It’s an amazing piece of coastline edged with National Parks, walking tracks and craggy cliffs but the highlight is actually discovering nooks and crannies along the way explains Debra Mar in the third story of a 5-part series of 'RPP FM celebrates Summertime on the Peninsula'.
The land occupied by the Mornington Peninsula measures approximately 723 sq. km and the contrast between the regions is vast with the bay, hinterland, coastal areas, national parks, native floral and fauna and topography in the mix.
Bass Strait, part of the Peninsula coastline extending from Portsea to Cape Schanck and Flinders taking in Portsea, Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Rye back beaches and Gunnamatta and St Andrews Beach is an area worth encountering.
There is an indifferent mood, beat and rhythm to this coastline. Your thoughts are challenged with the vision of crashing waves, uncompromising swells and an infinite ocean view (not like the safe confines and calmness of Port Phillip Bay). The ocean is alluring but has an uneasiness about it. This is nature at it’s best providing a seascape like no other on the Peninsula. There is a huge respect by locals for the indecisive temper of the deep.
The infamous and treacherous Cheviot Beach touching Point Nepean National Park with it’s pitiless rip tides is where Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt went swimming in 1967, assumed drowned. Whatever atrocities have been reported here, it is still admired for it’s bold beauty and wind-swept sandscape.
Surf beaches are popular with ‘surfy’ thrill seekers and is not for the meek.
Point Nepean National Park at the end of the Peninsula forms part of the heads with Queenscliff and has recently opened to the public with great nature walks, native animals, pristine beaches and historical buildings to explore.
The Bay of Islands, St Paul’s Beach lookout and beautiful Diamond Bay line Sorrento back beach, Bridgewater Bay and Pearse’s (sometimes spelt Pearce’s) Beach in Blairgowrie are wonderful destinations to enjoy with family and friends. Evolutionary rock pools in flat rock beds have created their own natural aquariums with ocean plants, seaweed, small fish and sea creatures.
Take a 30km hike on sandy walking tracks on top of stony, jagged cliffs from Cape Schanck to London Bridge in Portsea. Look to the sea for a vivid ocean experience of beyond blue, juxtaposed with a soft muted palette of browns, greens and yellows in low lying National Park native flora that impersonates shapes and textures of ocean coral, sea grasses and gangly kelp. Look out for native birds, including the nationally significant and endangered Hooded Plover.
To all locals, holidays makers and visitors, give yourself a natural high and go on a journey to a whole new world on the Mornington Peninsula coastline and National Parks.
Words & Photography Debra Mar
This is the third story in a 5-part series of 'RPP FM celebrates Summertime on the Peninsula'. Next week Debra surveys the playfulness on the waters of Port Phillip Bay.
Pictured: Pearse’s Beach, Blairgowrie
Insert: Hooded Plover indicated on the Coastal Walking Trail signage