The best things in life are FREE. If you’re looking for things to do with your little people on the Mornington Peninsula this summer, look no further. Here’s our top ten list of kid-friendly, nature-loving activities from Sorrento to Mornington and everywhere in between.
1. Sorrento Back Beach Rock Pools, Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento
Time it right with a low tide and you can have your very own salt water infinity pool at Sorrento back beach. There’s even a jump rock for adventurous (and careful) older kids and various caves and shallow pools to explore. If the sun gets too much you can hit the Sorrento Park playground for a break, or if your timing is spot on – a coffee and snack from All Smiles - the cafe with the best damned ocean view on the Ninch bar none.
2. Tyrone Foreshore, Rye
If the back beach is a bit much for your smaller smalls, the calm, shallow waters of the Tyrone Foreshore are what you’re looking for. Tyrone stretches between Blairgowrie and Rye front beaches and is perfect for a relaxing day out with crawlers. The sand bank is shallow for a good couple of hundred metres and there’s even camping on the Foreshore Reserve if you want an extended stay. The Tyrone Foreshore has been identified as an area of environmental significance, with endangered and rare plant species so leave things as you find them and enjoy a perfect day of pristine sand and sun.
3. Seawinds Gardens and Arthur’s Seat State Park, Arthur’s Seat
Seawinds Gardens encompasses a 34 hectare area right at the top of Arthur’s Seat (Wonga), with spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay from various lookouts. Take your pick from a whole range of walking tracks to discover some incredible Indigenous and exotic plants both in the wild and the gardens. Picnic tables, electric barbecues and toilets are on site around the gardens, as well as some unique William Ricketts sculptures and memorial plaques. Or go in deeper for some of the best wallaby spotting on the Ninch.
4. Rosebud Foreshore Playground & Pier, Jetty Rd, Rosebud
We thought we already had some great playgrounds on the Ninch, and then this baby appeared in 2017 and put Rosebud on every parent’s map. Epic mountain slides, a flying fox, net swings, rope climbing walls, a spinning disc and more, all directly overlooking the water at the end of Jetty Rd. There’s barbeques for the organised among us, and you can bring your treadly for a ride along the Bay Trail before or afterwards, or grab an ice cream and hit the pier.
5. Hastings Wharf, Marine Parade, Hastings
Western Port has the added advantage of being slightly quieter than its Port Phillip cousins and Hastings Wharf packs a full day’s punch. You can have a swim or a top notch brunch to begin, before whiling the day away watching pelicans, walking along the beachside trail or enjoying the excellent playground adjoining Pelican Park Recreation Centre. Did somebody say Fish n Chips?
6. Somers Beach, Miramar Rd, Somers
Head a little further south and you’ll find the perfect (fairly) secluded beach in Somers, where dolphin and koala spotting is not uncommon and you’re safe for a swim – just keep an eye out for rocks. If you’re looking for adventure, check out the Westernport Bay Trail that will take you to Balnarring Beach or further afield. And bonus: just over the road, the Somers General Store can sort your ice cream dreams.
7. Flinders Pier, The Esplanade, Flinders
Nothing says summer with kids like… jetty jumping! This beautiful old pier, dating back to 1866, has recently been saved thanks to the work of locals and sits at the point where Westernport meets Bass Strait. Popular for sailing and fishing, it’s also an iconic dive site - pack your snorkel for some weedy sea dragon spotting around the pier. But the main attraction is the jumping! Safety is paramount of course, so make sure an adult has their wits about them with tides and safety checks.
8. Red Hill Rail Trail, Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South - Merricks Rd, Merricks
One of the best things about this meandering trail through the farmlands of Red Hill, (apart from the fact that it’s pram-friendly), is that it begins and ends with The Epicurean and Merricks General Wine Store. So no matter which end you start at, you know there’s a perfect pitstop. We like to start at the Epicurean end (it’s downhill from Red Hill to Merricks), lunch at MGWS and then return for a play on the epic playground at Red Hill Community Park. It’s 13km return and you can plant a car at one end if it will save you from one too many cries of ‘are we there yet?’ The trail runs along the old railway line that used to carry fresh apples all the way to Hastings. It’s a shared path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders so be ready for a friendly wave.
9. Mountain Bike Trails, Boundary Rd, Dromana
If you know, you know. These mountain bike trails created in sections of Arthurs Seat State Park constitute some of the best MTB tracks within cooee of Melbourne. Most of them are not for the faint hearted, but there is a pump track at the entrance for the littlies and rated trails for you to pick your level of difficulty. Parking at Boundary Rd - just over the road from the strip of shops. Load up at Wombat Cafe before you get serious on the bikes.
10. Mother’s Beach, Mornington
They don’t call it Mother’s Beach for nothing. A sheltered, shallow beach in sunny Mornington – accessed via Schnapper Point Drive or Shire Hall Beach. Get in early and hire a kayak or stand up paddle board for your posse, or stake your claim on a picnic table. If you need a bit of a reprieve from the sun you can head to Mornington Park playground; do a spot of boat watching with an ice cream at the ramp; or take your pick for a bite to eat on Main St. Be warned – on a hot summer’s day the crowds descend.
There are hundreds of other free spots to explore across the Ninch. Or if you’re happy to spend a little on some seriously memorable kid’s days out - check out Enchanted Adventures, Moonlit Sanctuary, horse riding, the Big Goose, or the Arthur’s Seat Eagle chairlift to name just a few.
See you in the saltwater!