With so many things to do on the Mornington Peninsula, you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, hot springs, wildlife, wineries, restaurants, amazing vibes and the best coffee in Victoria.

With a coast line 190 kilometres long, encasing the eastern half of Port Phillip bay, the Mornington Peninsula is home to some of the most scenic and incredible landscapes state wide – it’s also a place we personally call home.

Having lived and worked on the Mornington Peninsula for years, some of the best beaches in the world living so close to a dense population is a god-send and is something we never take for granted! 

If you’re unsure of what to do on the Mornington Peninsula, fear not; as this guide has been personally curated and experienced by yours truly and will include nothing but the best of the best!

Note this article contains affiliate links where I may or may not earn a commission from potential sales

Check this out >> The Mornington Peninsula is just one of many incredible places to visit when you travel to Victoria as you’ll find in this article here

The Top 30 Things to do on the Mornington Peninsula

Table of Contents

After driving far and wide for many months tasting the best breweries, sampling the best wineries, photographing the most scenic views for the perfect destination, we feel very confident to bring you this densely compacted list of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.

Enter the Gateway to the Mornington Peninsula – Frankston 

The suburbian seaside city of Frankston is where we call our home.

Frankston makes number 1 on the list of things to do on the Mornington Peninsula, and although it may not be as pretty as its counterparts, there are a few key things you have to do to make your day perfect. 

Our two favourite spots to get your day started out right are by first visiting Tim and his crew at Nutrition 6 in the middle of Frankston CBD.

For a great coffee head into Common Folk on the main street of Frankston. There’s also the original store in the industrial estates of Mornington if you’re down that way too where you can see how local produce is used in the preparing of their meals.

Get the best of both worlds by exploring the Mornington Peninsula on a small group tour filled with Winery tours, Cheese and Chocolate tasting from a personalised guide from Melbourne down to Flinders at the most budget friendly price!

Admire the views from Olivers Hill Lookout

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The lookout at Olivers Hill in Frankston

If its viewpoints your after then look no further.

To this day when driving down we still can’t believe how freakin beautiful this view is from up here at Olivers Hill Lookout.

Driving North along Nepean highway coming down into Frankston gives you incredibly impressive views over Port Phillip Bay and on a clear day, you can very easily see Melbourne cbd.

Once the home of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, it’s one of the best free things to see on the Mornington Peninsula.

Address: Olivers Hill Lookout, Nepean Highway, Frankston VIC 3199 

Visit Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park

A friend of ours suggested this place to us years ago when we first moved to the Mornington Peninsula, and we are so glad she did because I think we have been maybe 3 or 4 times; we’ve even taken Laura’s mum!

Moonlit Animal Sanctuary is an Australian Wildlife Conservation facility that’s proudly family owned since 2001 that also features lovely gardens showcasing native australian flora.

The aim of the sanctuary is conservation through responsible breeding and re-introduction of those species into the wild.

Moonlit sanctuary is the ultimate facility for tourists to get up close and personal with aussie wildlife considered endangered species.

what to do on the Mornington Peninsula
Laura feeding a Kangaroo at Moonlit animal Sanctuary conservation park

Go on a hike through the bush that displays fauna that was once present in the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port biosphere reserve prior to European settlement.

You’ll have the opportunity to feed the Kangaroos & Wallabies with over 14 species of Marsupials, birds, reptiles and amphibians you could come across.

For example, the Tasmanian Devil was once found across all of Mainland Australia, but successful conservation efforts by the sanctuary have saved the Tasmanian Devil from the brink of extinction.

It’s Mornington Peninsula activities like these that really make a day trip here from the city well worth it!!

Moonlit Sanctuary Information

  • Opening hours 0930-1600
  • Prices: $26/Adult, $13/Child, Pre-bookings are essential during Covid
  • Night time tours operating Wednesday-Sunday from 830pm
  • Bring your camera, water and a hat
  • Book your experience at Moonlit in Pearcedale for a day tour with the family. 
  • Address: 550 Tyabb-Tooradin Rd, Pearcedale VIC 3912
  • Make a whole day adventure out of it and book your trip to Moonlit and Phillip Island here
  • Website: Visit the Moonlit Sanctuary website for more tour information

Wander around Mornington main street

Of course an article about all the things to do on the Mornington Peninsula would not be complete without including the town of which it’s named after; Mornington! 

Mornington main street is the most popular destination and family friendly attractions for both locals and tourist showcasing a wide range of take away businesses, art galleries, plant shops, local produce stores and a gajillion cafes and restaurants.

You should never be asking yourself what to do in Mornington as every Wednesday morning, the main street is transformed into a fresh produce market and the road is generally blocked off from car traffic meaning vendors and customers can walk up and down the main street unaffected by traffic.

The next trip on your list should be this private, budget friendly tour filled with wine, cheese and chocolate all the way from Melbourne to Flinders in a small air-conditioned mini-bus!

