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Mornington Peninsula Walks: 5 Wonderful Coastal Trails

Mornington Peninsula Walks: 5 Wonderful Coastal Trails

No visit to the sublime Mornington Peninsula is complete without taking to at least one of its many beautiful coastal trails. Offering stellar views, fantastic beach stops and plenty of wildlife, embarking on a hike in the Mornington Peninsula is certainly one of the best things to do on any visit here. Below, we’ll detail 5 of the best Mornington Peninsula short walks and hikes that you can easily factor into your trip, whether that be just a day trip from Melbourne or something longer.

Walks in the Mornington Peninsula

As countries go, Australia has some truly epic hiking destinations. Break those down, state by state, and you’ll find Victoria easily rivalling for the cream of the crop. Indeed, from the grandiose Grampians National Park – a well-known and equally as well-loved hiking and outdoors destination, to Wilsons Promontory National Park, an unspoiled slice of paradise that sits at the furthest point south of mainland Australia – there’s plenty of top-notch trails to explore. And that’s just for starters.

From Melbourne, the Great Otway National Park and Cathedral Range State Park are both within easy driving distance. Certainly, neither of these will leave you disappointed. But, here we’ll be singing the praises of another hiking and all-around gorgeously scenic destination right on Melbourne’s doorstep – Mornington Peninsula National Park.

Best Morn Pen Viator Tour

Cape Schanck
  • Cape Schanck Lighthouse
  • Bushrangers Bay
  • Mornington Peninsula hot springs

Where Is Mornington Peninsula?

Mornington Peninsula is located around 100km south of Melbourne, on the south coast of Australia. The national park is fringed by the wild waters of the Bass Strait, which has helped to carve out the beautiful coastline we see today.

Mornington Peninsula walks map

Affectionately known as Morn Pen, the beautiful headland of Mornington is jam-packed with hikes, beaches and wildlife. Certainly, they rival many of the big-name Victorian hiking destinations. And, as Dan and I discovered, come rain or shine, this beautiful spot is well worth a moment of your time whatever the weather.

So, let’s take a look at the five best short walks in the Mornington Peninsula.

1. Cape Schanck Walk to Pulpit Rock

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2km
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 140m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Car Park
  • Map: AllTrails

The Cape Schanck boardwalk to Pulpit Rock is one of the best and most popular short walks in the Mornington Peninsula. The easy walk begins from the Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Car Park, which you can visit first, before continuing the trail down toward the tip of Cape Schanck and over to Pulpit Rock.

The Cape Schanck walk to Pulpit Rock is a wonderful short track that provides fine views of the southern point of the Mornington Peninsula. The landscape is volcanic and colourful and the sight of Pulpit Rock will take your breath away.

Read more: Cape Schanck Walk To Pulpit Rock (Plus 2 Trail Extensions)

Cape Schanck walks to Pulpit Rock in Mornington Peninsula

2. Cape Schanck to Gunnamatta Beach

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 16km
  • Time: 3.5–4 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 270m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Car Park
  • Map: AllTrails

The Cape Schanck to Gunnamatta Beach walk is a classic section of the Mornington Peninsula’s longer Coastal Walk. From the Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Car Park, head north back up Cape Schanck Road, and join the Coastal Walk trail to the left. This stretch of the Coastal Walk is high up and quite beautiful, revealing stunning viewpoints down the Mornington Peninsula coastline.

The walk actually passes Fingal Beach first, from where it’s certainly possible to pop in to visit, before rejoining the track to Gunnamatta Beach. Or, if the tide is low, you can continue the walk from Fingal to Gunnamatta along the beach, rather than the coastal track.

Once you arrive at Gunnamatta Beach, you can explore as much as you like. Indeed, it’s a fairly long beach and you can even walk all the way to the northern end of the beach to the Gunnamatta Surf Life Saving Club. Certainly, Gunnamatta Beach is vast and beautiful. Also, the fresh ocean breeze and golden sandbanks surrounded by the forest are quite lovely. In addition, the seafront around the surf club is patrolled, so it’s perfect for a quick dip.

Read more: Cape Schanck Walk To Pulpit Rock (Plus 2 Trail Extensions)

Cape Schanck to Gunnamatta Beach coastal walk

3. Bushrangers Bay Walk

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 7km
  • Time: 1.5–2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 130m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Car Park
  • Map: AllTrails

From the Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Car Park, follow this easy and popular walking track to Mornington Peninsula’s Bushrangers Bay. The official walking trail for this section of the Cape Schanck to Bushrangers Bay Walk actually follows some of the Two Bays Walking Track, which is a longer walk in Mornington Peninsula.

The trail to Bushrangers Bay is around 3km, following an extremely picturesque clifftop walk. Bushrangers Bay is a lovely beach to hike to in the Mornington Peninsula. It feels rough and a little rugged. In fact, for us, it perfectly suited the stormy weather we experienced. If you head across the golden sandy beach you can access the Bushrangers Bay rock pools.

The tidal rock pools at Bushrangers Bay are some of the most wonderful in Victoria, surrounded by the dark volcanic rock common in this southern tip around Cape Schanck. Certainly, they’re the perfect place to relax after a walk from Cape Schanck to Bushrangers Bay in the Mornington Peninsula.

