The coast outside of Melbourne is overflowing with gorgeous places to hike, swim and play. Cape Schanck and Bushrangers Bay are just waiting for you to take in the view.
- Three inspiring landscapes – bushland, beach and coastal track
- Come face to face with kangaroos
- Avoid the crowds
- Relax and explore rock pools at Bushrangers Bay
Think you need expensive gear, bulging calf muscles and an aversion to showers to be a hiker? Think again! You can complete a 10km bushland and coastal trail, come face to face with kangaroos, explore rock pools and relax on an uncrowded beach, all in an easy day trip from Melbourne. If you want to try hiking, Bushrangers Bay and Cape Schanck is the place to start.
This may just be the ultimate trail for non-hikers. Just put on a pair of walking shoes, pack a hat, sunscreen, water and snacks, and drive on down to the Mornington Peninsula. In addition to wineries, expensive beach houses and hot springs, the peninsula has a 100km walking trail. Don’t worry that’s not on the itinerary for today – let’s go straight to the best part of the trail. There’s a 5km stretch between Boneo Road and the Cape Schanck Lighthouse that is so damn scenic, it’s gonna distract you from the fact you are actually hiking. Start at the Bushrangers Bay Trail car park on Boneo Road and head for the lighthouse.
You’ll hear birds chirping and come across kangaroos grazing amongst the trees at the start of the trail. A couple of kilometres in, you’ll catch glimpses of Bushrangers Bay; a sandy beach surrounded by a farming property and rocky cliffs – and only accessible by foot. Pass by the turn-off to the beach (save it for the return walk), and follow the track along the top of the cliffs where the sounds of birds are replaced by waves crashing below. There are lookouts to stop at and you’ll see the lighthouse in the distance which marks the halfway point of your hike.
At the lighthouse, you’ll (sadly) realise you’ve returned to civilisation – the trail comes out at the car park which is usually full of families and tourists. Join the crowds on the boardwalk for some epic views of the cape and then get the hell out of there – you’ll appreciate the peace and quiet of the trail even more on the return walk! Stop in at Bushrangers Bay on the way back; there are some great rock pools to explore at the far end of the beach. Relax on the sand, finish off your snacks, and when you’re ready, return to the car park at Boneo Road. The hike is 10km in total and will leave you inspired to find the next destination to explore.
- Good walking shoes
- Water and snacks
- Hat and sunscreen
How To Get There
Take the Mornington Peninsula Freeway M11 (also called Peninsula Link) all the way to the roundabout where the freeway finishes and meets Boneo Road. Turn right on Boneo Road towards Flinders and drive 12km until you see the signs for Mornington Peninsula National Park and the Bushranger Bay Trail Car Park. This is the starting point for your hike.
- Spotting wildlife
- Scenic lookouts
- Exploring rock pools
The walk is 10km return, on a well-marked and easy to follow trail. Allow at least 3 hours for the hike if you are planning to stop in at the beach and explore the rock pools.
Feature photo courtesy of Visit Victoria