Having lived on the Mornington Peninsula off and on for many years, I knew it existed, yet never took the time to visit Point Nepean.
Perched right on the tip of the Peninsula, a short drive from Sorrento, just past the famous Portsea Hotel you'll discover an area of wild bushland, imposing coastal cliffs and beaches that has been set aside for us all to wander, walk, take in breathtaking views and understand a little of our history.
At the tip of Point Nepean sits the old military Fort Nepean which was built sometime in the 1880s and used right up until WW2. It is a maze of interesting buildings and tunnels constructed into the rock face of the bays entrance. You actually get a close and personal view of our military history and the conditions and types of buildings and their useages in their era.
Point Nepean National Park is a beautiful spot to visit, with over 560 hectares of land, views of specatucluar beaches, the Rip (which is the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, Ocean waves entrance you as you look out to Bass Strait. The more peaceful and sheltered views of Port Phillip Bay are just as beautiful with the Marine Sanctuary nuzzled into the south side of the Bay.
Point Nepean is free to visit. Has picnic and bbq facilities and is open for vehicle access from 8am to 5pm. Its 90km from Melbourne, via either the Nepean Hwy or Peninsula Freeway, taking around 2hrs. Alternatively, you can take the train and bus, treking it for the day. If one day is not enough there is plenty of accommodation options in the area for at least an overnight stay. The Ferry may also be an option for you if you are travelling from Queenscliffe, or the next stage of your trip if you are planning to travel the Great Ocean Road, you can take your car or bike across the Bay.
As you walk back from Point Nepean you can see fantastic beaches and waters which are all part of the marine park. Point Nepean is 2.6km from the Gunners Cottage car park and the Quarantine Station around 2km along the Coles Walking track.
If you saunter this way, you may come across a group of buildings that were part of Victorias earlier history. These buildings are part of the Quarantine Stationbuit in 1852. It is where early passengers who may have had infectious diseases stayed until they were well enough to be allowed their freedom.
Some did not survive the journey or their illness and a graveyard telling their stories is further up the path.It is well worth looking at these gravestones, as you will learn the stories and some of the backgrounds of people who travelled to our shores, who loved them, how they travelled and what may have caused their illness and subsequent rest.
There is one grave missing though. That would be the grave of Harold Holt. Along the Ocea coast, is Chevriot Beach, famous for its waves and rip. Harold Holt was an Australian Prime Minister who often tested his swimming ability amongst the waves of Cheviot Beach. It was said that on December 17, 1967 he did not return from his swim. Some say he drowned, some sprout conspiracy, some even imagine he left by submarine.
With all this history, in one place, there is a wonderful walk along a rugged and adventurous coastline. There are coastal native trees such as the coastal Moondah Woodlands, with grasses and fungi. Local wildlife including the Long nosed Bandicoot and Singing Honeyeater.
Ticonderoga Bay is a marine sanctuary zone and the marine environment homes many species of sponges, sea grasses and dolphins are there if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse.
The area is the traditional land of the Boonwurrung people who gathered shellfish and other foods along this majestic coastline for many 1000's of years. History has overlayed this land with the stories of different cultures for us to explore and wonder.
There are a range of walks from the 1km walk through to a 7km round walk to Fort Nepean from the Gunners Cottage. Parks Victoria has excellent information on their website, in their brochures and even audio downloads that you can listen to before you visit.
If the walk is a bit daunting or you prefer to use your time to explore the forts and picnic, you can either cyle or take the transporter that leaves from the Information Center every half an hour from 9.30am daily.
If you havent bought a picnic, there are great eateries in Portsea and Sorrento.
There is wheelchair access for some areas of Point Nepean.
It is a great trip and the walk is great, the history amazing and the view is pretty good too!
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer Saturday, 12th of February @ 12:22 am
Yes, it's strange what happened to Harold Holt, and that his body was never found. I wonder if he was popular at the time of his disappearance. I expect there are a fair few people in the UK who wish David Cameron would go for a swim....
By Trev M - senior writer Tuesday, 15th of February @ 04:43 am
Very informative article! That picture is spectacular, I love seeing the coast like that, all turbulent and wild with sand scrub and storm clouds and rough waves. Really need to get down that way and explore properly.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer Monday, 28th of February @ 11:16 pm
I haven't really explored Point Nepean. I'm more familiar with Point Lonsdale. That's where my uncle has a holiday house. It's a three minute walk to the beach from there and you can hear the sound of ocean waves at all times. Early morning and when the sun sets are probably the best times to take a nice long walk along the beach.
This article on Point Nepean National Park has a spectacular effect on the reader. Well, on me anyway. Already I want to go, even though winter approaches. But I guess you can visit National Parks any time of the year. Just rug up to escape those chilly sea-side squalls.
By Matthew - senior reviewer Thursday, 7th of April @ 09:11 am
Thankyou. I like Point Nepean - and I think a visit in winter is wonderful. Wind and weather make spectacular coasts interesting and alive.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer Friday, 8th of April @ 07:25 am
Great article - Point Nepean sounds fascinating, I must get down there soon. I love the coast in winter - the wind, the drama of the crashing sea. But where is Harold Holt's grave? Was he buried somewhere considered more fitting for a PM? Where could be better than by the sea?
By Sue Williams - senior reviewer Thursday, 4th of August @ 02:35 am
Im not sure where he is buried. He was said to be part of the Portsea social set. Maybe he still lives somewhere down near the coast.
One trip down to Point Nepean, we walked along the beach from outside the park and the person I was with went over the fence onto the area that is called Chevriot Beach. Two people, who looked like they would have been in their prime in the Holt era appeared with a camera and seemed to be checking out the beach space.
But, Point Nepean is a great place to visit and is full of nature, history and just alot of fresh air and rolling waves.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer Thursday, 4th of August @ 02:50 am