Focus on Portsea

Portsea is a township of Melbourne. It is located approximately 110 kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD. and the most westerly settlement on the Mornington Peninsula. The official population of Portsea is 510 according to the 2016 census. The size of Portsea is approximately square kilometres.

Portsea is named after Portsea Island which is an island incorporated by Portsmouth in England. Portsmouth is where the first settlers to Australia set sail from.

The Portsea Surf Beach faces the ocean and is accessible from two main points. At the southern end of Back Beach Road is the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club and scenic views along the coast can be enjoyed from the surrounding pathways which extend down to the beach. Further west, at the end of London Bridge Road, is an access point down to the beach, scenic coastal pathways, lookouts and the rocky archway known as London Bridge.

On 17th December 1967, Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared, presumed drowned, while swimming at Cheviot Beach which is part of the Point Nepean National Park in Portsea. Mr. Holt, aged 59, departed Canberra on Friday 15th December and flew to Melbourne in a RAAF VIP aircraft and later drove his maroon Pontiac Parisienne to Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula for a relaxing weekend at his family home. The most likely scenario was that Holt was caught in a strong rip off Cheviot Beach and was swept out to sea and drowned. In 1969 a plaque commemorating Holt was bolted to the sea floor off Cheviot Beach after a memorial ceremony. It bears the inscription: ‘In memory of Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia, who loved the sea and disappeared hereabouts on 17 December 1967.’

Median property price is $3,675,000, and weekly median advertised rent is $1150.

In 2005, Australian Tax Office data showed the 3944 postcode to be the nation’s most affluent outperforming other upper class Victorian suburbs, including the Melbourne suburbs of Toorak and Hawthorn, both known for upper-middle class and upper class dwellings ranging from $5 million to $25 million, with an average taxable income almost $10,000 higher than the Sydney suburbs of Darling Point or Point Piper

The Portsea Pier is the home to the spectacular weedy sea dragon, as well as many other fish species, including numerous pufferfish. Boating traffic is frequent, and divers should be careful to avoid main boating routes. Portsea Back Beach is a big attraction in Portsea, due to its great surfing conditions and long stretch of sand. Portsea Surf Life Saving Club patrols the popular surf beach, as patrols are always needed during the summer period given the large waves and strong tides that are often present.

Prominent residents include trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, Kate Baillieu and Rupert Murdoch’s grandson businessman David Calvert Jones. Other well-known residents are Eddie McGuire and Ron Walker.

The main bay beach fronts Weeroona Bay and includes the Portsea Pier from which golden sandy beaches extend in both directions, lined with a mixture of characteristic English trees and native bush. East of the pier is Point Franklin where a scenic walking track provides elevated views over Shelley Beach to the east and across the bay.

Coffee Safari

Freshly brewed coffee is a must-have for weekends away and the Mornington Peninsula’s coffee haunts are second-to-none. Here are just a few to check out when you head down to this beautiful part of the world.

Baked In – Portsea


 Casual dining setting with relaxed vibe to enjoy good coffee and bakery delights.

Portsea Hotel


With sweeping views of Port Phillip Bay, The Heads and Queenscliff, the Portsea Hotel is great for meals, snacks, and desserts with a sensational coffee selection.

Le Capucin


Visually appealing inside with a selection of French inspired light meals and along with traditional cafe food. Great location close to beach and next to park and playground.



Find a cozy spot in front of the fire for a coffee, wine, or Greek-inspired homemade morsel.

What to do

Portsea’s location at the tip of the Mornington Peninsula means you can cool off at a safe bay beach and be riding the surf at the ocean beach just minutes later. After a day out in the water slow down with friends on the green lawns of the Portsea Pub. Learn to scuba dive amid sea dragons and rays around Portsea Pier.  Glimpse the lifestyles of the rich and famous who reside in Portsea’s millionaire mansions or take the Millionaire’s Walk to Sorrento along cliff tops, through landscaped gardens and past private jetties for vantage points of the imposing mansions. Explore the fascinating labyrinth of nineteenth century tunnels and fortifications in the Point Nepean National Park that were built to guard Port Phillip Heads.

Photos Yanni

Peninsula Essence – April 2022