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.
Published December 23rd 2014
Bush walks, beaches, gardens, markets and attractions
With the Mornington Peninsula being a popular tourist destination people often think of tourist prices. But it if you really want to explore the natural beauty of the area it does't need to cost anything more than the petrol to get there and a picnic lunch you bring from home.
Here are my top 10 picks to do for free on the Mornington Peninsula.
1. Naturally the Peninsula is surrounded by beautiful beaches and offers you the luxury of choosing bay beaches or ocean back beaches that cater for everyone from toddlers to experienced surfers and all in between. To read my list of the best beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, click here.
2. Bush walks are bountiful and the ever changing landscape is inspiring and as it is beautiful. For the more adventurous try the the 28km Two Bays walking trail starting from Dromana and finishing at Cape Schanck lighthouse.Remembering that this is a one way distance, you may like to take a friend and leave a car in the Cape Schanck car park and return to the start of the trail so you have transport when you get to the finish. For families and those who enjoy shorter walks the Bushrangers Bay walk and Fingal Beach are both stunning whilst the Baldry's crossing walk gives you a look into the Greens Bush national park.
3. Markets are very popular and plentiful on every weekend of the month and also includes a weekly Wednesday market in Mornington's Main street. Popular markets include: 1st weekend: Red Hill Market, Rye Foreshore market. 2nd weekend: Rosebud Primary School market, Mornington Farmers market, Mornington Racecourse market 3rd weekend: Boneo Market, Balnarring- Emu Plains market. 4th weekend: Tootgarook Primary School market, Mt Eliza farmers market.
please not that the Red Hill and Mornington Racecourse have a $4 parking charge if you choose to use the designated car park.
4. Find some of the animals that call the Mornington Peninsula home. Koalas can often be found at The Briar's in Mount Martha as long as you are prepared to search for them within the fenced grounds. As well as koalas there is a large bird population and I have seen the odd snake, lizard and echidna. Kangaroos and wallabies can be found lazing about in Seawinds gardens on top of Arthurs seat and also in Greens Bush. Ducks and geese can be found in at the Dunn's Road Civic Reserve in Mornington and Frankston Botanic gardens. If you are prepared to pay to see native animals then the Pearcedale Sanctuary is popular, however it's located just outside the Mornington Peninsula.
5. Have a picnic with the best view over the Mornington Peninsula at Seawinds Gardens or enjoy the Coolart wetlands and historic homestead gardens. Either of these two locations come highly recommended by me and both have great facilities including BBQ's, toilets, car parking, walking trails and well maintained grounds. .
6. Take in some of the history of the area by including some self guided tours of Sorrento, Mornington and Point Nepean. Self guided walking tour maps are available within the nearest tourist information centers or online. You can also download an audio tour for Point Nepean here through the Apple store for free.
7. Walk the on the Cape Schanck board walk and be inspired by the views and the sound of the roaring ocean. This short walk starts from the Lighthouse car park and is suitable for anyone who doesn't mind a few stairs. A small car parking fee may apply in summer to help with the upkeep of the boardwalk and facilities.
8. Keep an eye out for free annual/bi annual events like the Pet and Pony Expo, Mornington Jazz Festival, Mornington Main Street Festival, Taste of Sorrento, Australia Day events and much more by clicking here.
9. Have a look at some of the local gardens such as the Mornington Botanic Rose garden which is in full bloom at the moment, along with the above mentioned Seawinds and Coolart gardens or for a $10 fee Heronswood garden ( free to members).
10. Just relax in the sunshine overlooking the water, read a book, share a picnic lunch with friends and soak up the atmosphere. Ride on the cycle and mountain bike paths, stroll the piers, borrow a friends paddle board, make use of the great playgrounds and BBQ areas. But most of all take the time to enjoy it.