Point Nepean National Park
Covering 560 hectares, the Point Nepean National Park is an easy 120 minute drive from Melbourne along the Nepean Highway and Peninsula Freeway. Alternatively, if you don't want the stress of driving then go by train from Melbourne to Frankston, then catch a bus to Portsea. if you're coming from the western suburbs then a ferry services operates between Queenscliff and Sorrento which caters for cars.
You pass through the township of Portsea on the final kilometre to the entrance to the Park where you can find a range of eateries if you don't plan your trip to include a picnic on the lawns of Point Nepean.
When you arrive at the entrance to the park it's approximately 5-7 kilometres to The Heads (depending on the track you take), the furthest point on the peninsula. You can walk, ride a bike or take the Transporter. If you don't have you're own bike, then one can be hired for the day. The Transporter (three open carriages pulled by a tractor) takes about an hour to do the round trip with a minimum of six trip per day. The Transporter has designated stops along the route where you can jump on and jump off.
The main points of interest in the Park are:
Point Nepean Quarantine Station
Has only been relatively recently opened to the public after being out-of-bounds for the last 150 years. Visitors can take a self guided walk which covers the Boiler House and the Quarantine Station photo gallery and various other buildings. The main buildings contain records, displays, media and artifacts presenting a visual and auditory history of the site.
Point Nepean Cemetery & Observatory Point
It is a short walk from the Quarantine Station to the Cemetery and then walk to the remnants of the former quarantine cattle jetty. This beautifully grassed area is the perfect place to put down the blanket and enjoy a picnic.
Cheviot Hill contains World War II fortifications and overlooks Cheviot Beach the site of where former Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared in 1967. A cairn has been raised as a memorial to Holt.
Lookouts from the fortifications with panoramic views of Bass Strait. Explore Pearce Barracks and see the site of Australia's largest Disappearing Gun at Eagles Nest.
A series of military fortifications dating back to the 1880's with panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait. Explore the gun emplacements where the first allied shots were fired in World War I and the first allied shots in World War II.
Wander the tunnels, storage rooms and living quarters and gain a sense of the history and what life must have been like for our defence forces stationed here to provide a defence against enemy craft should they attempt to enter Port Phillip Bay. Looking across the Heads towards Point Lonsdale you can gain a sense of the treacherous waters and the hazards for large ships passing through the Heads at low tide.
You can learn more about the Point Nepean National Park, including times of operation, fees, restrictions and much more by visiting the website.