How to spend the most incredible day on Mornington Peninsula, from Melbourne

Melbourne is an incredible city, full of life, energy and people! However sometimes you might want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head out into nature. Melbourne is blessed with some incredible landscape within a relatively close distance (I’m talking in Australian terms!). You have the Great Ocean Road, Torquay and The Grampians a few hours out of the city. In fact, this is one of the many reasons we love it here, the combination of an incredible city with amazing trips around what is a small state make it perfect. However, Great Ocean Road can be a little manic in itself with many tourists and the long drive. The Grampians is incredible but it too requires at least a 6 hour round trip and what if you fancy heading to the coast!? Well, The Mornington Peninsula is a perfect Melbourne day trip, it’s only an hour or so away and not too busy either! Here’s our guide to the perfect Mornington Peninsula day trip from Melbourne!

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Where is the Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula is to the South East of Melbourne and as suggested by it’s name, it is indeed a peninsula. At it’s very tip it almost touches Queenscliff, close by to Geelong which is on the way over to Torquay and the Great Ocean Road. You can get a ferry from Queenscliff over to Portsea in fact! The two peninsula’s enclose the Port Phillip bay area in which Melbourne sits. The area where they meet is actually a historic and dangerous shipping route in which many wrecks happened in the 1800’s.

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A perfect Melbourne day trip to the incredible Victorian Coast

How to get to Mornington Peninsula from Melbourne

Exploring the Mornington Peninsula is best down with your own transport and its proximity to the city makes it a great Melbourne day trip. There are many places along the coast to stop for a while, have a swim, take in the views and go on a short walk. Getting to and from each is best done with a car, especially if you want to do most of it in a day. If you haven’t got access to a car a good option is GoGet rental as you can actually rent by the hour and pick up and drop off at various locations around the city. You are most likely looking at around $80 for a day. They are much easier than using a more conventional rental company if you are just doing a Mornington Peninsula day trip. 

You can take public transport down here using the Train, buses and the ferry but you might have to plan your day out a lot more and select a few places rather than all and check the routes beforehand. This site here is useful: Visit Victoria. Another option would be to do a day tour with a company in the city such as Go West.

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Stop off in Rye

The first stop we like to make when heading down to Mornington is a little town called Rye. It’s a nice spot to stretch your legs after driving out of the city and just take in the sea air. The area reminds me quite a lot of Brighton, a seaside area a lot closer to the city famed for it’s colourful beach huts. Here you can also take in some of these wonderful old beach huts but without the hordes of tourists! There are some lovely beaches here too and it has that lovely little beach town vibe, if you wasn’t doing a Mornington Peninsula day trip you could easily spend a day just here. 

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Head over to Diamond Bay beach and take the coastal walk to St. Paul’s lookout

Diamond Bay beach is a lovely spot, surrounded by high sandstone cliffs it is not only a picturesque location but also provides a sheltered spot should you want to take a dip in the beautiful clear water, a perfect way to start a Melbourne day trip. The view from the top is like an amphitheatre of rock, sand and ocean. Despite how stunning this spot it it is also unlikely to be busy, both times we have visited we have seen only a couple of people swimming and a local painting club taking advantage of this wonderful scene.

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Another great thing to do here is to take the short coastal walk through the bush to take in even more wonderful views as well as some of the history of this area. The lovely walk over to St. Paul’s lookout provides great vistas of the area and is one fo the great short walks to take advantage of on a Mornington Peninsula day trip. Once you get to the viewpoint itself you can take in both side of the Peninsula. This was an important and strategic vantage point for the early settlers as it gives unobstructed views of both coastlines.

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Take a dip at St. Paul’s beach or just take in the incredible views!

Another incredible spot to either stop for a swim or just to take in the views. St. Paul’s beach can be reached either from the road or via the Coppin’s track from Diamond Bay if you have a little more time. The rocky beach is surrounded by some beautiful formations and pools and is often pretty quiet. A great and short walk from here is over to Jubilee point which sits above another stunning bay in which the stunning azure water gently laps up against. Standing here you won’t believe you were in the city just an hour or so ago, it really is the perfect spot for a Melbourne day trip.

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Soak in the sun at the popular Sorrento Back Beach as well as many short coastal walks

Sorrento Back Beach is a popular spot with locals. The main beach on the front here has a lifeguard and is the perfect for kids and a casual swim knowing you are being kept an eye on! The beach can get a little crowded on hot weekends but it is still not so bad compared to places like Bondi or around Torquay, if you only went to one spot on a Mornington Peninsula day trip for a day at the beach this would be it! 

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This was a warm late summer weekend, busy for this beach!

However, our favourite spot around here is the Back Beach and the walks along the sand engulfed boardwalks, if you go to one place on a Mornington Peninsula day trip then go here! A great walk to take is up to Coppin’s lookout, this overs a wide vista across the surrounding coastline and is a nice spot to sit a while and take it all in. I just love the wooden walkways up towards here too, they just seem to capture the rugged nature of this wonderful coastline. From an off shoot of the trail you can head down to Sorrento Back Beach which is a highlight of this Melbourne day trip.

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Here at low tide there are some incredible rock pools to take a dip in and again, I just love the sand covered walkways that are almost entirely engulfed in the bright yellow sand. It really is such a picturesque location to explore and one of our favourite places in Victoria.

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Discovered the incredible London Bridge and surrounding rugged coast

One of the most dramatic areas of coast is the impressive London Bridge and its a must see on a Mornington Peninsula day trip. The naturally created island has hole through it’s centre formed by thousands of years of erosion… hence the name! The viewing platform from the top of the cliff side provides great views but the best place from which to explore what this area has to offer is from the beachside itself!

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The rock formations can be approached at low tide when the incredible features of the rocky beach reveal themselves. There are wonderful rock pools and impressively worn cliffs to explore and discover too! So this is a perfect Melbourne day trip for swimming too!

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Head down to the historic and beautiful Port Nepean National Park

Port Nepean National Park sits at the very tip of Mornington Peninsula and if you are taking a day trip over here you will likely only get to have a taste of what this beautiful NP has to offer. It’s somewhere we are keen to come back to ourselves and it’s a place you could easily spend the entire day exploring in it’s own right… which is what we intend to do next time now we have explored other areas of Mornington Peninsula.

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If you are short of time and it is towards the end of your Mornington Peninsula day trip a nice walk to finish the day is out to Cheviot Hill and back. This point offers great views out over the National Park as its highest point. Here you can see remnants of WW2 fortifications as well as Cheviot Beach which was where Prime Minister Harold Holt went missing in 1967…hence why it’s not a great place to go for a swim! The site is named after the disastrous shipwreck of  SS Cheviot in 1887 where 35 people died.

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If you have a bike available to you then you can cover much more ground in the National Park and on a longer summers day should have enough time to head right down to the end point of the park even on a Mornington Peninsula day trip. There are several trails too along the coast too.

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Finish off with Fish and Chips in Sorrento town before heading back to the city

After a day of hiking, swimming and exploring you will have probably worked up quite an appetite on your Melbourne day trip. Head back to the town of Sorrento, the heart of Mornington Peninsula and to one of the many fish and chip shops along the main street. Wander down to the coast front and enjoy a proper seaside meal… though of course, they’re not as good as a proper British Chippy but that’s another matter! They’ll suffice! :-p

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How would you spend a Mornington Peninsula day trip?

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