Mornington is 57 km from Melbourne CBD and it quickly became the gateway to the rest of the Mornington Peninsula.

Originally named Schnapper Point, it’s now the central hub for the entire Mornington Peninsula.

After you’ve finished strolling the main street, we recommend heading to the corner of Dunns rd and Tyabb road and checking out the Mornington Peninsula Regional contemporary art gallery.

Go for a walk along Mornington Pier

The 46m pier was built in 1858 that’s a fantastic place of an evening to take a stroll and walk off the gelato you just ate, whilst watching the many fishermen who travel here for an evening dinner run.

Follow the end of Schnapper Point Drive past the Mornington Yacht Club where youll find the Pier.

There are a number of scattered treasures from a time gone by along the main drag, like the old Post office on the corner of the Esplanade and main st.

Not only is Mornington one of our favourite spots on the entire Mornington Peninsula, it’s also the largest town outside of Frankston city between Frankston and Sorrento.

Read Next >> Your guide to the best outdoor markets this side of the Mornington Peninsula

Visit the Mornington Post Office

The post office served as a sorting point when the mail would arrive to the Mornington Peninsula by boat, dragged along the Pier by horse and cart and finally delivered to the post office.

It’s also the site of Mornington’s first telephone exchange which opened in 1905.

Sunbathe at the Beach Boxes at Mills Beach

Just east of the pier and Mothers Beach, Mills beach has a small but pretty collection of colourful beach huts all decorated and in specific ways, like the Australia flag or an old pirate ship with rusted out anchors and boat rope.

things to do Mornington Peninsula
The Grant Hotel in Mornington is one of the oldest hotels in Victoria

Have a pint at the oldest hotel in Melbourne

You cannot leave Mornington without getting a pint of beer at one of the oldest hotels in all of Melbourne and indeed the Mornington Peninsula, the Grand Hotel.

Originally built in 1889 and opened in 1892, built as an alcohol-free Grand Coffee Palace designed by famed Melbourne architect William Pitt.

Visitor Info:

Address: Schnapper Point Dr, Mornington 3931 VIC

Plenty of parking along Schnapper Point, alternatively you can park further towards Main st Mornington and walk the way towards the end. 

Stroll through the gorgeous Mount Martha

The beautiful Mt Martha is quite a large suburban town with a small shopping precinct with cute designer stores, cafes and restaurants and all that sits opposite the beautiful Mt Martha beach front.

Of all the places to visit on the Mornington Peninsula this is one of our favourites and it’s also very close to our home.

The corner shops on Lochiel Avenue are beautiful and unique; Volpino is a great place to sit and enjoy a coffee on the terrace outside or for a warm, inside meal or head to the top terrace of San marco and enjoy a red wine admiring the views over Mt Martha beach.

Before you start exploring the rest of the beautiful Mornington Peninsula we personally recommend getting on board the best winery, chocolate and cheese tasting guide that runs in a small group all day from Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula.

On a calm, summer day when the sky is clear and the water is flat, the view from above is incredible, showcasing the hidden rock pools and shallow sandy reefs that encircle the cliff face, basically a fantastic demonstration as to why so many people flock to the Mornington Peninsula.

In our opinion one of the best beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, the beach is relatively safe and waters are generally calm enough to go stand up paddle boarding.’

Not far from the beach is the Mt Martha public golf course of Forest Dr.

Mt Martha Visitor Info:

The beach is perfectly safe to swim at, with a dedicated picnic area and toilet facilities available all year round and not far from plenty of family friendly attractions.

Address: Esplanade, Mount Martha 3934 VIC

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Mt martha beach boxes – image courtesy Visit Victoria

Gor for a jog along Balcombe Creek Boardwalk

The Balcombe Creek Boardwalk and Balcombe estuary reserve just east of the beach is accessible from the Esplanade, the main road that lines the coast of the Mornington Peninsula.

A 2.5km stretch of boardwalks that traverse through the Balcombe Creek and bushland Reserve and Briars homestead that is home to lovely gardens of native flora and fauna, some of which are native and specific to the Mornington Peninsula. 

A beautiful conservation site that combines a mix of a wildlife sanctuary, a heritage listed homestead, eco-living display centre and an astronomy centre all accessible along the Balcombe boardwalks. 

The Mornington Peninsula’s traditional owners, the Boonwurrung/Bunurong of the Kulin Nation called this area home for thousands of years and named this area Tji’tjin’garook – the voice of frogs.

Briars historic homestead

The Briars historic homestead, known as ‘The Briars’ is a 230 hectare property that was originally built by some of the first european settlers to the Mornington Peninsula region in the 1840’s.

The majority of the estate was sold to the National Trust of Australia and the Mornington Peninsula shire in 1976 and the homestead was gifted to the Shire.

