The Mornington Peninsula is a beautiful part of the world and offers some of Australia’s best walking tracks in 2021. One of the most scenic walks in the area is the Sorrento Circuit Walk, a moderate 7km hike that takes you along both sides of the coastline to crystal clear bays, sandy beaches and through eucalypt woodland to scenic lookouts.
Bringing together two popular routes, the Coppins Track and the Tuckey Track, the Sorrento Circuit Walk takes you on a full loop of Sorrento and allows you to see all of the main points of interest. On this walk you’ll visit Sorrento Ocean Beach, St Pauls Beach, Diamond Bay, Bay of Islands, St Paul Lookout, Sorrento Front Beach & Sorrento’s historic town centre. It’s recommended that you allow between 3-4 hours for this walk in order to enjoy the viewpoints and maybe take a swim in some of the bays.
1. Sorrento Ocean Beach to St Pauls Beach
The Sorrento Circuit Walk begins at Sorrento Ocean Beach car park where there are plenty of free car parking spaces available. To begin the walk, back-track 200m up Ocean Beach Road to the zebra crossing where you will find a sign for the Coppins Track. From here, follow the sandy path along the clifftops towards St Pauls Beach.
Impressive ocean views and coastal dunes characterize this section of the walk, and if you visit in the warmer months you’re likely to see plenty of butterflies along the way. St Pauls Beach is a small cove featuring picturesque rock formations. It is accessed via steep steps and swimming is not advised as the beach is unmanned and prone to high waves.
2. St Pauls Beach to Diamond Bay
After exploring St Pauls Beach, continue along the coastal bluffs, following signs for Diamond Bay. This part of the walk will veer away from the ocean and take you through beautiful eucalypt woodland before returning to the shores of Diamond Bay. Unlike St Pauls, the beach is set deep within the bay and it’s relatively safe to swim here at high tide.
3. Diamond Bay to Mount St Paul Lookout via Bay of Islands
After a refreshing dip in Diamond Bay, take a right, following signs for the Bay of Islands. This lookout offers close up views of the craggy limestone rock formations in the sea (the islands), as well as brilliant views back towards Diamond Bay.
Next, take a right and veer up the hill towards Mount St Paul Lookout. Mount St Paul is the highest viewpoint on the walk and offers spectacular vistas all the way to Point Nepean National Park in the north.
4. Mount St Paul Lookout to the Tuckey Track
Once you leave this lookout, it’s time to veer away from the ocean side of Sorrento and travel from one side of the peninsula to the other, heading towards the front beach on Port Phillip Bay. A hundred metres or so after the St Paul lookout, take a right down the hill and walk down wooden stairs through woodland until you come to an intersection of paths. Here, take a left and you’ll shortly arrive at the roundabout at the bottom of Ivanhoe St.
5. Tuckey Track to Sorrento Front Beach
You are now on the Tuckey Track, which is incredibly well signposted and hard to veer away from. Walk all of the way down Ivanhoe St, taking a peep at the lovely summer houses, before crossing Melbourne Road and continuing into Tuckey Track Reserve. Signs along the route explain the history of this area of bushland, which was used by both indigenous groups and colonisers to walk between the ocean beaches and Port Phillip Bay in the early 1800s.
Once you’ve walked through the Tuckey Track Reserve, continue to follow the blue signs for the Tuckey Track. The route will take you up Calcutta St, left down Maverick St, right down Reid St then left down Kinneil St. Once on Kinneil St, look out for the narrow walking track on the right which will provide a shortcut to Point Nepean Rd.
Cross over Point Nepean Rd and walk down the cul-de-sac to Sorrento Sailing Club – you should now be able to see the ocean ahead. Follow the downhill path to the left of the sailing club’s entrance, which will bring you out on Sorrento Front Beach.
6. Sorrento Front Beach
This is my favourite part of the walk. Head west and wander all the way along Sorrento’s beautiful crescent-shaped front beach, dipping your toes in the crystal clear water or maybe stripping off for a heavenly swim in the calm bay. See if you can spot any fish underneath Sorrento Long Pier and watch the ferries sailing to and from Queenscliff in the distance.
7. Sorrento Front Beach to Sorrento Town Centre
Once you reach the end of the beach where the ferry terminal begins, take a left up Point Nepean Rd into Sorrento town centre. The road will quickly turn into Ocean Beach Rd and take you through the town’s thriving main street. Look out for the stunning old limestone buildings and great food and drinks from the various cafes and restaurants dotted along the strip.
8. Sorrento Town Centre to Sorrento Ocean Beach Carpark
Once you reach the far-end of Sorrento’s main street, cross the roundabout and continue up Ocean Beach Rd. The steady incline will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the town and back to Sorrento Ocean Beach car park where the walk began.
The great thing about the Sorrento Circuit Walk is that you can start it from anywhere. Want to park in the town centre so you can grab some lunch afterwards? No problem! Coming on the bus? Start & finish your walk from the bus stop on Point Nepean Rd outside Sorrento Sailing Club. The walk can be done in either direction and it’s marvellous throughout the year.
If you enjoy this walk, be sure to check out other sections of the Mornington Peninsula Coastal Walk, stretching all the way from London Bridge at Portsea to Cape Schanck at the southern end of the peninsula.
Not much of a hiker? If this walk is a bit too long for you, why not try the Millionaire’s Walk instead. It’s an easy 45 minute return walk in Sorrento that offers amazing views over Port Phillip Bay.