the Dromana jetty
Dromana (including Arthurs Seat and Safety
Beach resort at the foot of Arthur's Seat
70 km south of Melbourne on the southern rim of
Port Phillip Bay, Dromana is a holiday resort of
some 6600 people with its beaches situated at
the foot of Arthurs Seat - a steep granite hill
(305 metres above sea-level) which can be
ascended by road, walking track or chairlift.
During a 25-day exploration of Port Phillip
Bay in a vessel named the Lady Nelson,
Lieutenant James Murray achieved an unusual
historic first. At Point King, about 22 km west
of where Dromana now stands, they raised the
newly-created Union Jack. This was the first
time the flag had been raised on Australian
soil. Murray was quickly followed by Matthew
Flinders who mistook Port Phillip Bay for
Westernport and only discovered his mistake
after climbing Arthurs Seat which was named by
Murray after a rocky outcrop near Edinburgh.
Two French ships were also exploring the
southern waters at this time and, largely to
forestall French claims to any part of the
continent, the first European settlement on Port
Phillip Bay was established by the British in
1803, though it was abandoned the following year
(see entry on Sorrento). White settlement of the
peninsula was not resumed until the 1830s after
the establishment of Melbourne). Pastoralists
began bringing livestock into the area late in
the decade and fishermen soon followed.
One of the first Europeans to reside in the
area was a Frenchman named Simon after whom
Simons Creek is named. He apparently lived in a
tree hollow on the slopes of Arthurs Seat and
allegedly ate 20 goannas a week on occasion.
Gold was discovered during the 1850s and
prospectors arrived. The area was initially
known to Europeans as Hobsons Flat but was
renamed after a town in Ireland, possibly
reflecting the ethnic origins of the goldminers.
The construction of a 1.2-km pier at Dromana
in the 1870s made it an important export spot
for local producers. The scenic nature of the
location began attracting holiday-making
Melburnians later in the 19th century and
Dromana has become particularly popular with
foreshore campers during the Christmas and
Easter holidays. It has a substantial shopping
strip along Point Nepean Road.
Outdoor markets are held on Sunday mornings
on the main road and the Strawberry Festival is
held in mid-January.
Things to see:
Tourist Information and Dromana Beach
The Dromana Visitor Information Centre is
located in Dromana Park on Point Nepean Rd, tel:
(03) 5987 3078 and (1800) 804 009 (email tourism
@ mornpen.vic.gov.au). The foreshore area is
well-maintained with picnic shelters, barbecues
and play areas. Opposite is Dromana Beach which
is shallow, sheltered and therefore ideal for
families. There is a pier, a boat ramp, plenty
of parking, a surf lifesaving club and boat-hire
Historical Society Museum
The Dromana and District Historical Society has
a museum display in the old shire building which
is opposite the information centre on Point
Nepean Rd, tel: (03) 5987 2322.
The Echidna Self-Drive Tour
The Echidna Route is a self-drive scenic tourist
route which starts at the information centre and
explores the rural hinterland around Red Hill.
Just follow the echidna signs (a guiding
pamphlet is available from the information
The Piers St Gallery is located at 7 Piers St,
Dromana, tel: (03) 5981 8535.
Two Bays Walking Track and Kings Falls
The Two Bays Walking Track is a 30-km bush
corridor that connects Port Phillip Bay (at
Dromana) and Cape Schanck, passing through
eucalypt forest, 200-year-old grasstrees,
tea-tree thickets, fern gullies and open
grasslands. The first section of the walk leads
to the summit of Arthurs Seat (4.5 km one-way).
The track proper starts from the carpark at
the intersection of La Trobe Parade and the
Bunurong Track at the edge of Arthurs Seat State
Park. However, you can walk to this carpark from
the information centre via La Trobe Parade. Near
the top of La Trobe Parade is 'Heronswood' (see
next entry). From here, cross the highway over
Matthew Flinders Bridge and you will soon come
to the carpark. This section of Arthurs Seat
Park is still rife with boneseed which was
introduced from South Africa as an ornamental
garden plant. The track ascends the hill,
passing rocky outcrops, low grassy woodland,
open forest and a superb lookout.
The track then reaches a junction. A
signposted branch track on the left leads to and
through the 'Seawinds' property (see subsequent
entry) then out of the main gate to Purves Rd.
Turn left onto Purves Rd and it is about 500 m
to the summit of Arthurs Park (see subsequent
If, instead, you choose to follow the Two
Bays Walking Track, it veers south-west. Another
signposted branch track on the left leads off
this main track to the Kings Waterfall Circuit
Walk - a pleasant one-hour loop track which
leads through bushland and a fern gully and past
the waterfall which is situated on the
south-western slope of Arthurs Seat. Signage
along the route explains the natural history of
the area and Parks Victoria provide a detailed
accompanying leaflet, tel: 131 963 (it is also
available from the Dromana Information Centre).
