Having just celebrated the last few weekends of Summer with a generous dose of SPF50, the last hoorah of the season was enjoyed in Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula region. The drive is approximately 6o minutes from Melbourne’s CBD using tolls, or an approximate 90 minute drive from the Yarra Valley area, also with tolls.
Completely shocked by how unknowingly beautiful the entire region is, one weekend’s spontaneous decision to explore it, soon turned into six weekends of unlocking both the hidden and the obvious gems of the area. Come a Monday morning, post weekend explorations, and I’d find myself in the work kitchen recounting the wonders of the Peninsula to many Melbournian’s (ie: Australian’s, for my international audience) who had no idea that this was comparable to the beauty of the Great Ocean Road, with a plethora of activities and experiences on offer. Many had never even thought to explore beyond the Sorrento bay and back beach stretch, thinking it was just more of the same blue ocean. How wrong that is.
If you are in search of discovering more of this beautiful city that we live in, perhaps you’re a traveller to Melbourne and searching for that envy-inducing postcard pic to send back home, or you’ve lived in Melbourne all your life and are simply looking for somewhere new to spend your weekend, The Mornington Peninsula is not to be missed. Over a series of four blog posts which will feature, Fort Nepean, Cape Schanck, London Bridge, Observatory Lookout and Fingal Beach, I’ll prepare you for what you can expect, beginning with Cape Schanck.
Cape Schanck is located at the Southern Tip of the Mornington Peninsula. You know you’ve arrived when the iconic lighthouse from the car park is visible. Aside from being strikingly beautiful, Cape Schanck features coastal scenic walks, varying in degrees of difficulty. Prams and wheelchairs may struggle in some areas, although there is a board walk that will still allow you to bask in the views. The area provides maritime insight, unspoilt beaches, rock-pools and golf courses.
Parking is free, but limited, so arrive as early as possible. Even on a very busy day, it’s not impossible to find parking, you may just need to be patient.
There is one small roadside like shop located just beyond the car park as you walk in the direction towards the track. Here you can purchase snack food and refreshments, along with tickets for a light-house tour, and admission to a series of walks. Personally, I chose not to do this as I felt it was extremely overpriced, and very poor value for what was explained to be on offer. Rather than paying, turn to your left from where the ticket sales are, and instead take the free path along the board walk as pictured below, which leads down to the beach.
Pack a picnic, or simply explore one of the many wineries and gourmet cafes in the Red Hill region, only a short drive from here. One last thing to note, especially if bringing international guests, this is the beautiful, great, Australian outdoors. And with that comes some of the pitfalls, including a drop-toilet (pun intended). It is not pleasant. Word of advice, this is a self-composting toilet, with no water flush. When finished, put the lid down, it’s kind of important (amazing how many people don’t despite the signs asking you to do so). Toilet paper had run out completely on both occasions when we visited, so come prepared with your own. There were wasps all over the wash-basin taps (they’re often attracted to the water during the Summer months) and no soap, so bring hand sanitiser. Aside from that, this is a place that should definitely be seen, just do. Not. Forget. Your. Camera.