Breathtaking scenery, tunnels and forts to explore – this is an excursion the whole family can enjoy!
Where: Point Nepean is located 90km from Melbourne. Click here for map.
When: The park is open every day of the year. Vehicle access to park is available from 8am – 5pm daily, but otherwise accessible at all times by foot or bicycle. The Information Centre is open 10am – 5pm daily (closed Christmas Day). Note: there is no information officer on duty between 1.00pm and 1.30pm. For more information about the park and detailed maps visit the Parks Vic website.
One afternoon I decided to take the kids to explore Point Nepean (drive through Portsea and keep going). We arrived around 3pm in the afternoon and armed with little knowledge we headed off for an adventure – the kids on their bikes and me in my runners (for walking, I don’t run).
With a few biscuits and a water bottle (perhaps I packed apples I can’t recall) we took off from Gunners Cottage – the last point inside the park you can drive to, after this point it is walking, cycling or catch the shuttle bus only. The round trip (including lots of time to explore the Fort) took 2.5 hours – if I was doing it again I would possibly come a little more prepared in the snack department as the kids were starving by the time we got back to the car.
It was an ambitious (but just doable) bike ride for a 4 and 7 year old. (I should mention that my kids regularly cycle to school which is about 3km round trip, this ride from Gunners to the Fort was just under 3km one way.) There were a few hills – but the excitement of getting to the end of the track easily motivated us on. Increasingly we were rewarded with fantastic views – and then the Fort came into sight! It was a 5-10 minute walk to the fort (we had to park our bikes at a certain point and walk from there) but it wasn’t too difficult to motivate the kids up the last hill – and the tunnels and displays inside the fort were an unexpected bonus! We explored every inch before deciding it was time to head back.
The ride back was a bit of fun (although I had my heart in my mouth at spots) as the hills we’d slogged our way up on the way there were easy coasting for my little cyclists (and maybe I broke into a light jog at a few points as while the road is closed to public vehicles you just never know what might be around the corner). We decided to turn off the road and take the Coles Track (a very nicely maintained sandy gravel path) which was mostly flat and through scrub – it was a little winding and the kids loved racing ahead to hide around the next corner.
If riding or walking isn’t your thing there is a shuttle bus service which departs daily every hour from 10.30am – 4pm. Tickets: adult $10, child $7.50.
There are spots to picnic within the park (and near and in the Fort), but you would need to come prepared as other than public toilets (and a drinking fountain near the entrance to the park) there are no other amenities.
During our travels we spied an echidna shuffling around on the edge of the road, there were plenty of birds and also some really pretty wild flowers.
I should also point out that when we visited the park in October 2012 there were some Major Works underway for a new visitors centre (which has since opened) and improved roads (which is still being completed). So conditions may be slightly different depending on what stage this project is at. It’s due for completion in early 2013.
After returning to the car I called in our order for fish and chips (which we collected in Sorrento) and we headed onto the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club where there are a few picnic tables and one of the nicest views around.