Mornington Peninsula: Coastal walk 26km

My 2nd hike with the YHA Bushwalking Club was the Coastal Walk on the Mornington Peninsula outside Melbourne. However, the incomplete map below finishes around Koonya Beach at 22km. Rather than the 26km to Sorrento Back Beach, today’s hiking destination.

Reason: limited iPhone battery capacity. Say no more… You, dear reader, can probably figure out the remaining path from the map.

My first YHA Bushwalking Club hike consisted of 11 walkers. Car pooling to and from the destination.

Approximately 37 “bushies” accepted today’s walk online so bussing. It appeared even more turned up.

2 walking options; Hard 22km from Cape Schanck or Medium/Hard 16km from Gunnamatta Car Park. Both destinations listed as Coppins Lookout but finished prior at Sorrento Back Beach.

I chose the “hard” walk so departed the bus at Cape Schanck, which lighthouse you can see in the background below.

Bus stop at Cape Schanck

25 degrees Celsius and plenty of sun predicted as 27 hikers prepare for “hard” walking.

Somebody asked the tall guy, Cameron, whether he played basketball. A question he had heard umpteen times before, as his answer revealed. “No, do you play mini golf?”. Cracked me up… Well rehearsed.

27 bushies preparing to get cracking

Minimal shade, half beach walking, rest on sand dunes. “Baking” was the game for the day. First off though, gentle sand dune walking.

And we’re on…

Occasional great views, like below. Looking westwards towards today’s destination.

Southern Mornington Peninsula views

Soon enough, descending for…

End of sand dunes for now

… the beach. Cape Schanck far right on that headland.

Start beach walking

The below may be Gunnamatta Beach. A Gunnamatta Ocean Beach is further east. Boag Rocks is between. Looked all the same from the beach…

Music pumped out from under those awnings. Possibly a radio station broadcasting live while having “give-aways”. Happened before…

Activity at Gunnamatta Beach

One “bushie” found a mobile phone in a cover on the beach. Phone locked, but somebody may call after realising they lost it. Theory that it belonged to a hiker from the Medium/Hard group.

Yep. True enough, soon somebody from that group came towards us and claimed it. 28 hikers now…

Sometimes soft sand and tough to walk and sometimes harder sand and easier to walk. The latter here.

YHA Bushwalking Club hikers hiking

Rock formations with hard edges sometimes interrupted the sand. Thankful for solid hiking boots. Imagine barefoot or soft sole shoes here…

Rocks on the beach

The rocks provided some relief for the feet though, breaking from the sand.

Rock “hopping”

Odd spot for fishing giving the sign’s advice about water discharge. And its impact on the surrounding area. I would go somewhere else…

Treated Water Discharge sign

Shade determined where to lunch. Hence when a cliff provided enough, that’s where. Cape Schanck far right distance.

Hikers’ “shady” lunch

The hike finished as it started, walking through sand dunes.

Back to sand dunes

Still minimal if any shade. I was boiling here and guessed closer to 30 degrees rather than forecast 25. The ocean winds should cool things down, but it didn’t feel so.

Exposed to the elements

Given group size of 28, frequent stops for “bushies recounting” were necessary.

Plus roping all in. As happens with large groups, you start hiking all together. As the day progresses and people tire, “splinter groups” are formed and spread over some distance. Inevitable, I suppose.

Stand up and be counted

Looking behind me from the previous picture. A brilliant day…

Out to sea

Today’s advised 22km hike became 26km. Without proceeding to Coppins Lookout up that hill. An old / pre-GPS measurement? Who knows… Everybody completed it anyway.

Sorrento Back Beach is down there. Almost finished now…

Approaching Sorrento Back Beach

The hikers gradually arrived to the waiting bus at Sorrento Back Beach. Cooling down to the best of our capabilities. I forgot to bring thongs or any alternative footwear so barefoot on the bus for me. Changing into a spare dry t-shirt also helped.

The bus finally departed around 6pm. Only to drive some distance before returning back. Why? Because one hiker was missing. The bus then drove to Cape Schanck as some hikers had parked their own cars there. Only after that back to Melbourne city centre where we arrived short of 9pm. A loooooong day given the 8am start.

Chatting with hiker George during the bus ride back made time go faster. Lots of yarns about travelling, music, art and of course hiking. Fun guy 🙂

Was I tired when arriving home? You bet. A shower, a small meal, plenty of more water and then bed. 8 hours uninterrupted sleep so unusual for me.

A final picture of my right leg below.

Heat rash? The alternative of brushing up against something for an allergic reaction seems implausible. As I wore long pants. Not common for me to get heat rash but hey, hot and long day today.

All red disappeared after a couple of days. Not itchy either so no big deal.

I may stick with the smaller hiking groups of up to 12. The logistics of these larger groups suit some, but not my preference.

Having said that, a great hike, beautiful beach scenery, a sense of accomplishment. And some interesting fellow hikers too. I love this stuff…

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