POINT NEPEAN WALK:
With Bass Straight on one side & Port Philip Bay on the other, the 2-4 hr Point Nepean coastal walk is a great way to explore the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula. On route to The Rip lookout which marks the halfway point of the round-trip, you’ll pass Cheviot Beach, a number of gun turrets & Fort Nepean. There’s plenty to see on this epic coastal walk.
- Start/Finish: Round trip from Gunner’s Cottage Carpark.
- Distance: 3 km each way, round trip of 6 km.
- Time: At least 2 hrs, allow up to 4 hrs. Plenty to explore down here!
- Grade: Easy going, some steps.
- Attire: Sports clothes & runners will do the job.
- Where: Point Nepean National Park, Mornington Peninsula.
- Nearest Town: Portsea.
- Provisions: Sunscreen, approx. 1.5 L of water per person, fruit/snacks to fuel the walk back.
The walk to Point Nepean will take you a long way from the city steps – infact, you’ll be exploring the very tip of Mornington Peninsula and getting a glimpse into Australia’s rich wartime history
The walk starts at The Gunner’s Cottage, which is the furthermost point you can drive to on the Mornington Peninsula (note, for those that need assistance, there is a hop-on-hop-off shuttle service that operates between 10.30am – 4pm that can take you all the way to Fort Nepean at the very tip of the Point Nepean).
Most of the walk is on sealed road and the first section meanders through wind-blown coastal bush – nice but not that impressive – then before you know it, the ocean/bay views open up and the wow factor begins!
It’s at about this point, 1.5 km into the walk, where you come across Cheviot Beach, a beautiful stretch of wild looking coastline that offers you one of many glimpses back in time on this walk – by way of the Harold Holt Memorial. At this beach in 1967, then current Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim never to return.
While it’s generally accepted he was simply overcome by rough seas, there are plenty of theories about what could have happened that day as his body was never recovered – even after 22 days of intense search & rescue efforts. Sharks? Suicide? Something more sinister? It’s an interesting question to ponder as you look out over Cheviot Beach.
From here you begin to see more and more remnants from Australian’s wartime history too, as you’re nearing Fort Nepean. The main structures are down near the end of Point Nepean, but gun turrets and fortifications can be seen in tactical positions all along this second half of this walk.
Most fortifications are open to explore, so jump in and check them out – looking out to sea through the ‘windows’ gives you an airy sense of what it could have been like back in the day when Australia considered itself at risk of attack.
As you near the tip of the Mornington Peninsula you’ll discover Fort Nepean. Built in 1882 as a crucial part of Victorian/Australian defences, Fort Nepean was in service until 1945 – the end of World War II. In that time, its guns fired just two shots in aggression.
Today you can explore the well maintained tunnels, barracks, store houses, gun emplacements and bunkers freely, adding to the adventure on this walk back in time. It is really well presented so leave yourself plenty of time to check it all out.
The walk continues on for a short distance then you reach the end of Point Nepean, the entrance to Port Philip Bay which is referred to as The Rip. While beautiful, this section of water can be extremely treacherous when the tides are running – think of all that water pushing in or draining out!
When the weather conditions are good you may see recreational fisherman trying their luck for the likes of Kingfish out here, but day to day it’s the big ships that plough through undeterred. They’re an impressive sight!
All in all the Point Nepean walk is a great way to explore a beautiful, history rich part of Victoria and well worth the effort to get down here. While undoubtedly at its best on a calm sunny day, the ever-changing sights will be impressive in all conditions.
How to get to Point Nepean
Point Nepean is 115 km or 1.5 hrs drive south of the Melbourne CBD. Essentially you drive to the very end of Point Nepean Rd in Portsea and continue 3km down Defence Rd until you reach Gunner’s Cottage, the starting point for the walk.