cemetery, morgue, and memorial to those who died.
Mornington Peninsula Wineries
The Mornington Peninsula is home to large and small vineyards, many with organic and boutique restaurants, cellar doors, and accommodation.
There are some exceptional cool-climate varieties produced here and the vines have been in production since the 19th century.
Whites such as Chardonnay have traditionally been produced here, with Point Noir a more recent favourite.
For a comprehensive article on the best wineries of the Mornington Peninsula, including the best cellar door options and accommodation among the vineyards.
Port Phillip Bay Dolphins
There are approximately 80 wild bottlenose dolphins in Port Phillip Bay. From October to April tours that include the boat tour, snorkeling, swimming, and looking for sea dragons can be booked.
There are also lots of fur seals to experience swimming with and there is no minimum age for participants.
Several companies (including Moonraker and Polperra) operate these eco-friendly tours that range from 90 minutes to three hours. Find out more about the dolphin and seal swims and prebook your experience.
Sorrento to Queenscliff Ferry
The Sorrento to Queenscliff Ferry connects the two heads of Port Phillip Bay. In practical terms, that means it connects Melbourne’s two main ocean attractions – the Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road.
The ferry port is located at the Sorrento Pier. Seaport Ferries operate every hour, on the hour, from 7am to 6pm.
It is a passenger and vehicle service and the crossing only takes 45 minutes, making it a great way to get out onto Port Phillip Bay as well as a great way to extend your holiday to the Bellarine Peninsula. Tickets are approx $14 each way for pedestrians.
Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse has been guarding ships against coming aground from the treacherous Bass Strait 80 meters below, since 1859.
Tours of the working lighthouse and maritime museum are offered daily.
Whale watching, a boardwalk and stairs to the beach below, and a series of coastal bush walks are all reasons to venture out to Cape Schank.
The RACV Cape Schanck Resort is a great base to explore the lighthouse and its surroundings.
Location: 420 Cape Schanck Rd, Cape Schanck
Accessibility: There is disabled parking and ramp access to the site. There is also an all abilities toilet. See this video guide on the accessibility of the site for more details.
Arthurs Seat Eagle
This is a spectacular gondola ride up through the bushland of Arthurs Seat State Park with Port Phillip Bay far below. Perhaps the best known of the MorningtonPeninsula attractions the Gondola will take you to the highest point on the peninsula.
The ride from the bottom station to the summit 314m above sea level takes 14 mintues giving you plenty of time to take in the stunning views over the bay and all way way back to Melbourne.
From the summit station, you can walk to the lookouts or pause at the cafe before beginning your descent.
Location: 795 Arthurs Seat Road, Arthurs Seat
Accessibility: The gondolas are accessible with level access to the gondola, ramps and a changing places facility at the summit station.
Enchanted Adventure Garden
Kids get to experience their bodies soaring through the sky on treetop zip lines, zooming along in tube slides, getting confused in hedge mazes, navigating aerial obstacles and tree surfing, and walking through the treetops on a canopy walk in the Enchanted Adventure Garden.
The Garden is minutes away from the Arthurs Seat Eagle and together it’s a pretty great day out for kids! Add in a beach and you might just be the most popular parent in Victoria that day!
Location: 21 Purves Road, Arthurs Seat
Accessibility: 2 accessible bathrooms, ramps to cafe and some areas of the park and limited car parking spaces. See more details on accessibility here.
Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens
If you need more mazes in one day, then Ashcombe Maze is definitely worth a visit. It is an famous hedge maze and not at all simple to successfully navigate!
The rose maze here is believed to be the oldest circular rose maze in the world. Many people come here to visit the lavender gardens and there is also a “Great Gnome Hunt.”
Location: 14 Red Hill – Shoreham Road, Shoreham
Accessiblilty: Lavender Labyrinth and Circular Rose Gardens are accessibly however the Maze is very narrow in spots and may not be suitable for wheelchairs and prams.
Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
Another great experience for kids and also visitors from other countries, the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park is a 25-hectare site that is part of the Peacedale Conservation Park.
The Sanctuary provides animal experiences including getting up close and personal with dingoes and dingo puppies, wombats, koalas, wallabies, Barn Owls, Pythons, and Kangaroos.
Location: 550 Tyabb-Tooradin Road, Peacedale
Accessibilty: The park is accessible and you can even use one of their wheelchairs if you need to. There are accessible toilet facilities adjacent to the visitor centre.
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery
All this natural beauty has attracted artists to the region for decades. Consequently the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery is a must for art lovers.
Location: Civic Reserve, Dunns Road, Mornington
Accessibiliy: The gallery is accessible and has an accessible bathroom.
Peninsula Hot Springs
One of the most popular weekend attractions on the Mornington Peninsula is the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs. The property takes advantage of the natural geothermal hot springs to offer a relaxing break for city slickers.
On offer is a cave pool, hilltop pool, Turkish steam bath, a family bathing area and even a reflexology walk .
For some special pampering there is a day epa, bath house massage service, are all part of the relaxation experience offered at the Peninsula Hot Springs.
Location: 140 Springs Lane, Fingal
Accessibility: Some areas of the Hot Springs are accessible. They recommend you contact the staff before booking to discuss your visit.
Where to Stay on the Mornington Peninsula
Here you have a choice of hotels, including a handful of resorts, which you need to book early, and camping along the beautiful foreshore of the main towns of the Peninsula.
For a comprehensive article on the best hotels, and camping in the Portsea area, see Coolest Hotels in Portsea and the Best Camping and Hotels.
- Now that you’ve seen the Mornington Peninsula, you must see the other side of Melbourne’s coastline: the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles.
- Check the full range of 12 Apostles day tours here
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