Ferrying you to the best coastal attractions.
There’s so much to see and do in the Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula and Phillip Island, and Searoad Ferries has joined forces with some of the best coastal attractions, experiences and accommodation offerings to provide visitors with packages that will leave them feeling relaxed, reinvigorated and ready to go!
Whether you plan to play for a day or enjoy a longer stay, there is a package to make your planning easier while enjoying some great savings. Check out the packages below to find out more and get ‘packaging’ for your next coastal holiday.
In our toughest assignment yet, we’ve road-tested the beaches of Port Phillip Bay to bring you five of our favourite.
Port Phillip Bay is home to so many beautiful beaches, and the best thing is that they are protected from the tumultuous Victorian weather that many ocean-facing beaches have to deal with. The Searoad team is proud to have spent many hours road-testing the beaches of the Bay – soaking up the sun, splashing around in the shallows and eating ice cream in the name of market research – and has come up with is a list of its 5 favourite Port Phillip Bay beaches. Our pleasure!
Half Moon Bay
Location: Black Rock
Best For: Close to Melbourne
Sitting beneath the sand cliffs, Half Moon Bay gives bathers the feeling of seclusion, despite being in the middle of suburbia. The water is shallow and calm, protected by the HMAS Cerberus that was sunk as a wave break in 1924.
Point King Beach
Best For: A swim and some colonial history
Point King is the landing point of the first European visit to Victoria way back in 1802. Once you visit, there’ll be no guessing why the Queen’s navy chose it as the place to drop anchor. The water is placid, and the surrounds stunning. Now, the coastline is home to the rich and famous, littered with beautiful houses to perve on.
(Point King Beach in Portsea)
Best For: Picnics
Mills Beach is our favourite of several options in Mornington. No doubt you will recognise it from the iconic images of the beach boxes. Mills Beach has fantastic facilities, making it a great beach base for the day. The beach has BBQs, picnic tables, good toilets and a lifesaving club.
Best For: Watching the big ships enter / exit the bay
Queenscliff Beach is a wide, sandy beach, close to the heads of Port Phillip Bay. From the beach, you can see both sides of the heads (Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean), as well as the shipping channel used by cruise liners and cargo ships as they enter and exit the bay. Whilst all this sounds very dramatic, the waters themselves are calm, offering visitors good conditions for swimming.
Best For: Variety of activities
Eastern Beach is a popular swimming and recreation area located within Geelong’s city precinct. First developed in the 1930’s, the beach features a large swimming area enclosed by a boardwalk and shark cage. The swimming enclosure is a child’s paradise, complete with diving platforms, a floating island and slides. Back on land, the beach has a kids pool, an art deco kiosk, BBQ and picnic facilities and a playground.
(Eastern View Beach in Geelong)
Summer. It’s about time! We’ve been looking forward to your return for a while now.
For us, Summer is about sun and fun. It’s about getting outside and exploring new places, diving and splashing about. Summer is about best friends and loving families. Summer is events – think sport, music, arts and crafts.
On both sides of Port Phillip Bay, event season is rolling into town. These are a few of the events on the Bellarine Peninsula, Geelong, Surf Coast or Mornington Peninsula that we are particularly excited about.
Geelong Carols by Candlelight
Date: 24 December 2016
Date: 27 December – 6 January 2017
Location: Point Nepean
Day out with Thomas
Date: 7 & 8 January 2017
Sorrento Art Show
Date: 8 January 2017
Jeep Portsea Polo
Date: 14 January 2017
Portarlington Mussel Festival
Date: 14 January 2017
Portsea Swim Classic
Date: 21 January 2017
Date: 26 – 28 January 2017
Location: Point Nepean
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Date: 27 – 29 January 2017
Location: Geelong, Barwon Heads & Torquay
Mornington International Pinot Noir Celebration
Date: 10 – 11 February
Location: Cape Schanck
Great Australian Beer Festival
Date: 18 February 2017
Australian International Airshow
Date: 3 – 5 March 2017
Travelling to an event this summer? Include a ride on board with Searoad Ferries as part of the journey. Click ‘here‘ to reserve a space for you and your vehicle now.
