Come join the Wild Melbourne team for the Day by the Bay festival to celebrate our incredible Port Phillip Bay.
Mornington has long been famous in Victoria for its stunning coastline and ultra-popular family-friendly beaches. But there’s more to Mornington than just frolicking in the sea and sand – as if that wasn’t enough! Remember The Wild – Wild Melbourne’s national organisation – is excited to be hosting one of our free Day By the Bay summer festivals at Mornington Park on Saturday February 23 as part of our Connected to Port Phillip initiative.
Why not come down and make a trip of it?
Located on the aptly named Mornington Peninsula, the township of Mornington is part of the traditional lands of the Boon Wurrung / Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation, whose history extends back many thousands of years. There are various sites of Indigenous cultural significance found along the Peninsula, including shell middens and scar trees.
Mornington’s Main Street boasts a popular historical walk and bustling shops and cafes. The old bank, post office and courthouse are a few of the street’s Gold Rush era buildings you can visit, some of which have been given new life as trendy eateries and watering holes. Nearby you can find the historic Briars Homestead – a wonderful place to discover the local history and indulge in some restful birdwatching. The property includes beautiful gardens, bushland and expansive wetlands of great significance to local wildlife, all of which can be enjoyed via a network of excellent walking trails.
The Mornington Railway is also a popular attraction where visitors can experience the magic of train travel in a bygone era and learn more about the area’s local history.
This coastal location became a major driver of social and economic development when the pier at Schnapper Point was built in 1858 as a link to Melbourne. The construction of the pier contributed to the rapid growth of the area; paddle steamers, fishing and supply boats, and twice-weekly ferries full of visitors made regular use of what is now known as Mornington Pier.
The beaches themselves are a favourite with locals and Melburnians, featuring pristine sand, gentle lapping waves and spectacular coastal views. On a clear day, the view from the top of Schnapper Point includes landmarks as far away as Mount Macedon, the You Yangs and the Bellarine Peninsula.
On any given day, sails fill the Bay and you’ll find the pier lined with hopeful anglers trying their luck with the fish that inhabit the deep water below the pier all year round. There’s no shortage of other water-based activities either, with kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for hire.
Another highlight of the township is the rocky reef snorkelling that can be enjoyed at Birdrock Beach, around Linley Point and on the western side of Schnapper Point, where schools of snapper and the occasional eagle ray can be spotted. However, make sure you stay clear of boating areas around the busy Mornington Pier. The safety of the ever-popular Mothers Beach is the perfect place to teach little ones to snorkel.
Mornington is also the best place in the Bay to see dolphins from land. Look out for both Common Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins from the cliffs of Schnapper Point and at Mills Beach, both of which are used by the team from the Dolphin Research Institute for their land-based surveys.
Mornington Park is located on Schnapper Point, adjacent to the Esplanade and just next to Mothers Beach. The park features everything you could need for a day out by the foreshore.
Family picnics are bound to be a success with the picnic areas complete with tables, barbeques, toilets and drinking water, set amid picturesque surrounds including magnificent old cypress trees.
As visitors enter the park, they are greeted by a giant stone archway leading into a grassed area. With the beach never far away, don’t forget your bathers, towels and sand buckets. Kids can also play supervised in the adjacent playground, widely known and loved for its main feature of a large wooden pirate ship.
On Saturday February 23, a different kind of playground will pop up at Mornington Park. Melbourne musicians Mildlife, Baptism of Uzi, Empat Lima, Jess Ribeiro, Jaala (Solo) and Ferla will take to the stage to celebrate Port Phillip Bay and its many wonders. Market stalls and food trucks will keep festivalgoers busy as they enjoy the Bay’s stunning coastline, indulge in delicious food, peruse crafts and merchandise, and participate in fun activities for all ages. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover ways in which they can connect with and help preserve our beautiful Bay via the community and not-for-profit stalls. A representative from the Bunurong Land Council will also perform a Welcome to Country at the beginning of the festival.
Festivalgoers are encouraged to attend Wild Stories: Exploring Port Phillip Bay – a series of fascinating and inspiring talks on some of the Bay’s unique natural wonders, taking place on the evening of the Mornington festival. Please register for free here to attend the talks.
Come down for the day or stay for the weekend and explore this amazing piece of Port Phillip for yourself.
Set times for Day by the Bay Mornington
9am – 9:45am: Free Yoga at Day by the Bay
11:30am: Welcome to Country – Bunurong Land Councill
1:10pm: Jaala (Solo)
2:10pm: Stage Announcement – B-Alternative
2:20pm: Jess Ribeiro
3:30pm: Empat Lima
4:40pm: Baptism of Uzi
6:00pm: Mildlife (Headliner)
7:20pm: Stage Announcement – B-Alternative
7:45pm – 9:45pm: Free Event – Wild Stories: Exploring Port Phillip Bay
For more information on Day by the Bay Mornington, please see here.
Banner image courtesy of Tim Brown