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Walking and cycling Park Subotopic Layout
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The gentle walks around Point Nepean offer the perfect way to explore the natural beauty of the park and its historical features. The tracks below include some that are shared with cyclists. Bicycles can be hired from the Information Centre.
The related publication below includes details of the tracks and points of interest.
Fort Nepean Discovery WalkFort Nepean was a critical part of Victoria’s defences from the 1880s until 1945. It was the largest and most heavily armed installation in the network of fortifications around the entrance to Port Phillip, and today remains an outstanding example of the evolution of gun technology and Australia’s early defence strategies.
From the 1860s Melbourne people became growingly anxious about the safety of the city’s massive wealth from the gold rush. Fears of a Russian invasion prompted the design and construction of fortifications at Queenscliff, Point Franklin at Portsea, on a man-made island in the South Channel, on Swan Island and at Point Nepean.
Fort Nepean was the first fortification at Point Nepean. During the 1880’s, the fort had six gun emplacements, a main tunnel complex, a lower engine room and temporary lower barracks. Between 1880 and 1945 four different types of guns were used: muzzle loading guns, disappearing guns, quick firing guns and six inch Mark Seven guns. Today the fortifications remain as an outstanding example of artillery engineering between 1882 and 1945.
The first shot of the British Empire was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement No. 6 at Fort Nepean, on 5 August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared in London. The shot was fired in order to prevent the German merchant vessel SS Pfalz from escaping Port Phillip to the open sea. The shot was successful – the Pfalz surrendered. Coincidently the first Australian shot of World War II was also fired from this gun emplacement on 4 September 1939 when the freighter the Woniora failed to identify itself on entrance to the Port Phillip. After the correct signal was given the ship was able to continue on.
There’s lots to see, so allow at least one hour to discover what makes Fort Nepean so unique. Above and below ground you will find gun emplacements, barracks tunnels, ammunition magazines, and engine house and even a bomb-proof room.
Audio tours of this area are available.
Gunners Cottage WalkLocated half way into the park, Gunners Cottage is the original Master Gunners house which was once located at Eagles Nest. Today it is an information shelter with a car park for visitors walking or cycling from this point.
From here visitors can explore the nearby Point Nepean Cemetery, with burial sites dating back to the 1850s. The headstones tell the early history of the area with graves of early settlers, quarantine victims and defence personnel.
The cemetery is also the start of the Walter Pisterman Heritage Walk. This sealed track takes you down to the beach at Port Phillip and Observatory Point picnic area. There are no barbecue facilities provided in this area. No drinking water is available beyond Gunners Cottage.
The Mornington Peninsula Walk
Experience the diversity of the Southern Peninsula from bay to bush, cape to point. Taking in many areas of Mornington Peninsula National Park this walk can be completed in sections or approximately 100km continuous walk linking the Two Bays Walking Track, Coastal Walk, Point Nepean Walks and Bay Trail.
For more information download the brochure from the Related Documents section below.
Wilsons Folly Walk
This 1.7km walking track links London Bridge in the Mornington Peninsula National Park with Point Nepean. The track is an extension of the long coastal walk from Cape Schank and passes through pockets of Coastal Banksia Stands, Moonah woodland and native grasslands.
Coles Track (walking and cycling)
Walter Pisterman Walk
Links Coles Track to the Point Nepean Cemetery.
Range Area Walk
The 1.8km walk meanders through coastal scrub, a former Rifle Range and passes Monash Break and Light. Visitors can climb the Light Tower steps and take in sweeping views of the park, coastline and Melbourne City skyline. The Range Area was used to train cadets in the Army Officer Cadet School; training included firing rifles, grenades, and machine guns. The walk links the Quarantine Station and Cheviot Hill.
Cycling is a great way to discover this vast park. Hire a bike from the Information Centre or bring your own. Cycling is permitted in the Quarantine Station, along Defence Road (to Fort Pearce) and along Coles Track which is shared path. Bicycles are not permitted beyond Fort Pearce due to safety hazards with the narrowness of the road and limited space for the shuttle bus to pass cyclists. Bike racks are available at Fort Nepean, Cheviot Hill and Quarantine Station.
A bicycle lock is recommended when leaving your bicycle for a walk. Parks Victoria and the Licensed Operator take no responsibility for loss, theft or damage to bicycles. Helmets must be worn at all times. Bicycles cannot be taken on the shuttle bus.
- Point Nepean National Park - Park note (PDF 1.6 MB)
- The Mornington Peninsula Walk (PDF 3.1 MB)
Experience the diversity of the Southern Peninsula from bay to bush, cape to point.