Seahorses, soft corals and nineteenth-century ship wrecks are just some of the discoveries awaiting your underwater exploration in Port Phillip Bay.
When you’re sailing across the Bay taking in the views, the wonder that lies below the water’s surface can be a little ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It’s often not until we’re followed by a pod of dolphins or spot a Southern Right Whale, that our passengers start to wonder about what’s living just below.
Port Phillip Bay has an active scuba diving scene including both land and boat accessed dive sites. There are many protected marine parks teeming with life, sunken relics from WW1 and larger aquatic mammals to meet (http://polperro.com.au/). There’s even Victoria’s first artificial reef (HMAS Canberra), created for the sole purpose of diving.
‘Click’ the regions below to find out more:
TIGHT AR$E SCOTTY @ the Queenscliff Fort
Promo codes, coupons, gumtree, Aldi special buys, Hard rubbish collections…. these are just some of my favourite things. I like to think of myself as frugal, a lover of a bargain. Forever in search of a good deal and an appreciator of good value for money, or as my wife likes to call me, a tight ar$e… lovingly and affectionately I’m sure !?!
I had no choice really when it came to my thrifty ways. Born from Scottish stock I was guaranteed a few things; A penchant for beer and whisky, a pasty white complexion and the ability to squeeze a 1000 cents out of a dollar.
So it is in this blog that I am hoping to share with you some opportunities to have fun and indulge in new experiences, all the while going home with some change in the pocket.
My first stop on this shoestring journey is the Queenscliff Fort. It’s amazing how perceptions of tours run by volunteers at memorials, prisons, historical buildings and forts are that of boredom. However, those perceptions couldn’t be more ill-conceived! Whilst on the surface they may not seem that sexy and entertaining they are more often than not surprisingly interesting and impactful. If nothing they else they always put our modern day lives into perspective.
So I begin my day by sailing the Bay on the ferry ($11 each way), grabbing a coffee at RORO café on the beach ($4.50) and taking the scenic walk along the coastline up to the visible Queenscliff Fort. Surrounded by high brick walls it is clear where we are heading and what its intended purpose was. Similar to that of a prison of a bygone era rather than to keep people in, it was built to keep people out. On first entrance you are greeted by one of the friendliest security guards you will ever meet. My experience with most security guards to this point has been them passing judgement ON my fashion choices before letting me in to a club. Once in the fort you can immediately see the amazing views, beautiful gardens and surrounds in which the fort exists. Talk about prime real estate!
The next and most important step in the process involves me clutching to my wallet as I have to now engage in commerce and pay for the tour. $12.00! 12 whole dollars! I am filled with tight ar$e glee as any activity that fills an hour and half at 13 cents a minute is a big tick for me.
We are greeted by our extremely entertaining and informative tour guide. Made up of volunteers, it never ceases to amaze me how places like the Queenscliff Fort can find such passionate and informative people to conduct tours out of their love for history and place. The tour takes you across most of the site (Queenscliff Fort is still an active military base so some areas are off limits) and transports you back to a time not so long ago which was vastly different to that of our own. A period of time that is hard to comprehend in some aspects but that was so important to laying the foundations for which our country and lives are built on now. The quaint town of Queenscliff played such an important role in our military history, and was always on the cusp of playing a much larger role had it ever come to that.
As the tour draws to a close after many interesting stories you are taken into a bunker where kids (and adults if they choose) can dress up and reenact life at Queenscliff Fort in an interactive environment. The tour concludes at the museum gallery where you can read more stories, view artefacts and purchase souvenirs if you wish.
Now for the important stuff….
