Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
On a crisp clear winters morning with ice on the ground and the sun shining outside and with the heater on giving me a false sense of warmth, I decided on a walk up Arthurs Seat and the surrounding area.
Starting in Dromana it suddenly dawned on me it was cold, really cold! I knew I wouldn't be cold for long with a child on my back and a hill to climb so it was time to leave my jumper in the car and walk as fast I could.
Walking through the stone pillars at the bottom which say "Arthurs Seat State Park" is pretty much where the ascent to the top begins. It's not a huge climb at approximately 3.1km from the pillars to the top of Arthurs Seat which is 314 meters above sea level. It's no Mt Everest, but enough of a challenge for a person of average fitness.
It's a really quick to drive up Arthurs Seat and I see so many tourists get to Chapman Lookout take a photo, hop back in the car and gone again, what they're missing are the best views and actually getting a feel for the area. Walking up it gives you the chance to take in the smells, the sights and the sheer beauty all in, it really gives you another perspective.
At the end of Pindara Rd it joins up with Arthurs Seat Rd which I turned left onto to continue back to the top of Arthurs Seat. There are 4 or 5 luxury bed and breakfast's on the way back to the top, including George's Culinary Retreat.
One thing that is extremely obvious walking through the area is the locals concern for a proposed tip below Arthurs Seat. There are many signs with "No Tip For Arthurs Seat" and one pictured above that says "we want our children to grow up in a park not a tip".
The main lookout and parking area on Arthurs Seat is disappointing for what should be the Mornington Peninsula's main tourist attraction. However, plans have been made to erect a new chairlift and to freshen it up.
Just before the main viewing area and at the intersection of Purves Rd and Arthurs Seat Rd there is a nice picnic and BBQ area with playground, shelters with picnic tables, electric BBQ's, toilets and a lawn area .
Heading back down the hill I noticed walkers on the old chairlift track, which goes straight up and down the hill. I have walked here years ago when it was legal but now there are signs and fences everywhere. I can understand why people break the rules to walk up the track as it's much safer than taking the road, but I'm not encouraging anyone to break the law.
History of Arthurs Seat:
Aboriginals were the first inhabitors of Arthurs Seat for thousands of years. The first non Aboriginal to discover the bay was Lieutenant John Murray on the 5th of January 1802. On April 27th of 1802, Matthew Flinders climbed Arthurs Seat. John Murray named it Arthurs Seat after a resemblance of a mountain in Scotland.
This monument marks the spot where Matthew Flinders stood
Each of the Points and Lookouts have these stone monuments with a little bit of history of whom they were named after, which include Bowen's Point, Franklin Point, Murray's Lookout, Chapman Point and Matthew Flinders.
Arthurs Seat is also the site for two airplane crashes, the first on August 10 th 1938 when an RAAF Avro Anson A4-29 was flying in low cloud and crashed into the western face of the hill killing 4 out the 5 members.
The second crash was another RAAF aircraft, Bristol Beaufort A9-64 killing all 4 crew members in 1942.
In 1960 Arthurs Seat chairlift was built and opened to the public in December. The chairlift was the biggest tourist attraction on the Peninsula and unfortunately due to a string of bad luck from 2003 it eventually closed surrounded by controversy.
View towards Dromana with Mt Martha in the distance
Shame the chairlift has gone, I would prefer the slow trip being disabled to a certain extent the car would be my only option. Your kids are so lucky to go to so many wonderful places with their parents. What a great lot of memories they will have as they grow up. Good on you .love your stories.. Ronnie