A visual guide to the Two Bays Walking Track across the Mornington Peninsula. One of the best day hikes in Victoria – Australia.
The Two Bays Walking Track had long been a hike I was keen to do. Part of the 100km Mornington Peninsula Walk, it was this section that really appealed to me. And with Imbi busy for the day on a sunny Saturday in early December, I finally took my opportunity.
Two Bays Walking Track Information
Distance: 26-28km depending on exactly where you start from
Trail Type: One-way (point-to-point)
Start Point: Anthony’s Nose Boat Ramp, Dromana
Finish Point: Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Duration: 6-10 hours depending on your fitness level
The Latrobe Parade Section
Starting at 10am (a little later than planned), I set off from Anthony’s Nose Boat Ramp in Dromana, just up from the Mornington Peninsula Visitor Information Centre. Many people skip this section and actually start at the Latrobe Parade Car Park which shaves off about 1km of fairly uneventful walking. Call me pedantic, but I had to start the Two Bays Walking Track right on Port Philip Bay.
A short steep path takes you through the Latrobe Reserve and then out onto Latrobe Parade. As you come out of Latrobe Reserve (facing up, with the sea behind you) turn right and follow the road along and over the freeway to the car park. From the Car Park you’ll see the ‘Welcome to Arthurs Seat State Park’ sign and the Two Bays Walking Track symbol of the Fairy-Wren pictured (below right).
Arthurs Seat State Park Section
Straight away I could I see why the Two Bays Walking Track symbol was what it was. There were Superb Fairy-wrens everywhere. The flamboyant males with their distinctive blue colouration are so photogenic, I can never resist taking another photo. They are a nice distraction from the initial gradual climb up the path through Arthurs Seat State Park.
As you get a bit higher the views begin to open up. Eventually you reach a section of the track with unimpeded views along the coast. With beautifully clear conditions I could see right along the along the Mornington Peninsula. It was a great start to the hike and already well worth it.
After the uphill climb you pass through some nice shady bushland with specks of purple from the Fringe Lilies and Purple Apple-berry. It was a really nice section of the track, so quiet and peaceful. I only came across a few other people here, despite it being a mid Saturday morning.
There was also plenty of colourful birds and butterflies flying around. Knowing Arthurs Seat State Park was home to Echidnas, Kangaroos, Swamp Wallaby’s and Koalas I would loved to have spent a bit more time looking around for them. But with over 20km of hiking still to go, I pushed on with the camera out and ready, just in case.
Coming out of the woodland area you enjoy the last of the amazing Port Philip Bay views before a right turn on to a Fire Access trail and a really steep decline down to Mclarens Dam. The dam is a nice spot for a quick drink break and the last opportunity for a little bit of wildlife spotting in Arthurs Seat State Park. I was tempted to do a short lap around it. Resisting, I carried on a few minutes to Waterfall Gully Road, which marked the end of the Arthurs Seat State Park section and a fantastic first part of the hike.
Rosebud South Street Section
As you exit the Arthurs Seat State Park at Waterfall Gully Road, there is detailed signage explaining which direction to travel. But basically, you turn right down Waterfall Gully Road and head down towards Goolgowie Street. Turning left onto Goolgowie Street, head to Avalon Drive, where you enter Goolgowie Bushland Reserve. There are the Fairywren Symbols on the powerlines to follow so it is easy to navigate your way through to the reserve. The locals here in South Rosebud residential area were very friendly, clearly picking me out as first-timer on the Two Bays Walking Track and checking I knew where I was going. One kind resident even checked if I needed to fill up my water bottle.
Goolgowie Bushland Reserve may only be small, but this section was a pleasant surprise in amongst this residential area. It was a nice walk along its boardwalk track and the amount of birdlife in this little reserve also impressed. A few Grey Fantails were busy feeding in the surrounding trees, apparently on spiders judging by this photo I took (beak covered in spiderweb).
