Mornington Peninsula National Park
A favorite seaside escape for city dwellers, Mornington Peninsula National Park is an easy drive south of Melbourne. Australia’s casual surfers flock here to ride the waves at Gunamatta, Flinders, and Point Leo beaches, while hikers who prefer to stay dry can soak up sweeping views of Bass Strait on the 18-km Coastal Walk stretching from Cape Schanck to Portsea. Along Read more...
A favorite seaside escape for city dwellers, Mornington Peninsula National Park is an easy drive south of Melbourne. Australia’s casual surfers flock here to ride the waves at Gunamatta, Flinders, and Point Leo beaches, while hikers who prefer to stay dry can soak up sweeping views of Bass Strait on the 18-km Coastal Walk stretching from Cape Schanck to Portsea. Along the peninsula’s sheltered northern coastline, foreshore camping areas feather out from colorful seaside villages like Sorrento, Blairgowrie, Rye, and Dromana. With family-friendly waves and the restaurants and shops of resort towns just minutes away, Mornington Peninsula is a top choice for urbanites seeking a stress-free summer holiday.
- Best for families: The largest foreshore campground with more than 800 campsites, Rosebud stretches along Port Phillip Bay and features kids’ play structures and shady picnic lawns.
- Best for boaters: Sorrento is close to boat ramps and the Queenscliff ferry for easy access to the Bellarine Peninsula.
- Best for wildlife watchers: Inland at Green’s Bush, Lightwood Camping Area is home to wallabies, kangaroos, and birdlife.
Tips for Snagging a Campsite Reservation
- For the largest campgrounds like Rosebud, Rye, and Sorento, book a campsite online via the Mornington Peninsula Shire’s website.
- Camping permits are required and must be displayed at your site.
- Avoid the Christmas season (late December through January) and other holidays for lower camping fees and fewer crowds.
- Summer peak season reservations must be booked before the end of the current year’s peak season and require a deposit. If you’re too late, you can grab a spot on the waitlist.
When to Go
Foreshore camping is open between late October and April each year, with peak season during the Australian summer holidays (after Christmas), Easter, Labour Day, and the Melbourne Cup weekend (the last weekend in October). Go midweek or during shoulder season (February and March) for more room to roam while still enjoying warm weather. If you’re planning to visit Mornington Peninsula restaurants and wineries, note that many are closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Know Before You Go
- Fires, including barbecues, are banned at all Mornington Peninsula camping areas. Pack a gas stove for cooking instead.
- Hot showers and toilet blocks are available at Rosebud, Rye, and Sorrento campgrounds.
- Campsites at Rosebud are not clearly marked, so get a map and ask for directions from the ranger’s office.
- Some campsites have noise restrictions after 9:30pm.
- Book a pup sitter, as dogs and other pets are not welcome at camping areas.
- Only one vehicle per campsite is allowed, so plan to carpool if camping with friends.