Best free things to do on the Mornington Peninsula

View from Portsea Pub

Blanche Clark

Posted October 10, 2023

Discover the best family and kids activities that are free to enjoy when you visit the Mornington Peninsula.

The Mornington Peninsula, located just an hour's drive from Melbourne, is a picturesque and diverse region known for its stunning coastal landscapes, wineries, and natural beauty.

Although the area offers plenty of premium experiences, such as dining, you don't need to break the bank to enjoy the Mornington Peninsula's charm. From admiring shells on the beach to a leisurely stroll along Blairgowrie Pier, there are plenty of free activities for friends and families to enjoy at any time of year.

RACV Members also save on ticket prices to some of the Mornington Peninsula’s top attractions and experiences.

Bathing boxes at Mornington

These bathing boxes at Mornington make a colourful backdrop for a photo. Image: Visit Victoria


Bathing boxes for photos

Victoria’s iconic bathing boxes, which originate from the gold-rush era, can be found on beaches from Mount Eliza and Dromana to Rosebud and Portsea. These symbols of summer make a colourful backdrop for a selfie to share on social media. Essentially glorified change rooms, these much-coveted buildings have been handed down for generations and, if sold, fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Beautiful beaches for swimming or surfing

The Mornington Peninsula boasts some of Victoria's most beautiful beaches. Whether you're seeking a tranquil spot to relax or a place to swim or surf, there's a beach for everyone. Popular choices include Sorrento Back Beach, Rye Beach, and Safety Beach, where you can watch surfers waiting for the perfect wave. Summer is the perfect time for a picnic, while nothing beats rugging up and devouring the best coastal fish and chips on colder days. You can enjoy the seaside vistas year-round for free.

Millionaires Walk

Millionaires Walk is a tongue-in-cheek name for a track that runs alongside a row of multi-million-dollar properties in Sorrento. It is part of the Sorrento Portsea Artists’ Trail, with paintings by Sir Arthur Streeton, Arthur Boyd and Ray Hodgkinson displayed along the way. The walk begins at Lentell Avenue, near Sorrento Park, and ends at Sorrento Pier. At times it may feel like you’re trespassing, but the easement is a public thoroughfare. The off-limit areas, such as private jetties, are clearly marked. Meander along and enjoy the free coastal views.


Blairgowrie Pier

Blairgowrie Pier offers a quintessential seaside walking experience. Image: Visit Victoria


Children's playgrounds for all abilities

There are more than 100 playgrounds dotted around the family friendly peninsula. Mornington Park has a large wooden pirate ship for imaginative play, while Sorrento Park has a wooden castle with a maze of tunnels and gangways. The community-built Rye Foreshore Reserve caters for children with disabilities. The Fred Smith Reserve on the Hastings Foreshore keeps it interesting with an outdoor chess board and table tennis facility, along with slides, swings and climbing features.

Snorkelling around the piers

Rye Pier is an ideal place for beginner snorkellers. The 200m underwater self-guided marine trail, called the Octopuses Garden, shows what marine life you might see under the pier. Blairgowrie Pier is another popular spot for snorkellers and divers. Along with sponges, fish and stingrays, this area is known for its nudibranchs (colourful sea slugs) and annual spider crab congregation around May. For a close encounter with a weedy sea dragon, try Flinders Pier or nearby Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary.

Coastal walks for all levels of fitness

Starting at Cape Schanck carpark, the 2.6km Bushrangers Bay Track takes you along a bush track and descends to a wild beach, which is best appreciated with a walk rather than a swim because of its dangerous surf conditions. If you’re up for the challenge, try the 26km Two Bays Walking Track or 30km Coastal Trail. Both offer breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and tumultuous sea. Keep an eye out for native wildlife and unique rock formations.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse

Cape Schanck Lighthouse is surrounded by stunning coastal scenery. Image: Supplied


Cape Schanck Lighthouse

Cape Schanck Lighthouse is a picturesque and historically significant landmark surrounded by stunning coastal scenery. The nearby viewing platforms provide excellent opportunities for sightseeing, photography and spotting seals and dolphins, while the boardwalk descends to a prime view of Pulpit Rock, a geological formation that rises dramatically above the rocky coastline. Guided tours of the lighthouse are available, but fees apply.

Point Nepean National Park

History buffs will love exploring Point Nepean National Park, which played a significant role in Australia's military history. Discover old military forts, tunnels, and stunning coastal landscapes while learning about the area's past. There is a ticketed shuttle service transporting visitors between the front entrance, Quarantine Station and Fort Nepean, but can explore the area on your own bike for free.

Historic Main Street Mornington

Many historic buildings have been retained and restored in Main Street in Mornington. Pick up a self-guided walking tour map from the information centre at the Court House (circa 1860) and discover the rich history of this town. Along with the post office, bank and mechanics institute, there’s the Grand Hotel, which was originally an alcohol-free “coffee palace” built during the temperance movement by architect William Pitt, who also built the Princess Theatre in Melbourne.

Cable Station Walk, Flinders

On the eastern side of the peninsula, the Cable Station Walk at Flinders takes you from Flinders Pier to the top of the cliff. There is information along the way about the original telegraph cable that provided a communication link between Tasmania and the mainland from 1869. It might be an obsolete form of communication, but until 1936 it was the SMS of its times.

Arthurs Seat view

For panoramic views of the peninsula, make your way to Arthur's Seat. Image: Visit Victoria 


Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the free Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, which showcases a wide range of contemporary Australian art. The gallery's ever-changing exhibitions and collections offer a glimpse into the vibrant world of Australian creativity.

McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery

The McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery is free for children under 18, and it’s a low-cost attraction for adults. The park is home to an impressive collection of more than 100 sculptures set within a native Australian bushland landscape. Wander through this open-air art gallery and be delighted at every turn by the thought-provoking artwork.

Panoramic views at Arthur's Seat

For panoramic views of the peninsula, make your way to Arthur's Seat, the highest point in the region. A winding drive or a hike to the summit provides a breathtaking vista of Port Phillip Bay. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Melbourne city skyline, the You Yangs and Mount Macedon. It's an ideal spot for a sunset picnic.

RACV Members save on attractions on the Mornington Peninsula.
Discover more