During the late 19th century the government decided that Victoria’s rich goldfields needed protection. Because of its strategic position, Fort Nepean became an important defence post. Numerous military fortifications were built, making Port Phillip one of the most heavily defended harbours in Australia.
The first shot of the British Empire in the First World War and the first Australian shot of World War II were fired from Gun Emplacement 6, earning its entry into military history. These battlements were modified and used right up until the end of World War II.
Today, Fort Nepean remains an outstanding example of the evolution of gun technology and Australia’s early defence strategies.
There’s lots to see, so allow at least an hour to discover what makes Fort Nepean so unique. Above and below ground you will find gun emplacements, barracks, tunnels, ammunition magazines, an engine house and even a bomb-proof room.
Make sure you spare some time to see the fortifications at nearby Fort Pearce, Pearce Barracks and Eagles Nest.
The landscape and views are pretty unique, too. Look out over The Rip, where the generally calmer waters of Port Phillip meet the rough seas of the Southern Ocean. This is one of the most dangerous sea lanes in the world and has claimed many vessels over the years.
Things to do in the area
How to get there
Fort Nepean is only accessible on foot, bicycle or by shuttle bus. Leave your car at the Quarantine Station, Gunners Cottage or front entrance carparks.
The walk to Fort Nepean from the Quarantine Station carpark is approximately 4.5km and takes an hour and fifteen minutes one way. The walk from Gunners Cottage carpark is a little shorter at 3km. The walk from the front entrance gate is approximately 5.5km and a longer walk of around an hour and forty-five minutes one way.
Alternatively, the Point Nepean shuttle service runs between the Quarantine Station and Fort Nepean.
Bicycles or electric bikes can be hired from Bayplay. For all bike hire inquiries, availability and bookings visit bayplay.com.au/play/bike-riding
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Need to know
Change of Conditions
Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.
Fort Nepean (Point Nepean National Park)
Gun Emplacements 5 and 6, Engine House and Battery Observation Posts closed at Fort NepeanThe Fort Nepean precinct is open, however Gun Emplacements 5 and 6, Engine House and Battery Observation Posts at Fort Nepean are closed due to safety concerns arising from recent engineering inspections. Further technical assessments and remediation investigations are being undertaken.
Fort Nepean Engine House walking track uneven surfacesThe Fort Nepean Engine House walking track has reopened, however care is needed while walking on the track as there are uneven surfaces