Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve

Home > Melbourne > Walks | Picnic Spots | Outdoor | Fun Things To Do | Day Trips
by Deborah Jayne (subscribe)
Motto: Have a plan and be prepared.
Published October 8th 2014
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Day Trip or Weekend Stay
Family Day Trip - Ocean, Bushwalking, Lighthouse

The Cape Schanck Lightstation stands elegantly above Bass Strait, her traditional light still fully operational. Visitors are welcome to tour the lighthouse, which is open every day of the year (including traditional public holidays Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day).

Tour tickets include entry to the museum, and you can explore the reserve for FREE, right down to the water's edge.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse

Bushwalkers Delight

The lightstation may be the main attraction, but it is only one part of the Cape Schanck Coastal Park. This is an explorer, sea lovers and bushwalkers delight. There are plenty of tracks to explore. Each is well signposted, with distances. Information pamphlets can be collected from the Lighthouse kiosk in the car park.

BBQ facilities round out this day trip or short break destination, and visitors can spend as little or as long as they like exploring the reserve.

Accommodation available onsite. For a holiday with a difference, stay in one of the award winning original lightkeeper's residences. There is single room, multi room, and a motel style room available year round for couples and families. Details can be found on the web site:

Located on the back beach of the Mornington Peninsula, the Cape Schanck Coastal Reserve is an easy drive through rolling hills from Rosebud and a smooth distance from Flinders.

Things to do

The main attraction at The Cape Schanck Lightstation Reserve is the fully functional lighthouse. Tour tickets, which include the lightstation and museum, can be purchased from the small kiosk adjacent to the car park.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Ticket Kiosk

Without a ticket, visitors can't get anywhere near the base of the lighthouse. However, she can still be seen towering above the trees.

If you don't wish to outlay any cash or see the lighthouse up close, follow the track in the other direction to the boardwalk.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Boardwalk

The boardwalk is FREE and will take you right down to the water's edge where you can comb the thick bed of basalt rocks covering the foreshore.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve

The boardwalk is slippery when wet, narrow and steep. There is also a steep flight of steps. It is not 'wheel friendly' (aka: Prams, strollers or wheelchairs).

Toddlers must be closely supervised as it is not fully enclosed either.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Boardwalk

From the Cape Schanck Lightstation car park you can walk 3km to Bushranger's Bay. Still looking for more? Follow the Two Bays Walking Track for a total 26km jaunt.

Alternatively, you can drive to Bushranger's Bay. Entry is off Boneo Road.

The Fingal Picnic Area, located off the Cape Schanck Road (on the way to the lighthouse), provides electric BBQ's with two hotplates beneath a covered structure, several uncovered picnic tables amid the tall, shady trees, running water, toilet facilities and a grassy area for kids to run, kick or hit a ball.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reseve Fingal Picnic Area

Alternatively, there is a picnic area at Bushranger's Bay.

After lunch set off along the Fingal Track. The two entrances from the picnic area are clearly sign posted and provide distances to the Fingal Lookout, Fingal Beach and Gunnamatta Beach.

Please Note: Dogs are not permitted onto the reserve.


FREE all day fun! Kids love rocks and water. Put the two together and you've got gold.

Note: Swimming is not recommended in this area at all. The beaches are unpatrolled and subject to strong rips and large waves.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve


There is a fair amount of parking at the end of Cape Schanck Road near the lightstation. The visitor guide suggests fees apply, but we didn't see any signs or ticket machines during our visit (Sept 2014).

There is additional FREE parking at the Fingal Picnic Area, but this is located 2km north of the lightstation car park.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve

Tour Prices

Guided tour of the lighthouse (approx. 20 minutes) and access to the museum.

Adults: $16.50
Children (5 to 16 years): $10.50
Family (2 adults, 2 children): $44

Opening Hours

The Lighthouse is open every day of the year (Including traditional holidays such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day).
Tours run between 10am and 4pm every day.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Kiosk Map


You can't see anything of the view from the Lighthouse car park.

The bush trails and boardwalk are not suitable for prams, strollers or wheelchairs.

The picnic area is suitable for everyone with (unmade) parking close to the BBQ facilities.


The kiosk adjacent to the Lighthouse car park provides little more than cold drinks and ice creams.

You'll need to take everything needed for a picnic if you wish to make a day of it at the park.

Rosebud provides all major supermarkets, including Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. There are also a number of specialty butchers for quality snags for the BBQ, or take a bundle of hot chips to enjoy in the park. The main fast food restaurants are also represented in Rosebud, including McDonalds, KFC, Red Rooster & Subway, just to name a few.

Flinders, a pleasant drive East of Cape Schanck, has a sophisticated ambience and provides a number of dine-in opportunities as well as some limited takeaway options.

What to Wear

Good, sturdy shoes. If you're planning on tackling the bush, you'll need solid footwear.

Dress according to the weather with rain or sun protection.

Swimming is restricted at Cape Schanck and not recommended at Bushranger's Bay due to strong rips and large waves.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve

Where is the Cape Schanck Coastal Reserve?

420 Cape Schacnk Road, Cape Schanck 3939
Telephone: 1300 885 259


You could spend all day bushwalking, enjoying the view or lunching in the leafy picnic areas.

What to do Afterward?

If the kids are longing for a swim, head back to the safety of the bay at any destination on the other side of the Mornington Peninsula. Rosebud is highly recommended as it provides everything you could possibly need in terms of shopping, supermarkets, specialty shops and fast food outlets.

Flinders boasts a sophisticated ambience, but is only a small town. It does, however, have a beach that is suitable for paddling and foreshore facilities such as picnic areas and public toilets.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  55
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Lighthouse, Ocean, Bushwalking, Picnic
When: Every day of the year
Phone: 1300 885 259
Where: 420 Cape Schanck Road, Cape Schanck 3939
Cost: FREE Entry to the Reserve. Lighthhouse Tours by paid admission.
Your Comment
Articles from other cities
Top Events
Popular Articles