The Mornington Peninsula’s Best Beaches
WHEN it comes to a day at the beach the Mornington Peninsula has all the bases covered. On the bay side are family-friendly shallows to paddle in, sandy stretches and rock pools to explore. Or you can walk on the wild side with beaches that are popular with surfers, nature lovers and photographers.
Mike Ward with Lehman enjoy a game of frisbee at Mt Martha’s South Beach.
The best beaches for family fun
Mills Beach — Esplanade, south of Tanti Ave, Mornington
Home to the Mornington Life Saving Club, this is the pick of the bunch for preschoolers. It has a Hazard Rating of 3 (least hazardous) and is patrolled on weekends and public holidays between noon and 6pm. There are toilets and change rooms, a kiosk, BBQs, picnic tables and free parking nearby.
South Beach — main entry opposite Kilburn Grove, Mt Martha
Lined by colourful bathing boxes this beach is great for older children and teenagers (the water becomes deep quite quickly so be careful with small children). It has a Hazard Rating of 3 (least hazardous) and is patrolled on weekends and public holidays by nearby Mt Martha Life Saving Club. There is free parking nearby and toilets at the village and beyond the life saving club. It’s also a short stroll to the village if you fancy an ice-cream or fish and chips.
Rosebud — Marine Pde, from Lonsdale St to Boneo Rd
This popular swimming beach stretches 9km and is protected by offshore sandbars. Its Hazard Rating of 1 (least hazardous) makes it one of the safest beaches in the region. Rosebud and McCrae Life Saving Club runs patrols on weekends and public holidays during summer. The foreshore reserve has shaded picnic areas, barbecues and the beachside playground near the pier is one of the best on the peninsula.
Main Beach — Merricks Beach Rd, Merricks
Not far from the Flinders village this safe, sandy beach on Westernport Bay is popular with locals and visitors alike. It has small waves and few rocks. The wide foreshore reserve behind the beach features Merricks Yacht Club and toilets. If you’re lucky you might even spot a koala.
Grommet Marlon, 10, rides a wave at Point Leo. Picture: Jason Sammon
Top picks to catch a wave
Point Leo — Western Pde
Of all the ocean beaches on the peninsula this is the spot to make your surfing debut. Its gentle waves are perfect for grommets and beginners and the East Coast Surf School is conveniently located nearby. There’s also a kiosk, picnic areas, barbecues and play equipment on the foreshore reserve. Point Leo Surf Life Saving Club and professional lifeguards patrol the beach daily from December 26 — January 26.
Gunnamatta Beach — Truemans Rd, Fingal
Consistently high swells make this the most popular surf spot on the peninsula. It has been ranked among the world’s most dangerous stretches of water and is best suited to experienced surfers. Gunnamatta is in the Mornington Peninsula National Park and the beach is also popular with walkers and ocean fishers. It has two large car parks and toilet blocks that can be accessed from Truemans Rd. It is patrolled daily by volunteer and professional lifeguards from December 26 – January 26.
Mushroom Reef — Golf Links Rd, Flinders
Boogie boarders flock to this spot to make the most of its perfectly shaped reef break. It’s also a marine sanctuary that is home to Weedy Sea dragon and the Black and White Sea star as well as myriad birds. Leave the car at the first car parks off Golf Links Rd.
Tideways Beach at Sorrento is a secluded family favourite.
The best hidden gems
Tideways, Nepean Hwy, opposite Westmore Ave, Sorrento
This secluded beach is a family favourite the locals would like to keep secret. Tideways overlooks Sullivan Bay, the home of a short-live convict settlement established by in 1803 by Lieutenant-Colonel Collins.
Point King, Portsea
If you walk to the end of Point King Rd, you’ll find a hidden path leading to wooden stairs down to Point King Beach. The cliff tops rising above the pretty little stretch of sand is known as Millionaires Row, where some of the nation’s richest spend their summers.
Pearse’s Beach, Pearses Rd, Blairgowrie
Park the car and walk to the end of Pearses Rd to find this sliver of protected beach on the wild side of the peninsula. At high tide you can surf on the offshore reefs and swimming is also possible but watch out for rocks and reefs.
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