Coffee @ RORO Café on the Beach – $4:50
Queenscliff Fort Tour – Adult-$12 Child-$6 Family – $30
Return Foot Passenger Ferry (required if coming from Mornington Peninsula) – Adult $22 Child $8 Family $66
All in all this was a fantastic day out while definitely not breaking the bank. Also considering days like this can be life changing, and I mean that in the sense of shifting your perspective. We live in an incredible time of liberty and while we still have a long way to go it is nice to understand where we came from and the sacrifices that were made for us by men & women of an era hopefully never forgotten. Definitely gets my thumbs up for an incredible day out on a shoe string budget.
For more info on the Fort: fortqueenscliff.com.au/
Friends from the US visited last weekend, and of course, with the election day looming, the conversation turned to the potential outcome. Who knew! Best friends rooting (that is American for barracking) for the opposite sides. It was hilarious! Each time one left the room, the other would get in my ear about how evil Clinton is or how looney Trump is. Needless to say we steered clear of the topic for most of the time, however, did manage to cover the death penalty, gun control and the first amendment! Exhausting, All this heavy banter whilst acting as tour guide of our beautiful peninsulas.
As a local, we want to show our international visitors the best of the best, so for these well travelled San Franciscans, who were a bit jet lagged, water views, the beaches, awesome food and wine was on the list for the weekend.
Day one we jumped on the ferry in Queenscliff, drove to Sorrento back beach for a walk and soak up the gorgeous ocean views. Next stop Sorrento main street for a bit of retail therapy, then lunch at the newly reopened Baths. A window seat overlooking our beautiful bay, fresh seafood and a Mornington Peninsula Pinot to wash it all down, certainly helped veer the conversation away from US politics. Next stop Red Hill Epicurean for a good coffee. They looove our coffee (go Aussie baristas) and then a quick Pinot taste at a winery. They looove our Pinot. What’s not to love?
A picturesque drive through the still green, hinterland on the way back to the last ferry was topped off with a magical twilight sky and dolphins. As one of my friends said, “it doesn’t get better than this”.
Next day, after a sleep in it was agreed a slower day was needed, so a short drive to the seaside village of Barwon Heads was just what the doctored ordered. A beach walk, more retail therapy, more seafood and wine overlooking the water, topped off with a homemade sweet treat at Annie’s Providore & Produce Store. They were suitably impressed.
What is it about travelling and our obsession with comparing it to other places. “Oh Sorrento is gorrrrgeous, it reminds me of Santa Barbara”, and the coastal villages of Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove “look just like our beach towns south of the Bay.” I do it too, Vancouver reminds me of Melbourne.
The 2 sides of the Bay are very different, just like my friends political opinions, but both offer very Australian experiences.
Over coffee, the talk turned to what they have noticed on their visit. The list was long and I was proud. Here’s a summary – warm, friendly, happy people, very clean, not overcrowded, so beautiful, lots of space, seems less complicated than the US…….the list goes on. So if my job was to impress – job done. But more importantly, my friends visit gave me the opportunity to reflect on where I live, what I value and the Aussie disposition. I went to school in America so have always had an affinity with the country, but as I said goodbye to my friends, I thought “How lucky am I to live in Australia right now”. Today, the fate of the election will be known. I hope when I visit my friends in San Francisco in a few years time, they will be happy with the outcome and America will be great again…….. for them.
Around the Bay is not just an amazing bike ride, it’s also an amazing weekend road trip that will see you and your car crossing the bay in style!
There’s nothing quite like a leisurely, scenic drive, taking in the quaint towns and villages of the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas and the excitement of Melbourne. There’s also nothing quite like having a break from the wheel and letting someone else do the driving.
Searoad Ferries is the perfect way to create a loop around Port Phillip Bay, connecting you with Sorrento and Queenscliff. Simply drive your car onboard, head up to the main deck and sit back, relax and enjoy the hospitality and views.
Need some road trip suggestions? Here’s a fun weekend itinerary idea:
Blue Mini Cafe
By the time you hit the shores of Rosebud, brunch will need to be your first order of business. Blue Mini is the Peninsula’s newest, award winning café, serving up delicious food and even better coffee amongst the eclectic mix of local art and creative works.
Whilst we always find it hard to go by a good Eggs Bennie, the breakfast menu includes a unique list of seasonal treats including the Corn & Zucchini Dumplings and Sardines in a Can.