After exiting the boardwalk I came out at a playground/dog park in Yambill Avenue, where I came across a pretty relaxed Kookaburra. Turning right, follow the street south to Duells Road. Here you turn left and walk uphill to Gardens Road and follow on to the Stefanie Rennick walk onto Hyslops Road. The track takes you along a quiet dirt track with farmland and vineyards to your sides until you eventually reach Limstone Road and enter the Green Bush area of the Two Bays Walking Track.
The Greens Bush Section
The Greens Bush section of the Two Bays Walking Track is in the Mornington Peninsula National Park. It is the ‘largest area of remnant vegetation on the Mornington Peninsula’. And there is a real variety of vegetation too, with Eucalypt forest, Fern gullies, Grasstrees and more. I was on constant lookout for wildlife. Packed with Echidnas, Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies and more, I had my fingers crossed. However coming through in the middle of the day, it was really just birds I saw in the first section of Greens Bush. But this section was really beautiful and any nature lover will appreciate it.
Finding a nice shady spot, it was time for a well earned late lunch. Surrounded by ferns and eucalypts, it was incredibly peaceful listening to nothing but nature. I could not believe I had seen no one in this section of Greens Bush on a Saturday! Not wanting to stay still too long and stiffen up, I resisted the urge for a siesta and set off again along the fern sided track.
Realising I was making very good time through Greens Bush, I purposefully slowed up and got the big lens out, searching a little harder for some wildlife. Busy taking a picture of a butterfly, I heard a couple of people coming towards me. And could not believe it when I heard one of them saying my name. I had only seen a handful of people all day and bumped into a work colleague in the middle of Greens Bush! It’s a small world! After a brief chat we headed off in opposite directions. Not long after, I spotted a Swamp Wallaby on the track ahead. Typically, as is often the case with Swamp Wallabies it darted off before I could get a shot. But it wasn’t long until I found a couple more.
I also spent a bit of time trying to photograph the many birds flying around. The latter section parallel to the Main Creek seemed the most productive. These included lots of Rosellas, Grey Fantail, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Shrikethrush, Brown Thornbill, Rufous and Golden Whistlers, and even a few Red Browed Finch as the forest opened up.
I kept an eye out for the Kangaroos often seen in this part of Greens Bush. I had seen dozens close to this area at the nearby Kangaroo Track on different hike. But being the hottest part of the day, they were no doubt resting under the shade of the ferns. But, I did see a Tiger Snake on the edge of the track and was able to take a quick photo before it slithered off. Although highly venomous, these snakes are generally shy and don’t pose a real threat as long as you leave them alone. It was a timely reminder to keep an eye on where I was putting my feet, rather than constantly staring up in the trees. 😬
I loved the Greens Bush Section of the Two Bays Walking Track. The ever changing vegetation kept it really interesting. One minute you’re in dry forest, the next a wet fern gully and before you know it, you’re suddenly on a sandy track surrounded by Grasstrees. It really was a diverse and special section of the Two Bays Walking Track. Hitting Boneo Road was something of a reality check. Having seen next to no one all day, suddenly there were people everywhere. Cars were parked on both sides of the road and I realised the tranquil sections of the hike was over.
Bushrangers Bay Section
The Bushrangers bay section of the Two Bays Walking Track is one of the most popular walks in the Mornington Peninsula and quite rightly so. This 6km section is easily accessible, has beautiful costal scenery and a good chance of finding native wildlife. So it was no real surprise to find it pretty busy on a sunny Saturday afternoon in early December. Within only a matter of minutes, I’d seen more people than I’d seen on the rest of the Two Bays Walking Track combined.
The first part of the trail takes you through bushland parallel to the Main Creek and again is a great area for wildlife such as Kangaroos and Echidnas. Search as I may, unfortunately I didn’t see any this time. However I did find a rather sleepy looking Blue-Tongued Lizard.
