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.
South Channel Fort (Point Nepean National Park, Local Port of Port Phillip)
South Channel Fort (Point Nepean National Park) - Tunnels closedThe South Channel Fort and Jetty remains open to public access. However, all access into the sub terrain tunnels/ keep (via Licensed Tour Operators) is currently restricted due to safety concerns - pending further engineering/ technical assessments.
Fort Nepean (Point Nepean National Park)
Closures - Fort NepeanEngine house walking track closed until further notice. Access to Gun emplacements 5 & 6, Engine House, Battery Observation Posts restricted.
Gunners Car Park / Cottage (Point Nepean National Park)
Gunners Car Park ClosureGunners carpark will be closed from 3pm onwards on Saturday January 6th due to a public event. The shuttle bus service will be unaffected.
Gunners Car Park Closure - 6th JanuaryGunners Car Park will be closed from 3pm onwards on Saturday 6th of January for a public event.The shuttle bus service will be operating as normal.
Point Nepean National Park
Beach access at The BendBeach access from the Bay Beach Walk at The Bend, within Point Nepean National Park, is affected by storm damage.
Altered Front Gate Opening/Closing TimesPoint Nepean National Park is open daily. Temporarily vehicles may enter the park between 7am-7pm and can exit at any time. Pedestrians and cyclists can enter and exit the park any time.