Address: 2 Colchester Rd, Rosebud
Phone: (03) 5981 2520
Bayplay Adventure Tours
Portsea is littered with beautiful beaches, spectacular sand-cliffs and exquisite houses. One of the more fun ways to explore the area is by floating on a stand up paddle (SUP) or kayak. The Port Phillip Bay waters are extremely protected, providing relatively safe conditions to paddle between the piers and secluded sandy coves. You can rent a SUP or kayak from Bayplay Adventure Tours in Portsea.
Address: 3755 Point Nepean Road, Portsea
Phone: (03) 5984 0888
Peninsula Hot Springs
It’s customary on the Mornington Peninsula to follow any exercise with a rejuvenating trip to the Peninsula Hot Springs. The natural thermal mineral water that flows into the pools and private baths will have you ready to roll again in no time. But that’s not to say this is a fleeting trip. Relax. You’ve got nowhere to be.
Address: Springs Lane, Rye
Phone: (03) 5950 8777
Boathouse Resort Motel
Time to check into your accommodation for a quick freshen-up before dinner. We recommend the Boathouse Resort Motel which is in short walking distance to the restaurants of Blairgowrie’s township. That means no car and plenty of local wine with dinner.
Address: 2871 Point Nepean Rd, Blairgowrie
Phone: (03) 5988 8088
Searoad Ferries departs Sorrento on the hour from 7am. The crossing to Queenscliff takes around 40 minutes and it is quick and easy to bring your car onboard for the onward adventure. On route, you’re sure to be mesmerised by the views, so make sure you grab a spot by one of the floor to ceiling windows or outside deck when the morning sun is shining. Given the time of day you’ll be travelling, we should mention the on board café, RORO, that serves espresso coffee. We thought you’d like that.
Address: Sorrento Pier, Sorrento
Phone: (03) 5257 4500
RORO Café on the Beach
Is it obvious that we love a good breakfast? Arguably, the best breakfast view in Queenscliff is from RORO Cafe on the Beach. As the name suggests, the café almost sits on the sand, giving visitors an uninterrupted view the Port Phillip Bay headlands and shipping channel.
Address: 1 Wharf St, Queenscliff
Phone: (03) 5257 4599
Edwards Point Nature Conservation Reserve
Time to rest the stomach and stretch the legs. Edwards Point Nature Conservation Reserve hosts breathtaking views, sandy beaches, cool coastal woodlands and extensive salt marsh communities. There are a number of walks through the Reserve. We recommend the 3.5km return (approx. 1.5 hours) Coastal Woodland Walk starting from the Beach Road carpark in St Leonards.
Address: Beach Road carpark, St Leonards
Jack Rabbit Vineyard
Sunday lunch anyone? Jack Rabbit Vineyard gives diners a café or fine dining option, both with incredible vistas overlooking the bay toward Geelong, the You Yangs and Melbourne. For those only interested in the wine, the vineyard’s Cellar Door offers wine tasting 7 days a week.
Address: 85 McAdams Lane, Bellarine
Phone: (03) 5251 2223
Yes, it’s that time of the year again! Where sunshine, holidays and time with the family go hand in hand with Christmas parties and plenty of festive indulging!
If you’re looking for a unique venue to host your 2016 Christmas function, we have just the ticket – a private room on board Searoad Ferrie
Boarding at either Sorrento or Queenscliff, the Portsea Lounge on board the MV Sorrento ferry offers an all-inclusive return package that includes Melbourne’s best (and roving) views of Portsea, Sorrento, Queenscliff and literally everything in between. The Portsea Lounge can be booked for private functions of 20 – 50 guests with prices start at just $39 per person for the Canape Package.
The Christmas functions menu can be viewed ‘here‘
For more information or to book your Christmas function, call (03) 5257 4500.
Don’t let a little rain spoil your day!
Holidays and downpours might not be your typical match made in heaven, but with these suggestions, your kids will be wishing for the next wet weather day.