On site you will also find a cafe, and outdoor education camp as well as an astronomy centre and dedicated picnic lawns.

Visitor Info: 

Address: Watsons Road, Mount Martha 

Website: Visit the official Briars website for the most up to date information and tours

Visit the Pillars

A favourite amongst Melburnians far and wide, it’s one of the best Mornington Peninsula attractions.

The Pillars are a rocky outcrop hidden in the cliffs below used as a jumping platform into the water below.

The best time to visit here is during the summer when the water is warmer, the sun is shining and the Mornington Peninsula locals come out of hiding and visit their favourite hangouts.

There are no parking spaces along here and the neighbouring streets have removed the parking signs to deter people visiting the cliffs as it’s largely unprotected by lifeguards.

Make no mistake, if you are an inexperienced swimmer or the swell happens to be larger than expected on the day there is every chance you can injure yourself, so tread with caution!

Visitor Info:

  • There is no parking on the main street, so you will need to park in the surrounding streets nearby between Deakin drive and Marguerita Avenue.
  • Address: The Pillars, Esplanade Mount Martha 3934
Things to do Mornington Peninsula

Visit Safety Beach on the Mornington Peninsula

Topping our list of the best beaches on the entire Mornington Peninsula, the tropical   paradise of Safety Beach.

A roughly 3.5km stretch of white sandy beach and crystal clear waters that make you feel as if you’ve woken up on a deserted Island in the middle of French Polynesia and is most definitely on our list of all the best Mornington Peninsula things to do.

Your own slice of paradise; sunsets at night are spectacular and is a relatively quiet place given this is one of the largest stretches of pristine sand anywhere along the Mornington Peninsula.

If you’re looking for a great guide to beach hopping around the Mornington Peninsula then maybe you should have a look at our article on the best beaches on the Peninsula.

The perfect stretch of white sand that looks out towards Port Phillip Bay and on a very clear day you can make out the tip of the Bellarine Peninsula from where you can eventually start the epic journey along the Great Ocean Road.

For a very similar vibe with a more populated shopping district head up the road to Dromana and walk along Point Nepean road.

Dromana pier is another gem of the Mornington Peninsula as there are always two large, local stingrays that glide through the water around the pier at dawn and dusk.

Visitor Info: 

Address: Marine Dr, Safety Beach, VIC 3936

Car Park: End of Marine Dr opposite the Dog beach at the Northern End

Entrance: Free

Sink back a few at Jetty Road Brewery in Dromana

A must on your list of best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula, the Jetty Road Brewery in Dromana.

A thoughtful and unique brewery that provides an educational environment for those wanting to learn about the craft beer making process and how it is accessible and enjoyable to all involved.

One of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula is to take a day trip down here from the city and enjoy the brew these guys have worked so hard to perfect.

With a list of roughly 8 in-house brews, Jetty Rd brewery has you covered with everything from Pale Ale, Draught through to IPA and their delicious Chocolate Stout.

Location: 12-14 Brasser Av, Dromana

Drink Prices: standard pot from $6-$8 to their Pints from $11-$13 

Balnarring

Now if this is your first time exploring Victoria and everything you have heard of or researched on all the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula, then chances are high that all the recommendations suggest sticking to the coast and following the water.

A local favourite of ours and a top Mornington Peninsula activity is to visit the Emu Plains Market, located on Coolart Rd in Balnarring.

Laura and I go almost every year excited for the hot summer day to explore the local handcraft & delicious food stalls and great vibes!

An eclectic mix of culture, art, food and design, the Emu Plains Market is a fantastic Mornington Peninsula market that not many tourists and visitors know of.

I am a fiend for Turkish Delight (the vegan kind) and there is a guy here that makes the most delicious Turkish Delight you can find anywhere along the Mornington Peninsula.

Cost of Entry: Free, have min $60 cash on hand

Parking: Gold coin donation

Time to visit: The 2020/21 season will run from December 19th- April 17th

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Ashcombe maze and lavender gardens in Arthurs Seat – image credit Visit Victoria

Get lost in Shoreham – Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens

The Ashcombe Maze and Lavender gardens in Shoreham are a perfect day out for the romantic couple or chill-seekers who want nothing more than a relaxing walk in a beautiful Lavender Rose garden and to get lost in hedge mazes.

Surprisingly, it is Australia’s oldest traditional and most famous hedge maze, constituting more than 1000 Cypress trees on 25 acres of year-round blooming Lavender.

Take a self-guided tour through the beautiful Lavender gardens, and don’t forget to stop by the Ashcombe cafe on the way out and grab yourself a Lavender infused meal!

You can visit their website for the most up to date information and offers 

Cost of Entry: 

Adult: $18.50

Children: <15 $10.00

Children <3YO: FREE

Seniors/Health Care Card holders: $16.50

Cafe entrance: Free if you don’t want to walk through the maze

Try the Tapas menu with Olive Green at Red Hill Winery 

South Australia has the Barossa Valley, NSW has the Hunter Valley; the Mornington Peninsula has Red Hill.

