Portsea: A High-End Holiday Town between Beaches
Portsea marks the most westerly point on the Mornington Peninsula and is surrounded by the waters of the Bass Straight on one side and Port Phillip Bay on the other. The close proximity to water puts a vast range of activities in the reach of visitors, but don’t overlook Portsea’s inland attractions. This area is known as a playground for Australia's rich and famous and is home to many luxurious accommodation options. Holiday houses abound on the coastline, and there are plenty of self-contained cottages a little further in. Some rental options boast large floor plans that allow large families or groups of friends to bunk together and save on holiday costs.
Jump into the Water
Known to be one of the most popular places close to Melbourne for scuba diving, Portsea offers amazing underwater scenery for snorkelers and scuba divers alike. Of course, you have the option to venture out on your own; however, there are several group charters that leave the Portsea Pier each day. While on your underwater excursions, keep your eyes peeled for the weedy sea dragon, as Portsea is home to this unique species. If you are quite experienced with diving, choose a charter that tours the various submarine and ship wreckages in the area, such as that of the HMAS Canberra. No worries if you are new to diving—many local companies offer lessons.
Portsea and Surrounds on Foot
Take an in-depth tour of Portsea and the surrounding areas by following one of the planned walks. Millionaire's Walk gives you a chance to gawk at the beautiful homes of the rich and famous. Stroll past a great mixture of 19th century mansions and modern residences to truly get a feel for the area. For a much longer trek, try the Mornington Peninsula Walk. This adventure is spread over approximately 100 kilometres and gives you a look at sparkling bays, rough coastlines, sandy beaches, the wild bush and all of the other beautiful aspects of the peninsula. The Coastal Walk is another one of the popular options in the area, though it is also quite long and takes nearly 2 days to complete.
Head to Point Nepean National Park
Enjoyable for history buffs and nature lovers alike, Point Nepean National Park is a must-see when in Portsea. The park offers a vast network of walking and cycling trails, from which you can take in spectacular seaside scenery. These trails lead between the many attractions within Point Nepean, which include memorials and informational exhibits about Australia's involvements in the World Wars. A bus shuttle service is provided if you tire of walking or if you just want to cover more ground at the park in a shorter period of time. Do not forget to bring along a hamper of food, as there are plenty of places to sit down and have a picnic.
Beach Hop in Portsea
The beaches in Portsea are split into "front beach" and "back beach" designations, with the back beaches facing the Bass Straight and the front beaches bordering the calmer waters of Port Phillip Bay. The waters of the Bass Straight are rough and ideal surfers, who generally head to Portsea Surf Beach. Families travelling with children and those who are just out for a day of swimming and relaxing should head over to the front beaches, which include Main Beach. The beaches are easy to travel between, so you can visit more than one in a day.
Getting to Portsea
For international travellers, the best way to get to Portsea is to fly into Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, 95 kilometres away, then rent a car. Melbournians tend to drive down for the weekend or longer, but public transport options are available as well, though this complicates the journey. Once in Portsea, kick back, relax and mingle with the wealthy.