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For an invigorating short walk on the Mornington Peninsula you can't go past the Fingal Beach walking trail. At only 3km return it's perfect for a weekend stroll with the family and yet is still a reasonable workout coming back up the hill ( especially if you need to carry a child). It is also possible to extend the walk to the Northern Gunnamatta beach which is 5 km one way.
Fingal Beach is largely off the tourist map thanks to the nearby Cape Schanck lighthouse and boardwalk, although you will find the locals making the most of this beautiful remote bay by fishing, surfing and enjoying a walk along the beach admiring the cliff faces and washed up sea debris on the sand. Swimming at this beach is hazardous with reefs and rocks. Surfing is also hazardous for the same reasons, although Wanna Surf website and Surf Life Saving Victoria suggest the only rideable break is to the left over the reefs below the western side of the cape.
As for the walk, it starts from the Fingal Picnic Ground on the right hand side of Cape Schanck Rd, about 1km or so before the Cape Schanck lighthouse.The trail is signposted and well maintained so there is no need to worry about becoming lost.
The trail takes you through tea tree tunnels, coastal shrub and out to a viewing platform that is high above the beach giving you a good perspective of the cliff faces and the constantly moving sands.
From the viewing platform it's all downhill with a long set of steps taking you down but at this point it may dawn that you will have to walk back up all these damn steps to get back to the car park.
Stepping onto Fingal Beach we could count the few people that had visited by the footprints left in the sand. The beach is pristine and rubbish free with the only things other than footprints being drift wood, sea shells, seaweed, rocks and other natural materials.