One of our favourite wineries here is Green Olive at Red Hill and whilst not technically in Red Hill, its name will confuse some as it is located in Main Ridge. 

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Chris and Laura Travels at Green Olive in Red Hill winery

The folk down at Green Olive at Red Hill provide their wonderful food in a tapas style food and wine menu, where local produce is the name of the game.

Green Olive at Red Hill grow their own grapes, olives, herbs and veggies on site for all to enjoy.

What sets apart Green Olive at Red Hill from just being a cellar door, is the opportunity for cooking classes in the upstairs section of the restaurant, one of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula in our opinion.

Book your classes here to learn everything from Pasta making, the art of wood-fire pizza, meet the chef or simply purchase a gift voucher. 

Visitor Info:

Book a day at Green Olive and enjoy the experience of cooking classes here.

Address: Green Olive at Red Hill, 1180 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Main Ridge 3928

Montalto Sculpture Trail

Montalto Winery is an award winning winery based in Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula, home to some fairly unique and dazzling sculptures and garden grounds.

The trail through these grounds run for 1 km over grassy lawns, gravel pathways and boardwalks that winds through the Sculpture Park showcasing a collection of 30+ monuments.

Related Article>> You should only ever visit the very best wineries on the Mornington Peninsula

Open all year from 11am till 5pm, allow approximately one hour to enjoy this estate in Red Hill.

Fly high in Arthurs Seat- – One of the most popular things to do on the Mornington Peninsula

Have you ever heard Seals song “Fly like an Eagle”? Well you just might have the opportunity to do that in Arthurs Seat! 

Undoubtedly the highest point on the Mornington Peninsula, sits the summit of Arthurs Seat.

A truly unique experience and one of the best Mornington Peninsula activities, Arthurs seat chair lift is one of a kind.

Arching over Dromana and Arthurs Seat state park, you will gain 314m of elevation with some of the most scenic and spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay.

You will most definitely get the chance to view Melbourne CBD from here on a clear sunny day!

Things to do on the Mornington Peninsula

Arthurs Seat Eagle Cable Car

The drive up Arthurs Seat Road will get you to the base of the arthurs seat park and a fantastic attraction on the Mornington Peninsula.

Steeped high on top the hill, is one of Australia’s only Cable car rides, second to that of Hobart’s Mt. Wellington & the Blue Mountains in NSW and undoubtedly one of the most fascinating Mornington Peninsula things to see, the Arthurs Seat Eagle cable car.

Why not do a Day trip from Melbourne to the Peninsula and Arthurs Seat or hire a bike and do a bike tour of the Peninsula?

The summit of Arthurs Seat holds the Arthurs Seat Eagle, a 2km loop system consisting of 34 Gondolas manufactured in Switzerland that overlook Arthurs Seat state park. 

A 15 minute ride each way and access for all, the Gondolas offer the opportunity to view the Mornington Peninsula in a way that was only once possible via a Helicopter. 

Website: visit their website for the most up to date information.

Arthurs Seat Eagle Chair lift Info:

  • Each Gondola can hold 8 people 
  • There is an option to take the Gondola one way only, either from the SUmmit of From the Base Station
  • One-way tickets are cheaper than return, at $15 one-way p.p
  • The Gondolas are wheelchair and stroller friendly

Opening Hours:

From Friday 4th December the Gondola operates from 10am-5pm daily 

26th December to 31st january 9am-6pm 

Every August the Gondola is closed for Major maintenance

Price: $24/adult

Child 4-16: $15

Concession: $21 

Discover a whole new world in the Enchanted Adventure garden

The enchanted adventure garden is an award winning natural attraction based in Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula is an adventure playground for all ages where you can ride a cable flying fox, tree surfing course, canopy walk, tube slides and a hedged maze that the kids can enjoy.

General admission into this Mornington Peninsula tourist attraction will cost adults $35 and children 3-17 years old for $25 per person.

The canopy walk was our favourite thing to do here at the enchanted adventure garden and very similar to the otway fly on the great ocean road.

The enchanted adventure garden is hidden in the hinterland of the Peninsula and is one of the best family friendly attractions to participate in.

SeaWinds Gardens

Once you’ve finished your cable car ride, your next adventure begins through the Seawinds Gardens in Arthurs Seat State Park, only a short walk from the Summit Cable car and on the opposite side to the Enchanted Adventure Garden.

A 34 hectare gardens area provides visitors with multiple tracks through the well maintained gardens, as well as an impressive sculpture park by William ricketts, a Melbourne Sculptor who spent an extensive amount of time in the Northern Territory.