As the track reaches the coast, the views really open up and the isolated Bushrangers Bay and its Elephant Rock comes into view. For many it’s the tidal rock pools at the base of Elephant Rock that draw them here, not the walk itself. Hence there are a number of people you may not ordinarily expect to find on a trail like this.
The views along the coastline were spectacular. Blue water and skies contrasted against the black basalt cliff faces. It really was a great final section of the trail and extremely picturesque. The only problem I encountered was as soon as I started on the Bushranger Bay section, my Telstra phone reception died. Ordinarily that wouldn’t have been an issue, but I’d agreed to ring Imbi to arrange my pickup from Cape Schanck Lighthouse carpark. Luckily about a kilometre or two from the lighthouse the reception returned, so I was at least able to arrange my lift home.
Reaching the lighthouse by 16:00, 6 hours after I’d left Dromana was a little earlier than I had anticipated. I had factored in 8 hours to complete the hike. This and my delayed pickup call meant I had a bit of time to explore Cape Schanck whilst waiting for Imbi to drive down from Mornington to collect me. The easy 600m circuit from the Cape Schanck carpark offered more great views of the coast and lighthouse itself.
And it’s definitely worth heading down the boardwalk and stairs (pictured above) to the mighty Pulpit Rock. This geological formation was created over millions of years by volcanic activity and erosion. From the lighthouse it’s just under 1km (one-way) to reach it, but well-worth the extra effort at the end of the hike, if you’ve still got the energy.
The Two Bays Walking Track was everything I’d hoped for and more. It was actually a lot quicker and easier than I had expected too. The ever-changing terrain, wildlife and stunning views makes this one of the best hikes I have done in Australia. If I was to do it again, the only thing I would do differently is leave a few hours earlier. This would likely have maximised wildlife viewing opportunities and minimised time spent hiking during the hottest part of the day.
Useful information and packing essentials
- The Two Bays Walking Track is point-to-point. This means it starts and finishes in two different locations. So you will need to arrange transport accordingly. It’s probably best to hike with someone else and leave one car at the start and one at the end point. Or, if you have a lovely wife like me, arrange a pickup time from Cape Schanck. 😘
- Take plenty of good ‘reef-friendly’ sunscreen with you. Regular sunscreens contain ingredients that contribute to coral bleaching. We love Sunbutter Skincare, which comes in a tin and is good for our oceans.
- A good hat/cap is important. A lot of the Two Bays Walking Track is sheltered but I still definitely recommend a hat.
- Wear good sturdy shoes that are ‘broken-in’. By this I mean don’t get a brand new pair and do the Two Bays Walking Track having never worn them before. It’s a recipe for blisters!
- In dry conditions hiking boots are not necessary for this track.
- Decent socks will make hiking more comfortable.
- Check the weather before you go so you plan accordingly. In my opinion this hike would not be fun on a wet and windy day!
- Likewise, on a seriously hot summers day, it would not be wise. Hiking 28km in very hot weather can be quite dangerous, especially if you’re not used to it.
- If hiking alone, always make sure people know your plans and intended route.
- Watch out for snakes particularly in Spring and Summer when they are more active. Tiger Snakes are regularly encountered here. Other species frequently seen in this region include the Lowland Copperhead and the Eastern Brown Snake. But don’t be deterred by snakes! Remember these highly venomous snakes do not set out to attack people/pets, however they will defend themselves if they feel threatened or are accidentally trodden on. For some really useful information on Victoria’s most common snakes and snake safety click HERE for a handy PDF.
- I can’t speak for all networks, but with Telstra I had reception for the whole of the Two Bays Walking Track except about 3km from when I entered the Bushrangers Bay section from Greens Bush.
- Take plenty of water. I can’t stress this enough. There are little to no opportunities to refill water bottles.
Please if you have any questions feel free to comment. We love helping people get a little off track, especially out in the wild and enjoying Australia’s amazing native wildlife!
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