Point Nepean is a coastal park containing buildings remaining from Fort Nepean’s use as a defence fort during World Wars 1 and 2, before people realised that Australia was so far away from anywhere, jet lag would stop invaders from bothering to attack.
My companion on this walk was generally fit and healthy, but had the tail end of the dreaded lurgy that had swept like the plague through Melbourne. That she could breathe and talk at the same time was a welcomed return to form. I’m distance challenged (ie: I have no idea how far 2kms really is) and I was getting over a dodgy foot ligament, so we thought it best to tackle a couple of little walks before deciding if the long walk to Fort Nepean was on the cards or not.
Now when I say ‘long’, I mean “this will take longer than half an hour but probably less than 4 hours”. Anything under half an hour is a short walk. Anything over 4 is not worth naming because I’m never going to do one.
Gunners Cottage is about midway through the park and a starting point for several walks. The straightest route to Fort Nepean (and therefore the point in Point Nepean) is 2.6kms. Bear that in mind; we’ll come back to it later. The first thing we decided to tackle was Point Nepean cemetery. Why? Because it was only 200 metres away from the car and we’re not stupid. A warm up walk before a proper walk is always a good idea.
Point Nepean cemetery was established in 1854 to replace the existing beach burial grounds after erosion unearthed the burials in a way that probably influenced the ‘corpses popping up from the unfinished swimming pool’ scenes in ‘Poltergeist’.
Another 450 metres brought us to Observatory Point where the remnants of a cattle jetty stood defiant in the sea. The jetty was set up in conjunction with the Quarantine Station in order to confine newly arrived animal stock, before it had a chance to run rampant with dodgy diseases. Ahhh Border Force…how far we’ve come.
After a little consideration, we decided to follow Coles Track for a bit. Coles is on the Port Phillip Bay side of the point, but it mostly looks like this:
so there’s little to see except trees and flowers until you get high enough to see the bay.
Not really having a clue, but feeling pretty good otherwise, we decided we’d aim for the Cheviot Hill lookout because it seemed:
As it turns out, Fort Nepean was another 1.5km away but we were feeling good, and positive we could do the rest of the walk and the return jaunt before sundown. Before long we found ourselves at some fort like structures so we figured we'd made it, but we'd actually only got to Fort Pearce. We could easily have spent an hour there and did stay long enough to watch a ship pass through the heads without being mangled in The Rip, but the sun was getting lower, so on we pressed.
Eventually we came to a clearing with a magical sign that announced we had arrived at our destination. We had a ramble around for a while before death by stairs become imminent. Mindful of the hills we still had to tackle on the way back, we opted out of exploring every single thing to preserve our energy for the return trip.
The trip back was uneventful, straight down Defence Rd with a little detour to look at the Harold Holt memorial. Not as ironic a memorial as The Harold Holt Swim Centre in Glen Iris, but nice enough.
Oh, remember the 2.6km magic number? We ended up covering 7.75kms, which is not bad for an old wobbler and a chick who used enough tissues to single-handedly keep Kleenex afloat.