You can Visit the Seawinds Gardens website right here for future up to date information and offers

Cost of Entry: 

Free

Opening hours: All day from 10am to 430pm on weekday and 5pm weekends until the car park is closed 

Address: Seawinds entry road via Purves Road, Arthurs Seat 

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Strawberry pickers at Main Ridge strawberry farm -Visit Victoria image credit

Go Strawberry picking at Sunnyridge Strawberry Farm in Main Ridge

If fruit is your thing, then Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm in Main Ridge is all you need.

Open every season to visitors, the best times to go is between November and April when the season is at its highest.

One of the best family friendly Mornington Peninsula activities you could do, pick your own strawberries and take them home for the whole family to enjoy.

The cafe on-site serves delicious selections of berry-based desserts including fondue, sundaes and milkshakes. If this is not enough for you, you can easily combine an entire day of food and wine along the Melbourne coast from here. 

Sunny Ridge strawberry farm on the Mornington Peninsula grows their own raspberries, blueberries and blackberries all available in store or to be hand picked in the farm.

Visitor Info: 

  • Outside U-pick season, no access to the field is permitted
  • Everyone entering the field MUST purchase a punnet of fruit
  • The cafe is open all all year
  • This perfect Day trip from Melbourne includes a stop at Sunny Ridge

Prices: 

  • $10/adult (500gm punnet)
  • $5/child 4-14 years old (half punnet)
  • 3 and under are free – no punnet included

Opening hours:

  • November to April (U pick season) 0900-1700
  • May to October Fri-Sun 1100-1800

Address: 244 Shands Rd, Main Ridge VIC 3928

andrewseadragon
Shot by my dive buddy @AndrewKing

Flinders 

If crowds are not your thing and you’re interested in checking out some of the Mornington Peninsula’s more charming & hidden seaside villages, then make your way down to the South Eastern section of the Peninsula and admire the cross-section between Western Port Bay and Bass Strait.

On the eastern coast of Western Port Bay you will find Flinders pier, a 250m long Pier that’s home to the incredible Weedy Sea Dragon, a type of Sea Dragon found all over the world.

If you are an avid Scuba Diver and don’t mind the colder conditions of Melbourne waters, then one of the coolest and most unique things to do on the Mornington Peninsula is to get certified for your Open Water Scuba Diver.

Go searching for Flinders Blowhole

Halfway between Cairns Bay and mushroom reef marine sanctuary is Flinders Blowhole, one of the only blow holes on the southern side of the Mornington Peninsula.

A wooden staircase from the top of Blowhole track leads you down to the lookout of the blowhole which naturally forms the end of Elephant Rock, leading into the Southern Ocean.

Flinders Cargo Shed museum

Built in 1871, this unassuming yellow building used to be used as a port for assembling heavy goods in the late 1800’s into the 1900’s. The cargo shed also had a role in setting up and relaying important communication between mainland Australia and Tasmania.

Am underwater long cable that ran 320 km from Tasmania to mainland Australia, via Darwin to the rest of the world.

The electrical current was unable to reach beyond the shoreline and hence this cargo shed turned museum was used as a relaying service hut to send morse code messages to the staff elsewhere.

Getting to Flinders:

Mornington Peninsula Freeway to Boneo rd, enter Flinders via Cook st (extension of Boneo rd)

The museum is run by volunteers currently but is well worth a visit here in their operating hours of 10am till 3pm weekends during the holiday season.

Explore Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary

The Southern Coast of Flinders is home to some of the most diverse and unique landscapes on the Mornington Peninsula.

Mushroom Reef marine Sanctuary is an 80 hectare protected marine park on the Mornington Peninsula that’s home to an abundance of underwater life popular amongst divers, snorkelers and boaters.

Both Mushroom Reef and the grassland surrounding Flinders falls under the Peninsula national park protection.

The shallow reef bed underneath resembles a Mushroom, hence the name and has attracted scientists for over 100 years. 

The inter-tidal ancient basalt rock formations are home to Birds, Fish, Crabs & Anemones: just make sure you visit at low tide and always be vigilant around rugged coastline, the weather can change very quickly and you don’t want to be caught out at the change of tide. 

For the most up to date information visit the relevant Parks website and check the tides right here. 

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Laura walking down the track to Cairns Bay

Cairns Bay 

Whilst you’re down here, one of our favourite places to visit on the Mornington Peninsula is Cairns Bay.

Located West of Mushroom Reef, is a very well hidden local hang out that is not for the faint of heart. 

Although this place won’t make the top 10 list of most popular beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, if you time it right, you may find one of the few swimmable rock pools along the coast.

At low tide, the swell sweeps back out to Port Phillip Bay and uncovers a number of deep rock pools purged on the border of the ocean.

This beach is always un-patrolled, so caution is necessary as the tide can sweep in very quickly and unexpectedly. 

Getting here

There is a bend in the road from Boneo rd where a very small car park exists on the right hand side. Take the Tea Tree Creek Track to the bottom where you will come across a staircase leading to the beach.