Read more: Cape Schanck Walk To Pulpit Rock (Plus 2 Trail Extensions)

Cape Schanck to Bushrangers Bay walk

4. London Bridge Lookout, Portsea

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 400m
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 20m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: London Bridge Car Park

London Bridge is an outstanding rock arch located in Portsea, Mornington Peninsula. It’s just a short 100m walk from the car park to the London Bridge Lookout, where you’ll enjoy spectacular views of this claw-shaped structure in the Mornington Peninsula. Additionally, you can take a short walk down from the clifftop and along Portsea Surf Beach for closer access to London Bridge. Just be sure to check tide times.

Read more: London Bridge Portsea: Lookout & Beach Walk

London Bridge Lookout and walk in the Mornington Peninsula

Top Accommodation for the London Bridge Lookout

5. Coppins Track

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 6km
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 50m
  • Difficulty: Grade 2
  • Trailhead: Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club

Passing a fascinating rocky coastline, interesting sea stacks, turquoise waters and drool-worthy beaches, don’t expect the Coppins Track to be a quick walk. In fact, it’ll be quite the opposite. The water here is so clear and inviting, that you might find the Coppins Track walk blows out a little as you stop for a bathe at each Mornington Peninsula beach you pass. And let’s face it, who could blame you? Certainly, you’ll likely be spending as much time in the water as you do on the trail.

The 6km return walk begins in Sorrento and hugs the coastline down to Diamond Bay. The walk shouldn’t take longer than 1.5 hours to complete. Additionally, the rugged coastline and warm sandstone rocks feel almost Mediterranean. You’ll feel transported to the Italian Sorrento in no time!

Read more: Coppins Track: Sorrento to Diamond Bay, Mornington Peninsula

Coppins Track Sorrento to Diamond Bay Mornington Peninsula

Longer Walks in the Mornington Peninsula

The five walks listed above certainly offer wonderful scenic snapshots of Mornington Peninsula. But, of course, you might want to take on a longer walk whilst visiting the Mornington Peninsula. So, if you’re keen to stretch your legs further and explore even more of this national park, then you should consider the full Coastal Walk or the Two Bays Walking Track.

The Coastal Walk

The Coastal Walk spans the southern edge of Mornington Peninsula stretching from Cape Schanck and up to London Bridge Lookout on the edge of Point Nepean National Park. Certainly, it’s a stunning 30km one-way walk that encompasses the above Coppins Track, Gunnamatta Beach and Cape Schanck.

If you can afford the time to do the whole Mornington Peninsula walk, then great. But, if not, the Coastal Walk works just as well broken up into sections.

Two Bays Walking Track

Another awesome longer walk in Mornington Peninsula is the fantastic 26km Two Bays Walking Track linking Dromana to Cape Schanck. The trail is bursting with interesting flora and fauna and, as it cuts across the peninsula, is certainly a great alternative to a coastal walk in the Mornington Peninsula.

Sorrento Mornington Peninsula walks

How to Get to Mornington Peninsula

The easiest way to get to the Mornington Peninsula to access all the walks mentioned in this guide is to drive there yourself. From Melbourne, you’re looking at around a 1.5 hour drive and 100km in distance, depending on where you go on the peninsula.

It’s possible to take public transport from Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula, but you won’t be able to get to all of the trailheads in this guide. Additionally, public transport is a much longer and less convenient journey. To that end, we highly recommend driving yourself to Mornington Peninsula. If you don’t have access to your own vehicle, we recommend hiring one.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Hiking Gear Essentials for Mornington Peninsula

These are our hiking gear essentials for any of the walks in Mornington Peninsula. You should also consider packing water, snacks, and, if the weather looks good, your swimmers.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Bonus Tips

  • Morn Pen weather: although the weather during our trip was particularly grim, it’s not an everyday occurrence. But, having said that, the weather around Melbourne is known to be very changeable, so, always pack for any weather. The Mornington Peninsula hikes and walking trails are just as enjoyable in all conditions, but not if you’re not appropriately dressed. Waterproof jackets and trousers were lifesavers for us.
  • National Park info: before heading to Mornington Peninsula for any of these walks, be sure to check for up-to-date travel and closure information. Certainly, the closure of trails in Australia is not uncommon. In fact, during our visit to Mornington Peninsula, some walking areas were closed due to flash flooding and the tracks were in need of repair. Visit Victoria will provide you with all the necessary updates.
  • Other things to do in Morn Pen: be sure to check out Arthurs Seat for excellent views across the peninsula, visit the hot springs or head out dolphin spotting.
  • When to visit: as great as it is that Mornington Peninsula is so close to Melbourne, it does mean that the walks, beaches and area as a whole can be busy at weekends and peak holiday periods. Certainly, if you want some quieter walks around Mornington Peninsula, try visiting on a weekday or in the winter.

Let us know your favourite walks in the Mornington Peninsula below.

Beck Piggott

With an art and design based background, Beck uses photography and writing to help inspire readers to climb mountains, hike coastal trails and chase waterfalls around the globe.

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