From the main carpark, the National Park roads are closed to the public. We bought our shuttle bus tickets from the Information Centre and caught the hop on-hop off bus to Fort Nepean, at the very end of the Mornington Peninsula.
The old fort was built in the 1880's and was used as a major defence for Victoria during WW1 and WW2, right up until 1945.
A labyrinth of tunnels and doors below ground are great for exploring. You'll find artillery rooms, war relics, audio recordings and glimpses of the ocean through holes where brave young soldiers once sat, watching for enemy ships approaching the narrow entrance to Port Phillip Bay.
Birdlife abounds and wildflowers bloom on the rugged coastline. On the sunny day we visited, there was eleventy bazillion of these *Red Spotted Jezebel Butterflies flying around the place.
*thank you, Google.
Sweeping views across to Point Lonsdale, The Rip and Queenscliff, where the SeaLink Ferry chugs back and forth across the bay to Sorrento.
The bus isn't the only way to get around the park. You can walk the various trails, hire bicycles or bring your own and follow the road at your own pace. At Cheviot Hill, you can see the treacherous waters of Bass Strait and the wild surf beach where Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared whilst swimming.
Back at the Quarantine Station, we walked around the many heritage buildings, including army barracks, stables and the limestone hospital. The Army used the site until 1988 and then it remained empty for many years, apart from 1999 when refugees from Kosovar were temporarily housed here.
We had a picnic lunch under a Norfolk Pine, then dipped our toes in the crystal clear waters of the bay. We didn't get to see all there is to see here, so we'll definitely be making a return trip soon.
How Much: FREE to walk (Shuttle bus $10)