3000m2 of pure, unadulterated, indoor fun. Leave the gumboots at the door and take to any one of the eight different activities under the one roof. There’s zillions of tramps of course plus Clip ‘n Climb rock climbing, a Kids’ Playground, Supaslam basketball and Dodgeball
Address: 174 Torquay Road, Grovedale
2. Bellarine Railway
Step back in time to a rainy day one hundred years ago. The Bellarine Railway runs a fleet of steam and diesel trains dating back to 1917. Jump on board for a historic journey from Queenscliff to Drysdale or check their special events calendar for popular happenings like the ‘Day out with Thomas’ the Tank Engine.
Address: 20 Symonds Street, Queenscliff
Check out the Searoad Ferries + Bellarine Railway packages
3. Hot Chocolate at RORO Café on the Beach
RORO café on the Beach might be as close to the sand as you’ll get on a rainy day. Located in Queenscliff right next to the Searoad Ferries terminal, the action from the café window is constant with waves crashing, birds flying and ships entering and exiting the heads of Port Phillip Bay. And then there’s the hot chocolate. YUM!! What a perfect wet weather stop off.
Address: 1 Wharf Street, Queenscliff
4. Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre
If you’re lucky enough to catch a rainy day during the school holidays, head down to the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre in Queenscliff. Daily kid friendly activities will keep your little tackers immersed in fishy fun.
Address: 2A Bellarine Highway, Queenscliff
5. Searoad Ferries
With plenty of indoor space and windows facing every which-way, a return trip across the bay to Sorrento is just what the wet weather wizard ordered. Whilst the kids smoosh their faces against the glass, spotting birds, dolphins and the very occasional whale, parents can hover by the on board café, enjoying a espresso coffee or glass of locally produced wine.
Address: Wharf Street, Queenscliff
The post Bellarine Peninsula: Top 5 Rainy Day Activities for Families appeared first on Ferry Tale.
Don’t go calling a wet weather day just yet. A little rain doesn’t need to spoil your fun.
There is so much to do on the Mornington Peninsula, and a gloomy sky might be just what was needed to drag you off your beach towel. Come explore some of our favourite wet weather activities and see if we can brighten up your day.
1. Mark Gray Gallery
With 100m2 of floor space, the Mark Gray Gallery displays an inspiring collection of Mark’s landscape photography. The gallery features a good number of local landscapes as well as national and international representations. Mark has won a stack of awards for his work and his gallery is worth checking out even if the sun is shining.
Address: 65 Main Street, Mornington
2. Blue Mini Café & Emporium
If you’re a breakfast (or brunch) kind of person, you are going to want to check out Blue Mini Café. Blue Mini is the newest retro eatery on the Peninsula, and has quickly become a local’s favourite.
Address: 2 Colchester Rd, Rosebud
Check out the Searoad Ferries + Blue Mini Café packages
3. Mornington Peninsula Brewery
Not that you needed an excuse, but the Mornington Peninsula Brewery is recognised as one of the best craft breweries in Australia. Have we got your attention?
The brewery is headed by Andrew Gow, who outside of the classic varieties, is always working on a seasonal concoction. That means when the weather is cold, Andrew will have just the brew for you. The brewery also serves delicious pizzas and hosts the occasional live band.
Address: 72 Watt Road, Mornington
Check out the Searoad Ferries + Mornington Peninsula Brewery Packages
4. Peninsula Hot Spring
It’s not like the rain can get you any wetter, so why not go for an intentional soak.
If you are wondering how good the Peninsula Hot Springs is, it’s good enough to win the World Luxury Spa Award in 2016 and 2014. If you need any more convincing, it has public and private pools, indoor and outdoor areas and amazing treatments if you are looking to really indulge.
Address: Spring Lane, Fingal
Check out the Searoad Ferries + Peninsula Hot Springs packages
5. Green Olive at Red Hill
Set on a spectacular property, Green Olive at Red Hill serves food that will warm your soul through to your frosty fingertips. Much of what’s served in the restaurant has been grown on site, with the team producing olives, grapes, herbs and vegies, raising sheep, chooks and fish. They even roast their own coffee beans. How good is that!