Drive south down to Cape Schanck

Easily accessible and easily one of the best places to visit on the Mornington Peninsula, is Cape Schanck reserve.

Located at the most southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula lies the beautiful Cape Schanck of the Mornington Peninsula national park.

Part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park and the end of the Two Bays walking track lies a lighthouse, one million year old rock formations & some of the cleanest air in the world!

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Cape Schanck from the top of the lookout

This section of the Two Bays Track traverses down comprising a section of the Bushrangers Bay walking track, a 2.6km track that is most easily accessed from the Cape Schanck car park.

This section of the Bushrangers Bay walking track provides some of the most spectacular coastal scenery anywhere on the Mornington Peninsula.

The views from the top of the hike are one of our favourites and it’s by far one of our most enjoyable day trips and fun things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.

If you’re short on time then don’t panic because we’ve made it easy for you with our curated guide to exploring the Mornington Peninsula with our best day trip ideas!

One of my favourite walking tracks on the whole coast, follow the track down from the carpark at Cape Schanck lighthouse reserve until you reach the boardwalk.

From there enjoy the views of the rugged coastline towards the tip of the Park where you can visit Pulpit Rock and Devils Desk. 

The vegetation along the track means it is more than likely you will encounter some native Aussie wildlife including Kangaroos, Echidnas and potentially snakes, so make sure you stick to the track and don’t forge your own path here!

The lighthouse was built in 1859 and is one of the oldest lighthouses in Victoria.

To access the light-house, make sure you visit during business hours and enter via the right hand side of the car park. 

Visitor Information:

Drive slow, wildlife live around here and you don’t want to hit them!

Admission: Entrance to the Park is FREE

Lighthouse: Tours are for a maximum 4 people, and will run from 10am to 4pm with an experienced tour guide. $14 Adult, $8 Child, $40 Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) Go to TryBooking for tours and pricing. 

Address: 420 Cape Schanck Rd, Cape Schanck VIC 3939, Australia

Surfs up at Gunnamatta beach

Home to one of the states most famous beaches and a rare, relaxing wonder is the Western beachside town of Fingal.

A popular surf beach this side of the Mornington Peninsula, Gunnamatta Beach is a very strong and windy beach that is not for the novice swimmer. 

Being an ocean beach it boasts plenty of permanent rips, rocky outcrops making it unsafe for swimmers, but perfect for advanced surfers and ranks high on the list of the best activities on the Mornington Peninsula. 

Visitor Information:

It’s a popular surf beach for good reason, the rips can take you out to sea if your’re inexperienced.

The beach is patrolled but only during the Summer months and school holidays, so remember to stay between the red and yellow flags. 

There is a carpack and toilet lock next to the Life-Saving club

Address: Truemans rd, Fingal VIC 3939

Things to do on the Mornington Peninsula
Enjoying a day at the Peninsula hot springs – image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Relax and unwind at Peninsula Hot Springs

Once you’ve exhausted yourself at surfing at Gunnamatta beach, the perfect way to relax and indulge is to Visit the Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal.

You’ll be hard pressed to speak to someone who won’t recommend the Peninsula hot springs, as it is one of the top things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.

Purchase your full day experience from Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula hot springs today at the most competitive prices!

Victoria’s only natural thermal pools receive their water from the earth, rising from 637m down, naturally filling the Mornington Peninsula hot springs pools with warmed geothermal water.

Being one of the top things to do on the Mornington Peninsula you have a couple of options when it comes to visiting these geothermal hot springs on Springs Lane.

You can either spend a day at the Spa Dreaming Centre, a combination of personal spa saunas, massages, hot stone therapy as well as the option for a cold plunge pool, or spend a day bathing in the general pools.

This full day experience at the Peninsula Hot Springs is a great way to experience the Mornington Peninsula.

The Peninsula Hot springs also offer your choice of bath house packages, body clay packages, Yoga classes, hot and cold therapy and guided mindful meditation.

Whether you choose to visit the Peninsula Hot springs natural thermal pools at the beginning of your Mornington Peninsula journey, or towards the end to rejuvenate you will always find the Peninsula hot springs peaceful and relaxing and leave you feeling energised and ready for more.

The Hot Springs are located on Springs Lane, Fingal and if it fits within your budget it seriously is one of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.

Tips for visiting Peninsula Hot Springs

  • Towels, robes and lockers are available for hire, but you can bring your own.
  • Bookings are essential, particularly during COVD as rules and restrictions have changed.
  • Peak times are difficult to get in, so make sure you book weeks ahead if you plan on visiting.
  • You will pay an extra 10% if you book the day of, so plan in advance to save yourself some money!
  • Admission: Open Daily from 7am until 10pm Book your Bathe Package right here!
  • Packages are available starting at $35 
  • Bath House bathing: 0700-2200
  • Bath House Amphitheatre: 0900-2100
  • Spa Dreaming Centre: 0800-2100

Rye

Spearheading the entire Mornington Peninsula and the central point for Melburnians to congregate from around Victoria, introducing Rye.