For those who would like to do the Kings
Falls Circuit Walk without walking all the way
from Dromana, just follow Arthurs Seat Road to
the summit of the hill then turn right into
Purves Rd and right again into Waterfall Gully
Rd. After 1 km there is a small gravel carpark
which provides access to the track.
Meanwhile, the Two Bays Walking Track
continues on to Waterfall Gully Rd then on via
Duells Rd and Hyslops Rd, across Limestone Rd,
through Greens Bush (see entry on Rosebud),
across Boneo Rd and on to Cape Schanck
For further information on the Two Bays Track
ring Parks Victoria at Rosebud on (03) 5986
a National Trust building
'Heronswood', located near the top of La Trobe
Parade (at no.105), is a very interesting
historic home described by the National Trust as
"of national architectural importance, being an
innovative and highly creative design"
overlooking Port Phillip Bay. It is an
asymmetrical Gothic Revival structure built of
bluestone with limestone dressings in 1871 for
Dr William Hearn, an academic and politician who
became the chancellor of Melbourne University.
The architect was probably Edward La Trobe
Bateman. An 1864 slab cottage is now the home of
the Diggers' Club which supplies seeds. The
house is open to the public from 9.30 a.m. to
4.30 p.m. on weekdays, tel: (03) 5987 1877.
There are also 2 hectares of cottage gardens
which have been established on the original
1870s plantings. They are at their best between
October and April. Heronswood Harvest Week is
held in March and November.
Arthurs Seat State Park
Arthurs Seat is a steep granite hill (305 m
above sea-level) which is the highest point on
the Mornington Peninsula. It was named in 1802
by Lieutenant James Murray who was reminded of a
mountain by that name located near Edinburgh. It
was climbed later that same year by Matthew
Flinders and later became one of the area's
earliest tourist attractions. The flamboyance of
the earlier architecture atop Arthurs Seat is a
reminder of its popular past. Today it offers
excellent views and a range of activities.
Arthurs Seat can be ascended by road, a
one-kilometre scenic chairlift or the Two Bays
Walking Track (see previous entry). The hill is
the focus of a 550-ha state park, declared in
1988 to protect the bushland.
Atop the peak are picnic areas, electric
barbecues, childrens' play facilities, car
parking, a tearoom, and The Old Viewing Tower
(1934). The latter is open from dawn to dusk
every day (entry is via a coin-operated
turnstile). It offers outstanding perspectives
of Port Phillip Bay, Bass Strait and the
Mornington Peninsula, tel: (03) 5987 2565. The
Tower Studio is home to potter and sculptor
Marilyn Richards whose own works, along with
gift items, are for sale, tel: (0411) 529 875.
Next to the lookout tower is Arthurs Craft
Cottage which sells gifts, souvenirs and
Australiana. It is open daily except in August
when it is only open on weekends, tel: (03) 5981
A little further along Arthurs Peak Rd are
Arthurs Restaurant and Vinotheque Bar (closed
Monday and Tuesday), tel: (03) 5981 4444, and
Kunumera Equestrian Centre which is open every
day, tel: (03) 5989 2774.
From the top of the chairlift you can pick up
an activity sheet which leads you on the Arthur
Koala Detective Trail Circuit Walk (30-40
minutes), taking in Flinders Lookout and
Seawinds (see next entry).
To get there by car head out of Dromana on
McCulloch Rd which passes under the freeway then
take a right turn onto Arthurs Seat Rd. It soon
bends to the left and passes a carpark beside
the chairlift which operates every day from
11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from September to the
second Monday in June. For the remainder of the
year it operates on weekends, school and public
holidays, tel: (03) 5987 2565. Adjacent is a
picnic area, a kiosk and the Manna Gum Gallery
(open daily), tel: (03) 5987 1336.
Alternatively just continue driving up
Arthurs Seat Rd to the summit. En route is
Murrays Lookout (247 m above sea-level). The
Arthurs Seat Hill Climb is held each year in
Once you get to the summit turn right into
Purves Rd and after 500 m you will see, on the
right, the main gates to the 35-ha property
known as 'Seawinds' which contains extensive
ornamental gardens. The first European owner of
this area was George Chapman, the gardener at 'Heronswood'
(see previous entry). He lived in a homestead on
the property and his children walked to school
each day in Dromana. Work on the gardens was
started in 1946 by surgeon Sir Thomas Travers
and Lady Travers.
An 800-m walk takes in most of the main
features. A gravel track leads from the carpark
west to Bay Lookout which faces west across
McCrae, Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento to Port
Phillip Heads and Queenscliff on the Bellarine
Peninsula. Beyond are the three pyramid-shaped
peaks of the You Yangs, Mount Macedon to the
right of them and the Otway Ranges to the south.
The trail veers north to the Northern
Lookout. Arthurs Seat is in the foreground. On a
clear day, Mount Dandenong, the Great Dividing
Range and the skyline of Melbourne can be seen.
Continue along the path to the terraced lawn.
