Visitor Publications

Township of Portsea

The ‘end-of-the-road’ atmosphere sets the scene for Portsea’s million dollar holiday mansions , which were built by Melbourne’s rich and famous from the 1860’s but especially from the 1920’s.

Portsea is an elegant Victorian ‘sister’ to Sorrento, made all the more welcoming by an avenue of over - arching cypress. The village has long been associated with the Melbourne ‘establishment’, with its imposing mansions, landscaped gardens and cliff-top walks. Of course it also welcomes the daytripper, with fine hotels, stunning views and the nearby Mornington Peninsula National Park with its spectacular caves, flora and fauna and Portsea is blessed with one of the best bayside beaches, as well as one of the best surf beaches on the Peninsula.

The front beach is overlooked by the landmark 1927 Portsea Hotel, while its ocean beach provides the rugged setting for surfing and iron man competitions. Diving tours and lessons are popular from the Portsea pier.

A small shopping strip provides little more than the essentials, but that’s the way locals like it. Portsea borders Point Nepean - a fascinating labyrinth of tunnels and fortifications which have guarded Port Phillip Heads since the 1880s and now protected within a national park.

At Pt Nepean the Fort provides amazing views of the turbulent entrance to Port Phillip Bay.

After more than a century of high security isolation many of the tunnels, lookouts and fortresses have been reclaimed from the sweeping dunes yet Point Nepean retains its air of mystery. Its association with first settlement, shipping, quarantine and defence give it great significance in Victoria’s history and a highlight of any trip is a tour of the fortifications Phone 59844276 for entrance details and other information.

The Quarantine Station at Portsea is another of Victoria’s hidden secrets established in 1852 to protect the State against disease from foreign shores. It currently closed for restoration but guided tours of approximately 1-1/2 hour include a leisurely walk around the historic buildings with time to browse through the museum, annex and view the varied displays of artifacts covering over 100 years of the Quarantine Station Operation will resume in July.

The Nepean Historical Society along with the Friends of Quarantine Museum are working to ensure the ongoing preservation of this unique historical site and its buildings. Enquiries 59840062.

Point Nepean’s beaches and network of tunnels, turrets, lookouts and defence buildings from two world wars can now be explored by curious visitors. Interpretative displays and audio sound scapes bring to life the era when the Point was the most heavily defended outpost in the Southern Hemisphere. The wild beauty of its beaches was brought to world attention in 1967 when Cheviot Beach claimed the life of Prime Minister Harold Holt.

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Name Category/Type Phone No. Rating Page
Bayplay Apartment 03 5984 0888 82