This ride commences at the Maritime Discovery Centre. Coastal parklands surround this area and it is close by to the Portland Harbour where you can watch fishing boats unloading their daily catches and ships loading cargo. The journey out to Cape Nelson takes you through pleasant farming land and the impressive wind farm along the steep cliff face of the cape. Although the weather in winter may be a deterrent, the ocean will reward you with awesome views of waves crashing onto the coastline.
The ride is on the sealed road all the way. In town, there are bicycle paths on the side of the road. Out in the country, the roads are fine.
The most traffic you will find is in Bentinck Street and it gets less as you leave the urban area. Normally the road to the lighthouse is frequented only by the occasional tourist.
Portland is 100 kilometers west of Warrnambool on the Princes Highway. The Maritime Discovery Centre is accessed off Bentinck Street, the main esplanade along the Portland harbor. VicRoads Map: 503:Q3.
Food and Drink
Many cafes and restaurants are to be found throughout the township of Portland. There is also a café at the lighthouse but its hours of opening are not precise.
You begin by riding out through the township of Portland passing on your way the passage of the Portland Cable Tram, a tourist tram that can take you from Fawthrop Lagoon through the town and along the foreshore. After passing the railway bridge there is a slight climb as you head towards the outskirts of Portland. This is mainly a residential area that opens into farming land. Soon you will see the awesome sight of the wind turbines of the Portland Wind Energy Project as they tower over the coastline.
It is planned to be the largest project of its type in the southern hemisphere. There are many coastal walks signed along the way, and these are mainly sections of the Great South West Walk. Be sure to stop at the Yellow Rock car park and take the short walk or ride down to the lookout for spectacular panoramic views along the coastline. To the right you are struck by the enormous wind towers standing over the gigantic cliffs – man and nature in contrast. The road rolls through coastal shrub towards Cape Nelson and its lighthouse.
Cape Nelson is the site of the oldest shipwreck on the Australian mainland - the Isabella in 1837 and the construction of the lighthouse was sought for many years as an early warning light for ships voyaging through the treacherous entrance to Bass Strait from the west. The 32-meter high lighthouse was first lit in 1884. The station can accommodate up to 16 people. There's a licensed cafe and lighthouse tours for day visitors.
A feature of the lighthouse is a rubble wall 435 meters long surrounding the living quarters and extending out to the lighthouse to protect the keepers from the harsh winds. The return journey takes in a different perspective of the same area, and you will soon find yourself rolling back into the township of Portland where coffee, cake and harbor views await.
- 0.0 Leave the Maritime Discovery Centre car park turning left.
- 0.3 Turn right and then left up the ramp onto Bentinck St, where you turn left. Head straight through the roundabout
- 0.8 Go through the roundabout at Glenelg St.
- 1.5 Go through the intersection with Must St.
- 3.0 Continue straight through the roundabout at Madiera Packet Rd.
- 4.0 Turn left down Sheoak Rd, which is signed to Cape Nelson.
- 5.6 You must stop here at the Yellow Rock car park to take in the spectacular clifftop views and even an exploration of the beach. There are eco toilets off the pathway.
- 11.6 Turn left to the Cape Nelson lighthouse.
- 12.9 You reach the lighthouse and if the café is open some well-deserved refreshments and a tour of the lighthouse. The return trip is slightly different than the outward journey.
- 14.0 Instead of turning right back into Scenic Rd continue straight ahead on the Cape Nelson Rd.
- 21.2 Here you will pass where you first turned off. Continue straight ahead.
- 25.0 Turn right onto the down ramp to the foreshore, then left.
- 25.4 You have arrived back at the car park.
25.422 km / 15.797 mi
218 m / 715 ft
218 m / 715 ft
97 m / 319 ft