The rock wall on the right features several
sculptures by William Ricketts (see entry on
Kalorama). The flight of stairs adjacent the
wall provides access to a 1-km loop track which
takes in Matthew Flinders Lookout and Arthurs
Peak summit. Alternatively, you can head
south-east, back to the carpark.
80 m south-west of the information board is
the start of the T.C. McKellar Circuit Walk (1
km) which passes through the woodland and
wildflowers of the T.C. McKellar Flora Reserve
to the south.
The Two Bays Walking Track (see previous
entry) heads off from the information shelter.
After 200 m there is a junction. One branch
leads to Waterfall Gully and the other back to
Seawinds has picnic, barbecue, disabled and
toilet facilities. The Arthur Koala Detective
Trail (a related activity sheet can be picked up
from the top of the chairlift) outlines some
highlights of the property.
Seawinds is popular in all seasons and is
open to walkers all year round. Vehicle access
is from 10.00 a.m. daily. The gates close at
4.30 p.m. on weekdays, 5.00 p.m. on weekends and
public holidays and at 8.00 p.m. in the summer
school holiday period (closed to vehicles on
Christmas Day). There is an entry fee on most
weekends and holidays.
Arthurs Seat Maze and Gallery
Virtually opposite Seawinds is Arthurs Seat Maze
which has several mazes (including a large hedge
maze), twenty theme gardens (including a
children's garden, a fairy garden, Japanese
Gardens, cottage gardens, a fragrant garden, an
African savannah garden and a Columbian pot
garden), a parterre, a 9-metre topiary dragon, a
sculpture park, an animal nursery, a kiosk,
gallery and a licensed restaurant. It is open
daily from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (tel: 03 5981
8449) while the restaurant is open seven days
and seven nights though it is best to ring
first, tel: (03) 5981 8559.
Pine Ridge Car and Folk Museum and
Continuing south along Purves Rd you will pass
the Gazebo Licensed Cabaret Restaurant and Motel
(tel: 03 5981 0900). 1.5 km from the summit is
the Pine Ridge Car Museum which features a range
of cars, motorcycles, bowsers, signs and other
automotive memorabilia housed in a 1940s-style
garage. There is also a gallery and tea room
with a teapot collection, tel: (03) 5989 6320.
It is open daily in January from 10.30 a.m. to
4.00 p.m. At other times it is open on weekends,
school and public holidays but closed entirely
in July and August.
Further south on Purves Rd are the Fuchsia
Nursery (open daily from late October to May),
the Pig & Whistle Pub and Country Kitchen and
Arthurs Seat Riding Stables which offers
bush-trail rides, tel: (03) 5989 6124.
Lookout Hill Circuit Walk
West of the Arthurs Seat summit, along Arthurs
Seat Rd (before you reach the intersection with
the Mornington-Flinders Rd), there is a turnoff
on the left into Eatons Cutting Rd which leads
to a carpark. This is the start of the Lookout
Hill Circuit Walk (1 km) which passes through
stringybark forest and open sheoak. It offers
excellent views of the coast, the rural
hinterland and Melbourne.
Dromana Valley Wines, on the corner of the
Nepean Highway and Pickings Lane, is open
weekends from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and most
weekdays from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. It offers
chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and
shiraz, tel: (03) 5987 2093, or fax: (03) 5987
Hickinbotham of Dromana is located at 194
Mornington-Flinders Rd (on the corner with
Wallaces Rd). It is open for cellar door sales
daily from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (6.00 p.m. on
weekends) and it boasts a bakery, cafe, a wine
museum, wine memorabilia and jazz on Sundays,
tel: (03) 5981 0355, or fax: (03) 5987 0692. The
email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Turramurra Estate Vineyard is an
award-winning winery noted for its chardonnay,
sauvignon blanc, piont noir, cabernet and
shiraz. The tasting room is open from midday to
5.00 p.m. on the first weekend of every month,
as well as on the Queen's Birthday and Melbourne
Cup weekends, or by appointment, tel: (03) 5987
1146, or fax: (03) 5987 1286. The email address
is email@example.com. They are
located 3 km along Wallaces Road.
Dromana Estate Winery is located in Harrisons
Rd. It is open from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
daily and has a cafe serving gourmet lunches
from midday and a children's playground, tel or
fax: (03) 5987 2093. The email address is
Karina Vineyard is also located in Harrisons
Rd. It produces chardonnay, pinot noir,
cabernet/merlot, riesling and sauvignon blanc
and is open weekends from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00
p.m. and daily from 26 December to 31 January,
tel or fax: (03) 5981 0137.
The Easter, Queen's Birthday and Melbourne
Cup weekends tend to be special occasions when
the Peninsula's wineries are all open and offer
such fillips as food and music to accompany
Dromana Boat Hire has fishing boats, half-cabin
cruisers, skiffs, catamarans and windsurfers,
tel: (03) 5987 2384.
4 km north-east of the centre of Dromana (along
Point Nepean Rd) is Safety Beach. From the
carpark, near the Safety Beach boat club, there
is a walking track (2-km return) which passes
over a shingle-strewn beach to the foot of the