Walking into Bushrangers Bay is a stunning coastal adventure just over an hours drive south of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula. You’ll get to stride it out while taking in the views of Bass Straight from the cliff tops, before meandering down through the bush trail to arrive on the beautiful open beach of Bushrangers Bay.


  • Start/Finish: Round trip from the carpark at Cape Schanck lighthouse.
  • Distance: 3.1 km each way, round trip of  6.2 km.
  • Time: Approx. 45 mins each way, plus time spent exploring. Total approx. 3 hrs.
  • Grade: Easy going, some steps as you drop in/out of Bushrangers Bay.
  • Attire: Sports clothes & runners will do the job.
  • Where: Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula.
  • Provisions: Approx 1 L of water per person, fruit/snacks to fuel the walk back.

The walk starts out relatively flat as you follow the trail east along the Cape Schanck cliff tops with stunning views towards Flinders and back towards Cape Schanck and the Lighthouse that stands proudly above it. While you’re on a mission to get to Bushrangers Bay, you’ll find plenty of excuses to stop and take in the sights – take your time, it really is an epic place.

If you like to explore without many people around it pays to start this walk early, or leave it till late in the day. Having said that, you may want to make a special effort for this walk and get here early as possible – not to beat the heat, or the people, but to increase your chances of coming across the abundance of wildlife in the area. We were up there by 8am and managed to see a couple of kangaroos & wallabies close to the trail – but there are stories of much closer encounters!

As you make the final decent into Bushrangers Bay the bush thins out, the space opens up and then you spot the beautiful sandy dunes and waves crashing on the beach. Bushrangers Bay in it’s entirety is a golden stretch of beach enclosed by rugged cliffs leading straight up from the temperamental ocean pounding at their base. It’s a place of raw beauty, where you feel wild and free.

Bushrangers Bay BeachAs you step down onto the beach your senses will be hammered by the elements. You’ll no doubt get the urge to explore, so embrace it and give yourself plenty of time to take it all in.  Pay particular attention to the rocky outcrops at either end of the bay – which are at their best at or near low tide (see the local tides here). In warmer weather take your bathers as the many rock pools make for epic swimming holes, just ensure the waves aren’t washing up and over the rocks.

For those who appreciate bird life there are the usual suspects and often a number of Sooty Oystercatchers patrolling the shoreline, feeding on molluscs, crabs, crustaceans, marine worms, starfish and sea urchins. And how about this, they actually drink seawater!

Bushrangers Bay is one of those adventures where you can get away with minimal supplies, but you’ll be oh so jealous of those who nestle in under the cliffs with a picnic! Just saying. When you’re all tuckered out and it’s time to head home, you get to enjoy the epic trail back to the carpark all over again.

Bushrangers Bay Walking Trail

For many locals and commuters alike, Bushrangers Bay is often near the top of any weekend to-do list as no two days are ever the same, the the weather and tides completely change the environment and mood of this unique place. Oh, and if you’re interested in story behind the name, read about Bushrangers Bay history here. It’s a great yarn.

As you get back to the car park, take a minute to walk up to the Cape Schanck lighthouse viewing area. It’s often humming with people, but it’s worth taking a look at this piece of history. Other than just looking extremely cool, this concrete workhorse was the second coastal lighthouse to be built in Victoria way back in 1859, and was the first ever Australian lighthouse to have stone stairs. How bout that…

Cape Schanck Lighthouse

How to get to Bushrangers Bay

Head down the Mornington Peninsula towards Cape Schanck – plug Cape Schanck Lighthouse into your phone and you should be right. Once you get near the turn off, just keep an eye out for signs that will lead the way. From the carpark, walk towards the back corner and you’ll see the start of the Bushrangers Bay walking trail.