The Mornington Peninsula to the south of Melbourne almost closes off Port Phillip Bay from Bass Strait, the stretch of sea that divides the mainland from Tasmania. In 1803 Victoria's first official European settlement was established in Sorrento, along the bay, close to the tip of the peninsula. There are wide empty beaches on the coast facing Bass Strait and London Bridge, a natural rock arch near Portsea.
A ferry across The Rip (considered one of the most dangerous seaways in the world with over 200 shipwrecks) takes you from Sorrento to Queenscliff on Bellarine Peninsula. It has some impressive well preserved old-fashioned hotels. Nearby Point Lonsdale has a still operational lighthouse, built in 1902.
Following the coast heading south west, takes you to Torquay on the Surf Coast, with its beaches offering world-class surfing, but also satisfying families with small children. Further on is Anglesey and touristy Lorne, with great coastal views from Teddy's Lookout. From here to Apollo Bay the road gets really spectacular with wide views along what is now called the Shipwreck Coast.