See the wild ocean on one side and the peaceful bay on the other at this national park and resort village on the Mornington Peninsula’s westernmost tip.

Magnificent mansions and scenic coastal walking trails flank the narrow, 2-kilometre (1.2-mile) wide finger of land in Portsea, an upmarket seaside village that tapers into the lush Point Nepean National Park. Check out the ruins of Portsea’s 19th-century fortifications, scuba dive by the pier and relax in the beer garden of the iconic Portsea Hotel.

Spend a day exploring Portsea’s gorgeous beaches. Portsea’s sheltered beaches open up into Weeroona Bay and extend from either side of the Portsea Pier. Relax on the golden sands and swim in the calm bay. Portsea’s main commercial area lies along the coastal Point Nepean Road, so you can grab drinks or fish and chips before hitting the beach. Rent scuba-diving gear from a foreshore operator and explore the underwater world around the pier. See the weedy sea dragon, rays and pufferfish amid the reef systems or venture further out by boat to see outlying reefs and shipwrecks.

Head to the ocean-facing Portsea Back Beach and check the swell. This popular surfing spot is home to the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club, which patrols the beach on Saturdays and Sundays. From here, you can walk along scenic coastal pathways and take in mesmerising views of wild surf and the Bass Strait. A rugged rock archway, known as the London Bridge, can be seen further west from the beach. You can also find a golf course overlooking the ocean here.

A network of walking tracks extends east along the bayside foreshore to Point Franklin and west into the national park. Explore the native bushland trails and learn about Port Phillip Bay’s history. Check out the 19th-century military forts and tunnels or visit the old Quarantine Station. You can also see relics from the settlements of the Boonerwrung Aboriginal people.

Grab lunch or dinner from the locals’ favourite pub, the Portsea Hotel. Take a seat under a sun umbrella and enjoy local beers, regional wines and tasty pub fare while looking out over Port Phillip Bay.

Portsea is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD along the toll road or a 2-hour drive along the scenic Nepean Highway. Take the 1-hour train journey to Frankston to get a local bus connection to Portsea.

Guide to Exploring Portsea

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