A tourist region with a variety of beaches (both sheltered and open-sea) and seaside resorts, much of the area is now regarded as a part of greater Melbourne. It is known simply as "The Peninsula" to locals and Melburnians alike, giving rise to the expression "going down the peninsula".
The Melbourne suburb of Frankston is sometimes known as The Gateway to the Peninsula, being where the peninsula joins the mainland on its northern boundary.
The peninsula tapers away and terminates at Point Nepean.
Before the arrival of white settlers, Mornington Peninsula was the home of the Bunurong tribe whose six clans lived along the Victorian coast from the Werribee River across to Western Port Bay and Wilsons Promontory.
At the time of European settlement, much of the Mornington Peninsula was covered with she-oak forests. These were quickly cleared to provide firewood for the growing city of Melbourne, and much of the peninsula was then covered with fruit orchards. Nevertheless much natural vegetation still exists, especially in an area of bushland in the south known as Greens Bush, and the coastal fringe bordering Bass Strait and Western Port Bay. Most large areas of bushland are now included within the Mornington Peninsula National Park.
As serious farming has declined, hobby farmers with an interest in the aesthetic and the natural environment have taken over much of the peninsula. This has led to an expansion of natural bushland on private property, and many native species, such as koalas, are becoming increasingly common.
By road: The Peninsula is easily reached from Melbourne by car via the Nepean Highway. Another route is via the Frankston Freeway to Frankston, and then via the Moorooduc Highway. Another option is via the Monash Freeway (M1) and the Western Port Highway to the eastern side of the Peninsula.
By public transport: A bus service (number 788) runs along the entire length of the peninsula to Portsea, departing from Frankston Railway Station in metropolitan Melbourne. It should be noted that Metcard tickets are not valid on this bus as it runs outside the metropolitan area, but will be soon.
A number of bus services (numbers 781, 784 and 785) run partway down the peninsula from Frankston Railway Station along the Nepean Highway. These run to various destinations such as Mount Martha and Mornington, via Mount Eliza. Metcards are accepted on these services (Zone 2).
V/Line have a rail service from Frankston to Hastings and Stony Point, from where a ferry can be taken to French and Phillip Islands. A bus service also runs to Flinders on the south coast.
The Mornington Peninsula has a long history of being a favourite holiday destination for the people of Melbourne.
At the very tip of the peninsula, former government land long closed to the public was opened as Point Nepean National Park. Formerly used as a quarantine station and by the military for various purposes including a gunnery range, the site is now very popular as it is largely undeveloped. Sections of the park are still closed due to unexploded ordnance.
Also popular is Mornington Peninsula National Park.
On the Northern/Western side of the peninsula, facing Port Phillip Bay, several popular holiday spots are to be found. These include Dromana, Rosebud, McCrae, Sorrento and the more exclusive Portsea, sometime referred to as 'The Playground of the Rich', due to its lavish properties and expensive real estate.
On the South/Eastern side of the peninsula, facing Western Port Bay and Bass Strait, good surf beaches are to be found, such as that at Point Leo.
Also on the Western Port Bay side of the peninsula is the naval base HMAS Cerberus, which has a long history, evident in its museum. At Hastings, is an ex-Royal Australian Navy decommissioned Oberon class submarine, which it is hoped will develop into a viable tourist attraction.
A little to the north of Hastings at Pearcedale is the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, which runs nightly walks showcasing many of the nocturnal animals that used to be found in the region.
Popular day trips from Melbourne include Red Hill and its popular monthly market, and the town of Mornington.
At Dromana lies one of the few remaining Drive-in Theatres left in the state. Its three screens remain popular with the people from the peninsula, and also with those from the southern suburbs of Melbourne.
The region draws many visitors to its outstanding golf courses. The rolling sand-dune links land is home to layouts such as Moonah Links, The Dunes, Portsea, St Andrew's Beach and The National Golf Club.
The Mornington Peninsula is also known as a temperate water scuba diving destination. The shore dives at Mornington Pier, Rye Pier, Blairgowrie Pier, Portsea Pier and Flinders Pier give an outstanding variety of experiences on day and night dives. Portsea is also where many divers depart on charter boats to dive sites in Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait. There is a remarkable variety of diving environments including wrecks, reefs, drift dives, scallop dives, seal dives and wall dives.
The Mornington Peninsula is a notable wine region, producing small quantities of high quality wine from around 60 wineries. While most varieties are grown, the cool, maritime climate of the Peninsula is particularly noted for pinot noir. Many wineries are open for public tastings, and several have quality restaurants.
Apples were the staple product of the Peninsula for several generations, with whole trainloads being dispatched to the city and ports. The number of orchards has been dramatically reduced, however there are many other producers on the Peninsula, specialising in berries, cherries, and other fruits, as well as market gardens. There is increased interest in organic production, and there are even organic beef producers.
The Peninsula not only produces fresh products, with small-scale manufacturers of niche products as diverse as cheese, chocolate, chutney, jam, and olive oil. Local produce is also to be found at markets held around the Peninsula, such as the monthly market at Red Hill. A local organisation, Mornington Peninsula Gourmet, has been set up to support the many small producers on the Peninsula.
Mr. Holt, who was 59 and had had a recent shoulder injury, plunged into the surf. He disappeared from view and was never seen again. Despite an extensive search his body was never found. He was officially presumed dead on 19 December 1967.
Established and aspiring authors unite to release anthology.(Stories and Poems from the Mornington Peninsula Mark II)
Feb 28, 2002; M2 BEST BOOKS-(C)2000-2002 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD Nineteen authors, both published and unpublished have collaborated on a new...