Once you’ve left the Peninsula hot springs it’s time to continue exploring the rest of Rye.

The most popular peninsula locale, Rye is unique in its position in that the front beach opens up to Port Phillip bay, whilst the Southern coast faces towards Bass Strait.

During the Summer months, one of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula is to visit Rye foreshore.

The foreshore plays host to a carnival in the camping/caravan park next to Rye Pier along the Peninsula national park with your choice of Gelateria’s, restaurants, bars and cafes open summer long.

Point Nepean Road is the main thoroughfare that will take you all the way west to Portsea and as far back as Safety Beach. 

If its golf courses you’re after then Rye has the Dunes Golf Links, Eagle Ridge golf course, St.Andrews beach golf course and Peppers Moonah Links Golf courses all within 5-10 minutes of each other..hows that for convenience?

Visitor Info: 

Photograph Lizard Head Rock & Dragons Head at Rye

Along Rye ocean beach are two rocky formations resembling the aforementioned Lizard head and Dragons Head.

Both are located on the beach itself and within the Mornington Peninsula national park and at low tide you will be lucky enough to see the tiny water cascades as the water swells and recedes over the rocks.

Make sure you’re wearing reef safe shoes, as traversing inside can be a little painful. When the tide is low enough you will also get the chance to see small rock pools not far from Lizards head that sports an array of Marine Life. 

Address: Number 16 Access Rd from Tasman Rd, RYE 3941

Scuba Dive the Octopus Garden Marine Trail

A dedicated marine park located along the length of Rye Pier is the Octopus Garden Marine Garden.

A Victorian first, it’s an innovative project supported by Parks Victoria and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. 

Chuck your snorkel on and go on a self-guided tour where you can expect to explore the local marine life, just don’t touch anything!

I have dived here many times and it’s one of my favourite dive spots anywhere along the Mornington Peninsula and I can tell you without uncertainty that there is an abundance of marine life from Puffer Fish, Sting rays, crabs and sometimes small penguins. 

At the bottom of the sea floor at a max depth of 5-6m live the curious nudibranchs, Blue Ringed Octopus and varying fish species. 

How to Visit Octopus marine Garden

  • 7 underwater signs on the left lead you out along the pylons and 7 on the right lead you back towards the beach.
  • Bring your own snorkel gear, as there is no where to hire them at the pier.
  • Make sure you check local currents and tides and wany warnings of shark sightings or similar, it’s very rare but best to be sure. 

Address: Bay Trail, Rye Pier, Rye VIC 3941

NB: Blue Ringed Octopus love the sandy bottom of piers along Pylons as well as curling up in shallow rock pools along the coast of Australia, and they are one of the most venomous marine species in existence, so do not go aimlessly walking around rock pools with bare feet because it might just well ruin your day. Forever. 

sorrento04
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Sleepy Sorrento

Sorrento is the more chic beachside village located almost at the end of the Mornington Peninsula home to boutique clothing brands, art galleries, an old cinema complex and great coffee!

One of our favourite things to do in Sorrento is to spend an afternoon by the Sorrento front beach in front of the Jetty and watch the Dolphins swim by in the early morning or late afternoon.

Sorrento is unique amongst Victoria as it connects the Mornington Peninsula with the Bellarine Peninsula, to the start of the Great Ocean Road. 

Take a 45 minute ferry ride on the Sorrento-Queenscliff ferry across Port Phillip Bay, and if you’re lucky enough you will see some friendly Dolphins ride the waves the ferry creates! 

Dolphin swim in Sorrento

Our list of the top things to do on the Mornington Peninsula could not be complete without listing this experience.

Hundreds of Bottlenose Dolphins patrol and play along the northern coast of Port Phillip Bay in the Mornington Peninsula, and the best way to catch these guys underwater is by booking a tour through Moonraker Dolphins tours

These guys have been awarded a eco-certified tourism accreditation, as well as being a carbon neutral company since 2012, they’re certainly your top choice for wildlife experiences anywhere on the Mornington Peninsula.

Visitor Info:

Address: Sorrento Pier, Esplanade, Sorrento VIC 3943

Diamondbay
Diamond Bay back beach in Sorrento – image credit visit victoria

Our not so secret hideout at Diamond Bay Beach

Our best kept secret and in our opinion one of the best places to visit on the Mornington Peninsula is the stunning Diamond Bay beach.

Nestled down the back of Diamond Bay road lies a tiny dirt car park.

The start of the dirt track will lead to the staircase that overlooks the stunning crystal blue waters of this ocean beach gem.

Never very crowded at all, this sandstone encircled bay is home to other sea life including nesting gulls and varying marine life.

