Journeys & Experiences

Cape Schanck: Victoria’s Hidden Paradise, Just An Hour From Melbourne

It’s always amazing to know someone living in a particular place for years because that person can tell you about the most amazing hidden gem that no one else can! It has happened to me before, and it happened again when I was in Melbourne recently!

While I was fiddling with my phone, trying to figure out the ‘Best things to do in Melbourne’, and about to book a trip (a fairly expensive one) to Phillip Island, this kind gentleman who was hosting me (Shibu Uncle, as I fondly call him) offered to take me for a drive to Cape Schanck and a picnic thereafter. I instantly Google-d to see the place, and it took me about 30 seconds to agree to the plan! I knew this was going to be far more exciting than joining yet another group tour, but I didn’t know then, that it would be as good as a private tour!

We started our journey from Mt Waverley (Southeastern suburb) where we were staying, and it took us about an hour to reach Cape Schanck, which was approximately 84 km away! [In case you are planning to travel from Melbourne City, the distance would nearly be 100 km and would take about an hour and a half to reach.]

Like I’ve already mentioned, it was nearly secluded, and there were only 2 cars parked when we arrived. Although it was summer, the cold South Pacific winds had already started to tickle my senses, right from the time I got off the car. As we headed towards the beach, I could hear the roar of the waves breaking at the rocky shores. At a distance, the Cape Schanck Lighthouse could be seen.

Here’s All You Need To Know About Cape Schanck Lighthouse & The History!

Offering stunning landscapes, rugged terrain with unspoiled and wild beaches, mysterious & dramatic volcanic features, and a scenic wooden walking track with spectacular ocean views, Cape Schanck is the perfect place to unwind, away from the chaos and cacophony of the city life!

Located in the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, the history of Cape Schanck dates back to 1859 when the Lighthouse was built from local limestone with its unique lantern, for the sole purpose of guiding the sailors and preventing ships being wrecked at the Cape.

There’s a decent area for parking your car, and tickets for guided tours of the lighthouse can be purchased at the Cape Schanck kiosk in front of the carpark area. A narrow and steep flight of stairs leads up to the light station’s balcony that can accommodate about a dozen people. (Make sure you’re wearing comfortable footwear.) Your friendly tour guide will spend a few minutes talking about the history of the light station. Visitors will get to see the lamproom inside the lighthouse and have a glimpse of the 1000-watt tungsten-halogen bulb, which has saved several ships from disastrous wrecks in the past.

If you climb up the lighthouse, you’ll be awestruck as it provides spectacular views of the Southern Peninsula coast and the Bass Strait from the balcony.

QUICK FACT – The Cape Schanck Lighthouse is one of the first lighthouses that was built in Australia and among the very few that is still operating.

A Breezy Walk Down to the Coastline and Enjoy the Pacific Chills!

As mentioned earlier, there’s a wooden track that leads to the farthest coast of Cape Schanck and it’s one of the most picturesque spots I’ve ever seen! There were turns where it felt like there’s no road ahead and I’ll have to jump straight into the ocean! The chilled Pacific winds numbed our senses now and then, but the gorgeous views of the lighthouse and the shoreline kept us going!

Once we reached the end of the track, there were 2 paths, one leading to a tiny rocky shore, which was washed by fierce waves and another, a comparatively broader shore, where there were several small pools, sheltering the marine life and letting snails, mollusks, seaweeds, planktons, and shellfish live at peace!  

While there were a couple of people on the broad beach, there were none on the other side! Hence, I chose to explore the rocky shore first, and as I went closer, the waves splashed on me, leaving me semi-drenched! Blocked by cliffs on both sides, the turquoise waters with their frothy waves seemed dancing with all their glory, breaking with pride on the shores. Time seemed to have paused, and I had no clue that it was already quite late before the kind uncle came to call me!

Later, we walked to the other side, where I dipped my feet on a pool created by the erosion on the rocks, and took a closer look at the life blooming there! The Pacific winds blowing on my face and the calm waters soothing my senses felt like the best things in the world.

If you’re heading to Cape Schanck, know that you can easily spend the whole day here – so it’s better not to keep any other plans, but to soak fully in the beauty of this place.

We ended the day by having a picnic at the peaceful Fingal Picnic Area, located two kilometers north of Cape Schanck, before the sun went down! It’s a beautiful spot amidst the woods, where you can sit, savor the homecooked meal and enjoy the freshness of nature. And as darkness slowly started to step in, we headed back to Mount Waverly, cherishing the moments of the beautiful day we had spent by the Cape.

Pro Tip – While you’ll be boggled by the things to do in and around Melbourne (there’s plenty to do, honestly!) make sure to keep a day for exploring Cape Schanck and you’ll definitely thank me later!

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