I often hear people talk about the Great Ocean Road. It’s a trip on everyone’s must do list. But rarely do I hear people talk about visiting Port Phillip Bay. The Great Ocean Road gets all the limelight. But just as beautiful and interesting are the shoreline, towns and villages of Port Phillip Bay. The good thing about a Port Phillip Bay trip is that you can easily and economically do it by public transport.
The trip starts with a ferry or train from Melbourne to Geelong. Then catch a local bus from Geelong to Queenscliff and a ferry across the sea entrance of Port Phillip Bay from Queenscliff to Sorrento. Then travel up along the Mornington Peninsula by bus to Frankston and finally take a train from Frankston back into Melbourne. All in a day.
Depending on your connections you could do the whole trip in six to eight hours.
When my partner and I first did the trip we thought we’d do it all in a day. But the towns and areas we passed through were so interesting we ended up staying the night in both Queenscliff and Sorrento.
Melbourne to Geelong
- By train
The most convenient way of getting to Geelong from Melbourne is to use the train. It’s a journey of a little over an hour and trains leave Southern Cross station approximately every 40 minutes and bookings ain’t required. You just roll up with your Myki card, find yourself a seat and sit back and enjoy the journey. There are restrooms and refreshments available onboard. When you arrive in Geelong the buses for the next leg of your journey to Queenscliff leave from the entrance to the station. Here’s the timetable Southern Cross Station to Geelong :
- By ferry
The ferry service by Port Phillip Ferries is new, having only started back in December 2019. There are two services a day from Docklands to Geelong – a morning and afternoon service. The ferry is a fast catamaran and known as the Geelong Flyer. The trip from Docklands to Geelong is one hour and thirty minutes. Refreshments and restrooms are available on board. It’s important to remember that you need to book and pay ahead. Only passengers with pre-booked tickets will be allowed to board the ferry. For the timetable and online bookings, click on the link below.
The ferry arrives at the Geelong Waterfront beside the Carousel but the bus to Queenscliff, your next destination, leaves from Geelong Railway station, which is about a ten minute walk (about four blocks away) or a quick trip in a taxi. Here’s a map of Geelong.
Geelong to Queenscliff
If you arrive on the train, you’ll find the bus stop for buses to Queenscliff in front of Geelong Railway Station. The bus route number you’re looking for is number 56 to Queenscliff via Ocean Grove. During the day buses depart the Geelong Railway Station for Queenscliff approximately every hour. Use your Myki card to pay your fare. Here’s the timetable for Geelong Station to Queenscliff:
Queenscliff to Sorrento
This section of the trip takes you by ferry across the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.
The ferry service from Queenscliff to Sorrento is run by Searoad Ferries. Ferries depart the Queenscliff Wharf every hour from 7 am till 6 pm, seven days a week. The ferry timetable is at:
One way Foot Passenger Fares start from Adult $13.00 and Concession at $11.00. You can buy tickets online or at the wharf. More information and fares at:
Sorrento to Frankston
The bus to Frankston is route number 788 which leaves from the corner of Melbourne Road and Ocean Beach Road. The bus stop is a five to ten minute walk from the ferry terminal into Sorrento shopping centre. Buses leave for Frankston about every forty to fifty minutes. So find the bus stop, check the timetable, then have a look around the shops or get some lunch before the next bus departs. Here’s the timetable.
The bus trip from Sorrento to Frankston will take around one and one half hours. Pay using your Myki card.
Frankston to Melbourne
The 788 bus from Sorrento will terminate at Frankston Railway Station. Trains to Melbourne depart from here every ten minutes. Here’s the timetable.