Bay of Islands and St.Pauls ocean beach are not too far from here and easily accessible via a circuit walking track which leads to observation points east of the Beach. 

Address: Diamond Bay Rd, Sorrento VIC 3943

How to get there:

Via Melbourne road, which runs parallel to Point Nepean Rd just on the southern side of the Peninsula.

What to bring:

  • Beach umbrella (there is not shade)
  • Plenty of sunscreen
  • A nice camera
  • Make sure you visit the toilet prior to coming here, there is none close!

See the Sphinx rock at Sorrento back beach

The rough waters of the southern ocean is where you’ll find the most interesting rock pool formations anywhere on the Mornington Peninsula and here at Sorrento back beach in Bass Strait is no exception.

Take the stairs up to Coppins lookout from the Sorrento back beach car park where you will find a little sheltered rotunda with incredible panoramic views over the ocean.

From here follow the signs down towards the beach entrance and turn left to see the Sphinx rock formations that resemble something out of Cairo, Egypt.

There is a large car park with toilet and shower facilities not too far from Sorrento Surf Life saving club

Location: 250 Ocean beach road, Sorrento VIC

Hike along Millionaire’s walk

Aside from boasting an average house price of 2.8 million, Millionaires walk is also of great historical importance, as it’s the first place the Union Jack Flag was raised to claim land in Australia in 1802. 

Millionaire’s walk is aptly named as the jetties themselves are privately owned by some fo the richest folks and houses this side of the Mornington Peninsula.

A beautiful cliff top walk that spans 1.5km of ocean views as far as the eye can see, it also forms part of the Sorrento Portsea Artists Trail, with four of the fourteen sites located here with information including photos of their paintings. 

Address: 3498B Point Nepean Road, Sorrento VIC 3943

blairgowrie
The pier at Blairgowrie- image credit Visit Victoria

Blairgowrie

Nestled between Rye and Sorrento, the town of Blairgowrie like it’s other counterparts has both front beaches and a back beach component, witt the front beach of Port Phillip bay being being calm and still whereas the back beaches can be rough with ocean swells making swimming without a board dangerous.

Blairgowrie front beach has a small row of shops with awesome cafes and restaurants, a pizza shop and boutique clothes and apparel shops lining the strip.

Blairgowrie ocean beach is wicked and wild, with many photo opportunities along the southern coast, our favourite spot to explore are the rock pools at Bridgewater Bay, Pirate’s bay cave & Koonya beach.

Blairgowrie Bridgewater Bay & Rock Pools

A small inlet off the southern ocean side of the Mornington Peninsula called Bridgewater Bay is home to a rocky ledge, for the brave at heart which many people use to jump into the water below called Blairgowrie jumping rock, a 7m jump into the waters below.

Follow St. John woods road till the end at the carpark, follow the track for 300m along the beach and take the stairs down to the sand and turn left towards the rocky cliffs.

Address: Corner Point Nepean Road & Wilsons Rd, Blairgowrie 3942

Portsea

Last and most definitely not least is the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula is Portsea; 111km from Melbourne CBD, Portsea is one of the most expensive places to purchase houses in Victoria.

Portsea hotel, the landmark hotel and restaurant dates back to 1927 and sits at the foothills of Point Nepean National Park not far from Portsea pier.

London Bridge & Sierra Nevada Rocks are a group of towering sandstone cliffs formed off the back beach of Portsea.

Easily accessible from London Bridge Road, head right towards the boardwalk and make your way to the beach where you’ll come across Sierra nevada rocks and London Bridge

Make sure you check the tide times with this app as you will get stuck out there if you are not careful!

Address: London Bridge Rd, Portsea VIC 

Visitor Info: 

  • There is a large car park with toilet facilities
  • Plan ahead with the app, as it is only safe to enter on low tide.
Things to do on the Mornington Peninsula
Fort nepean – image credit Visit Victoria

Point Nepean National Park

Last but certainly not least, the very tip and end of the Mornington Peninsula, is Point Nepean National Park. A large protected park home to Victorian native wildlife such as Kangaroos, Wallabies, native flora and fauna the traditional country of the Bunurong People 

Spending the day bike riding the many tracks, exploring Fort Nepean or taking a break and going for a picnic, Point Nepean national park certainly joins the very long list of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.

Related Article >> Our guide to Point Nepean national park right here

Forming the peak and very tip of the Mornington Peninsula, once an early Military Fort and quarantine station that first helped set up Victoria’s Defence Force, Fort Nepean is one of the earliest constructed quarantine stations in Australia.

Point Nepean national park also holds an interesting piece of Australian history, as it is the location where the 17th Prime Minister of Australia was presumed drowned at Cheviot Beach on the South-Western Tip. There is a memorial dedicated to his memory. 

Address: Defence Force Rd, Portsea 3944 

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