If the sun pokes out for just a moment, a walk around the grounds is highly recommended.
Address: 118 Mornington Flinders Road, Main Ridge
Check out the Searoad Ferries + Green Olive packages
MONDAY 27 OCTOBER 2014
SEAROAD FERRIES WINS VICTORIAN TOURISM AWARD
Searoad Ferries, has taken out the Major Tour/Transport Operator category at the Victorian Tourism Award for the second year in a row.
The family owned business will now go on to defend the title at the 2014 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, to be held in early 2015.
CEO of Searoad Ferries, Matt McDonald, said the award is recognition for the hard work and dedication of the entire Searoad Ferries team.
“We are ecstatic to be the recipient of such a prestigious award two years in a row, and to have our business recognised among a winners list that includes some of the state’s largest and most popular tourist attractions is really humbling,” Matt said.
“Our business continues to grow each year and I’m so proud of what we have achieved at Searoad. What started out as a single vessel operation transporting around 300 passengers and 30 vehicles in 1987, is now the country’s busiest car and passenger ferry with three vessels carrying more than 737,000 passengers each year.”
“The Searoad team works extremely hard to provide passengers with a unique, exciting and memorable tourism experience. Whether a passenger is taking part in a traditional crossing or a special crossing such as High Tea of the High Seas or a Twilight Cruises, we strive to ensure their experience is enjoyable and something they will remember forever.”
“We are looking forward to representing Victoria at the National Awards early next year,” he said.
This summer, we will run a third ferry creating more capacity, less waiting and a better travel experience. Our CEO, Matt McDonald, said “The extra ferry will operate from Boxing Day through to the 6th of January and will ease congestion and get passengers to their destination quicker. We are also encouraging all passengers who know they are travelling to go online and book their ferry ticket. Not only will this speed up ticketing and boarding, customers will also get cheaper online prices.”
Our ferry service has been operating for over 25 years and has recently made many upgrades to our facilities, including: onboard children’s playground, revitalized café, wi-fi, installment of a lift on both ferries and air conditioning, as well as larger viewing windows. New family fares, seniors discounts and return priced tickets have recently been introduced as well as a discount card for locals. If you live in the 3222-3227 or 3938-3944 postcodes you can become a Loyal Local Cardholder with the ferries and earn points, receive discounts and exclusive offers.
Over the 15th & 16th of September, Searoad Ferries celebrated 25 years of crossing the Bay. Both vessels had onboard activities including wine tasting with vineyards from both peninsulas, gourmet food samplers from both pensinsulas, Peninsula Hot Springs bathing tubs and more! The festivities went off with a bang on Saturday night with fireworks on both Sorrento and Queenscliff sides.
Thank you to everyone that took part in the event. We have had a fantastic 25 years and look forward to the next 25!
The 5:00p.m. Sorrento bound ferry was delayed in the Queenscliff harbor for 15 minutes due to an endangered Southern Right Whale swimming close to the vessel. Passengers said the junior whale surfaced several times beside the ferry and was easily visible under the water. After the ferry departed, the whale seemed to have left, but surfaced again when the next ferry arrived. It frolicked in the waters in and around the harbor until late into the evening. This is the third whale sighting for the Searoad Ferries since Saturday, two of which were Southern Right Whales and one Humpback Whale. Crew members on board Searoad Ferries said, “each year we have been seeing more and more whales on our route from Queenscliff to Sorrento.” This year the crew predicts to see at least one whale a week during the migration period, which finishes in November.
To view related news articals visit:
After an extensive Re-Fit in late 2011, the MV Queenscliff has been a great hit with Passengers traveling between Sorrento and Queenscliff. Some of the new features onboard include;
Check out the images below – or even better – come down and see her for yourself !
MV Queenscliff departs Queenscliff on the EVEN hours and Sorrento on the ODD hoursBillboard named "new-ship" does not exist