Frankston is a major activity centre within the Greater Melbourne metropolitan area located at the northernmost point of the Mornington Peninsula. It is a popular day destination, especially in summer where its beaches are an alternative to the busier beaches closer in to the city.

Location: 40 km southeast of the Melbourne City Centre.

Frankston is often referred to as the Gateway to the Mornington Peninsula  or the Bay City . Statistically, Frankston is part of the Greater Melbourne metropolitan area  which is reflected in its primarily suburban and residential nature. It became part of the Melbourne urban agglomeration during the 1980s. While Geelong is at the direct opposite end of Port Phillip bay, Frankston is 35 kilometres closer and the Melbourne skyline is clearly visible.

Frankstons lure as a holiday destination increased particularly after the electrification of the railway service in August 1922, which reduced average journey times from 90 to 62 minutes. Between two world wars, the area developed into a regional centre for the Mornington Peninsula and a playground for Melbourne's affluent.

A number of large informal nature reserves exist in the suburb including: Bunarong Park, Casuarina Reserve, Paratea Flora and Fauna Reserve and Sweetwater Creek Nature Reserve. All reserves have formal walking paths and contain a broad range of Australian native flora and fauna, with hundreds of species indigenous to the Frankston area, including over 20 species of orchid. Large formally-designed parks in the area include Beauty Park (converted from a swamp in the early 20th century) and the George Pentland Botanical Gardens (converted from a golf course in the mid 20th Century).

The Frankston foreshore area has also retained much of its natural element. An extensive raised timber walking path called the Frankston Boardwalk  winds through this section of the foreshore in order to protect the area, whilst also allowing it to be enjoyed by visitors. Only a small section of the foreshore remains developed, near the mouth of Kananook Creek and the 500 m Frankston Pier, called Frankston Waterfront . The waterfront features extensive landscaping, a themed playground, car parking, a restaurant with bay views and a Visitor Information Centre.

Getting Around

As Frankston is the southern-most suburb of the greater Melbourne area and also the gateway to the peninsula , it is well serviced by both road and rail. The suburb is connected to the rest of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula by the Nepean Highway, Moorooduc Highway and the Peninsula Link (the latter which connects to the EastLink Tollway). The suburb is also connected directly to the Melbourne city centre via the Frankston railway line. Bus services run throughout Frankston s suburbs and also connect it to the neighbouring cities of Dandenong and Casey. Regional bus services connect the south-west Mornington Peninsula, and the south-east is connected via the Stony Point railway line. The main transport terminus for the suburb is Young Street, on the edge of the Frankston central business district.

Lookouts: The locality of Olivers Hill boasts imposing bay and city views, and is home to the most expensive real estate property in the entire City of Frankston. It also overlooks Frankston Beach and the Frankston Waterfront. It is known locally as The Hill .

About Frankston

In 1959, the Hollywood film, On the Beach, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, was partly filmed in Frankston, at its railway station and in the surrounding area. The original novel of On the Beach was written by novelist Nevil Shute, who lived in Frankston s south-east, in what is now the Frankston suburb of Langwarrin.

The origins of the name Frankston  has been subject to some conjecture. Local folklore suggests that the town was named after a publican called Frank Stone, who ran a hotel at the corner of the then Point Nepean Road (now the Nepean Highway) and Hastings Road (now Davey Street). However, there is no evidence that such a person existed. Two more credible possibilities are that the town was named after Frank Liardet or after Charles Franks, an early settler of Melbourne killed by aborigines.

However, according to Frankston historian and author Michael Jones, Frankston is named after a British army general who fought in the Second Sikh War. The theory is strengthened by the fact a number of other towns in the area, such as Cranbourne, Hastings, Lyndhurst, Mornington and Pakenham, are named after British statesmen and generals. Jones suggests that Andrew Clarke, the Surveyor-General of the Port Phillip District from 1853 to 1858, named all these towns.


The annual Frankston Waterfront Festival (formally the Frankston Sea Festival) is a weekend long celebration of Frankston's seaside heritage, held at the end of summer on the Frankston Waterfront. The festival features a large food and wine fair, live entertainment, rides and the popular amateur swim/run event, the Frankston Bay Classic (a 7 km swim and 14 km run, with prize money awarded to the winners of each leg of the event). Sand Sculpting Australia, who stages a sand sculpture exhibition, relocated their host city to Frankston in 2008. The exhibition, which is held over three months at the start of each year, now coincides with - and is now a feature of - the Frankston Waterfront Festival weekend.

The Christmas Festival of Lights is a popular annual Christmas event and one of the biggest on the Frankston community calendar. The 2007 event attracted 25,000 people to the Frankston central business district to watch the lighting of the 100 year old Norfolk pine tree, fireworks display and engage in community festivals. The festival also includes the "I Love Frankston" Parade. The annual parade consists of community groups, sporting clubs, schools and local business marching through the streets of Frankston in a show of civic pride, culminating at the Christmas Festival of Lights. For the last 7 years, Gateway Church has led the Carols by Candlelight and finale.

The Good Friday Festival on the Frankston Foreshore has grown considerably since 2005, with the Frankston City Council estimating 3,000 people attending the event in 2009. Churches around Frankston combine to host the free event, which features music, drama, face painting and other community events.


Frankston has a number of theatre venues, council-operated and private art galleries, as well as many public art pieces (mainly around the Frankston central business district). Major theatre venues in Frankston include the Frankston Arts Centre (along with its Cube37 art space), and the George Jenkins Theatre (part of Monash University's Peninsula Campus). The suburb is also home to a number of award-winning amateur music and theatre societies, including the Frankston Symphony Orchestra, Frankston City Band, Mornington Peninsula Chorale, Peninsula Light Operatic Society, Panorama Theatre Company, Frankston Theatre Group, and the People's Playhouse. The suburb is also home to the internationally-renowned Australian Welsh Male Choir.

Frankston Arts Centre overlooks the Frankston CBD, and houses an 800-seat theatre and art gallery. The centre plays host to a number of major performances, including regular shows by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Victorian Opera, and is a tour venue for the Melbourne International Film Festival, Opera Australia and a number of national theatre companies. Next to the arts centre (Davey Street entrance) is Cube37, an intimate performance venue and exhibition space. 'The Cube', as it is locally known, also encompasses a state-of-the-art glass studio frontage for multimedia exhibitions at night. The Frankston Ballet Company, founded in 1998 by local resident Arthur D. Wellington performs throughout the year at each of the venues.

A public art program, adopted by Frankston City Council, has been in place since the turn on the century. Recent major public art additions in the suburb includes "Sentinal", a five-metre-tall abstract wooden sculpture of a native sea eagle located on Young Street by sculptor Bruce Armstrong, "Power of Community" located in Beauty Park by famed mosaic artist Deborah Halpern, and "Sightlines" along Frankston Peir by Louise Laverack that consists of 22 modular components (poles) decorated with nautical flag-themed weather vanes, with light panels embedded in the poles which reflect the movement of the waves below.

Frankston Arts Centre

This website is part of the Australia For Everyone network of travel and information websites.
Email Ph: 0412 879 698. Content © 2017, Australia For Everyone