Sunday, 14 October 2012

Point Nepean National Park

Beautiful views, wildlife, time on the beach and history in one lovely package

Today was the day we seem to have been waiting for since we slipped into Spring over a month ago. There was a chill in the air in the morning but also the promise of sunshine, blue skys and on my word, warmth!

View from the pill box
A picnic was packed and we headed south down Mornington Peninsula right to the very, very end. We were tempted to stop at some of the beaches en route but stuck to our plan and how glad we were.

Entrance is free, as is parking. You really can't miss it, there is only really one road by this point and it runs straight into the park.

We parked up in the entrance car park and headed straight over to some sunny picnic benches. (BBQs also available if you prefer.)

We'd been there previously and hadn't been allowed to take the car past this point and so had walked with a double buggy to the Quaratine Station. Now that was a fairly uninspiring trek to and from along the side of the road (the station itself was worth the visit).

This time we wanted to get all the way to the end so after our picnic we headed to get tickets for the tractor and carriages that runs up and down between the main points of interest. We should definitely have done this first. The regular tractors have been temporarily replaced by a single minibus which only leaves once every hour and fifteen minutes. And we had just missed one by less than ten minutes. D'oh!
Former Quarantine Jetty at Beach Entrance
Fortunately they have also permanently changed their policy on allowing cars a little way in and we were able to drive up as far as the Gunner's Cottage. From there it's an easy (500 m) walk past the cemetery to the beach.

The beach was wonderful! Sandy, clean, fairly deserted and beautiful. We walked along a couple of kilometres stopping every now and again to let the minimen dig in the sand while we drank in the view. It really was glorious and the minimen weren't even aware they were walking quite a long way for their little legs.


Beautiful, deserted beach

At the end of the beach it was a climb up through enchanting, twisty narrow paths surrounded by bush, very different but equally lovely and as we got higher there were some amazing views of the coastline.

At the top we were rewarded with an old pill box which the minimen (and full sized man) were thrilled by. I found it a bit dank but they were soon shooting each other through the narrow openings.


I'd call them Butterfly Flowers, no idea what they really are??




In the gun house at Fort Pearce
From there it was onto the observation point with its fantastic views, and Fort Pearce with its solid history. We'd returned to the road by this point but all you have to worry about are cyclists and the one bus. There are loads of cyclists and its a really good way of exploring the park due to its size, although you definitely miss out on some highlights too.

This was where we stopped as it was another 1.5 km or so to Fort Nepean right at the end. It would have been worth it but the minimen were starting to show signs of tiredness and we still had a decent trek back. If you haven't bought tickets from the entrance car park you can't hitch a ride back with the bus BE WARNED. And anyway, it's nice to have something new to look forward to next time. And there most definitely will be a next time.

We decided to return via the road as the fastest route for three and four year old legs. Good decision as it turns out, we were rewarded by our first ever siting of an Echidna (well live and not flat anyway). He was hunting ants and I'm not sure he ever noticed our presence. I'm used to British hedgehogs so he seemed huge to me!

We spent about 4 and a half hours on the trek through Point Nepean National Park, plus about an hour and a half travel each way from eastern Melbourne. We spent money on petrol and we gained some fantastic photos, memories and a whole sea urchin shell. And due to a little preplanning we got home tired, happy and with tea pretty much on the table. A great day!


Point Nepean National Park
Point Nepean
Vic 3944
Opening Hours (as reported at the time of the blog, check the website for updates)

Opening hours are extended during peak periods. Walking and cycling access into park at all times.

Point Nepean Information Centre

10:00am -5:00pm

Vehicle access to park

8:00am -5:00pm


10:00am -5:00pm

Open every day except Christmas Day

Yes, free parking at the entrance to the park, and inside at Gunner's Cottage.
Yes, at the entrance, at Gunner's Cottage. There may be more but we didn't see them. One at Port Pearce would be a good idea.
Café/ Refreshments
Not that we saw. There were drinking fountains in places.
Picnic/ BBQ area
Plenty of grass and several picnic tables and BBQs.
Gift Shop
Not really. An information centre though at the entrance.
If you want to use the bus for your return, buy tickets on your way in. Make sure you have plenty of water with you. Watch out for snakes, we saw a little one.


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