Arthurs SeatArthurs Seat is a steep granite hill (305 m above sea-level) which is the highest point on the Mornington Peninsula. It was named in 1802 by Lieutenant James Murray who was reminded of a mountain by that name located near Edinburgh. It was climbed later that same year by Matthew Flinders and later became one of the area's earliest tourist attractions. The flamboyance of the earlier architecture atop Arthurs Seat is a reminder of its popular past. Today it offers excellent views and a range of activities.
Arthurs Seat can be ascended by road or the Two Bays Walking Track. The hill is the focus of a 550-ha state park, declared in 1988 to protect the bushland. Atop the peak are picnic areas, electric barbecues, childrens' play facilities, car parking, a tearoom, and a viewing area. It offers outstanding perspectives of Port Phillip Bay, Bass Strait and the Mornington Peninsula.
To get there by car head out of Dromana on McCulloch Rd which passes under the freeway then take a right turn onto Arthurs Seat Rd. It soon bends to the left and passes a carpark beside the chairlift which operates every day from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from September to the second Monday in June. For the remainder of the year it operates on weekends, school and public holidays, tel: (03) 5987 2565. Adjacent is a picnic area, a kiosk and the Manna Gum Gallery (open daily), tel: (03) 5987 1336. Alternatively just continue driving up Arthurs Seat Rd to the summit. En route is Murrays Lookout (247 m above sea-level). The Arthurs Seat Hill Climb is held each year in September.
Seawinds: Once you get to the summit of Arthurs Seat, turn right into Purves Rd and after 500 m you will see, on the right, the main gates to the 35-ha property known as 'Seawinds' which contains extensive ornamental gardens. The first European owner of this area was George Chapman, the gardener at 'Heronswood' (see previous entry). He lived in a homestead on the property and his children walked to school each day in Dromana. Work on the gardens was started in 1946 by surgeon Sir Thomas Travers and Lady Travers.
Arthurs Seat Maze and Gallery: Virtually opposite Seawinds is Arthurs Seat Maze which has several mazes (including a large hedge maze), twenty theme gardens (including a children's garden, a fairy garden, Japanese Gardens, cottage gardens, a fragrant garden, an African savannah garden and a Columbian pot garden), a parterre, a 9-metre topiary dragon, a sculpture park, an animal nursery, a kiosk, gallery and a licensed restaurant. It is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (tel: 03 5981 8449) while the restaurant is open seven days and seven nights though it is best to ring first, tel: (03) 5981 8559.
Charlie's Pine Ridge Car Auto Museum: 1.5 km from the summit is the Pine Ridge Car Museum which features a range of cars, motorcycles, bowsers, signs and other automotive memorabilia housed in a 1940s-style garage. Many of the cars are not only rare, but were never seen on Australian roads . These include numerous Studebaker Avantis, Tatras (Russian motor vehicles) and a variety of 3-wheeler micro and bubble cars from the 1950s and 60s.
Further south on Purves Rd are the Fuchsia Nursery (open daily from late October to May), the Pig & Whistle Pub and Country Kitchen and Arthurs Seat Riding Stables which offers bush-trail rides, tel: (03) 5989 6124.
An 800-m walk takes in most of the main features. A gravel track leads from the carpark west to Bay Lookout which faces west across McCrae, Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento to Port Phillip Heads and Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula. Beyond are the three pyramid-shaped peaks of the You Yangs, Mount Macedon to the right of them and the Otway Ranges to the south. The trail veers north to the Northern Lookout. Arthurs Seat is in the foreground. On a clear day, Mount Dandenong, the Great Dividing Range and the skyline of Melbourne can be seen. Continue along the path to the terraced lawn. The rock wall on the right features several sculptures by William Ricketts (see entry on Kalorama). The flight of stairs adjacent the wall provides access to a 1-km loop track which takes in Matthew Flinders Lookout and Arthurs Peak summit. Alternatively, you can head south-east, back to the carpark.
80 m south-west of the information board is the start of the T.C. McKellar Circuit Walk (1 km) which passes through the woodland and wildflowers of the T.C. McKellar Flora Reserve to the south. Seawinds has picnic, barbecue, disabled and toilet facilities. The Arthur Koala Detective Trail (a related activity sheet can be picked up from the top of the chairlift) outlines some highlights of the property. Seawinds is popular in all seasons and is open to walkers all year round. Vehicle access is from 10.00 a.m. daily. The gates close at 4.30 p.m. on weekdays, 5.00 p.m. on weekends and public holidays and at 8.00 p.m. in the summer school holiday period (closed to vehicles on Christmas Day). There is an entry fee on most weekends and holidays.
Lookout Hill Circuit Walk: West of the Arthurs Seat summit, along Arthurs Seat Rd (before you reach the intersection with the Mornington-Flinders Rd), there is a turnoff on the left into Eatons Cutting Rd which leads to a carpark. This is the start of the Lookout Hill Circuit Walk (1 km) which passes through stringybark forest and open sheoak. It offers excellent views of the coast, the rural hinterland and Melbourne.
Arthurs Seat Maze
Charlie's Auto Museum, Arthurs Seat