Writer: Mia Robinson
I grew up in Byron Bay －one of Australia’s most renowned beaches－so coming to Melbourne was a bit of a shock as far as feeling like a fish out of water. I had to learn to cope with being so far from the ocean real quick.
When I’m feeling like I need some sand, surf and sun, these are my top six Melbourne Beach recommendations, including their travel time from Flinders Street Station.
Public Transport: Take the number one tram towards South Melbourne beach, get off at the end of the line. This is the closest beach to the CBD.
Travel Time: 20 minutes
In summertime, on a good day, this beach is more like a massive party with volleyball nets and so many people it’s hard to find a spot for your towel. The water is often a bit dirty because the beach is so close to the river mouth, but if you get a good tide, it can sparkle turquoise like any tropical beach. If you don’t like people, I’d suggest you avoid this one in summer. Winter time though, it is quite peaceful and wild －definitely a good way to get in touch with nature. Anytime of the year at dusk or night-time, this beach is magical. The lights from the city reflecting on the water and the stillness make it feel like another world.
Public Transport: Take the 96 tram towards St Kilda and get off on Acland st.
Travel Time: 30 minutes
This is definitely Melbourne’s most famous beach. A huge tourist destination for a million backpackers most times of the year, again, it’s a huge party for most of summer. The St Kilda Sea baths are worth having a squiz at; it’s an indoor pool that has a sauna and a door that you can pop outside into a private sea bath to cool down. If you walk along the pier in summertime at dusk, you can also see the penguins coming home from a long days fishing for free, as they live in the rocks.
Public Transport: Take the train towards Williamstown, get off at Williamstown beach station and follow the signs.
Travel Time: 30 minutes
Williamstown beach is for those hot summery afternoons where all you want to do is put your feet in the water and enjoy the weather. This beach is the closest from Footscray Park, or any of the Victoria University Western campuses. If you happen to have your snorkels handy there is some pretty interesting reef action, and there is also a track along the coastline that stretches about a kilometre if you’re feeling like a stroll.
Public Transport: From Southern Cross, hop on the V/Line train towards Waurn Ponds on platform fourteen. Get off at Marshall station. Take route fifty bus towards Jan Juc and get off at Golden Beach Way/The Esplanade, and follow the signs to the beach.
Travel Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Torquay is famous for its surfing, so for anyone who’s dying to hit some decent size waves, check Coastalwatch online for swell waves, and take your surfboard. It’s located on the other side of the peninsula, so the lovely little beach faces the Tasman Sea and most of the time is pretty gentle. The town itself has a pretty huge surf culture as it is so close to the famous surf spot, Bell’s Beach. So if you don’t have a board and want to hire one or get lessons, Torquay is a great place to do this. The main town is pretty relaxed with heaps of lovely café’s and a nice vibe.
Public Transport: Take the train to Frankston, then take the 788 bus to Portsea, get off at stop 12603 and follow the signs.
Travel Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Sorrento Back Beach is the kind of place you want to spend the whole day at. The beach is in the Mornington Peninsula National Park and there are plenty of scenic walks you can do that involve gentle hiking. Sorrento itself is a very cute little beach town, which gets a lot of tourism on weekends. It is situated on a thin strip of the Mornington Peninsula, facing Port Phillip Bay in the north and the open waters of Bass Strait in the south. If you are feeling like you need to get away from the city and civilisation altogether, this is a great place to feel alone and separate from the world.
Public Transport: From Southern Cross, hop on the V/Line train towards Waurn Ponds on platform fourteen. Get off at Geelong station.Take the coach towards Apollo Bay (from bay two) and get off at the Aireys Inlet post office. Follow the signs to the lighthouse.
Travel Time: 1 hour 51 minutes
This by far is my favourite beach in Victoria. It is the first stop on the Great Ocean Road and is the home of one of Australia’s most iconic lighthouses. There is something about this place that every time I go there (and I go a lot) I just feel good; it’s absolutely magical. To be honest, it’s probably just the lighthouse, which is similar to the lighthouse at Byron Bay, but I can guarantee that this spot is worth the trek. In spring and autumn if you’re lucky, you might see whales migrating, but most of the year there are dolphins and all kinds of wildlife (if you are especially lucky you may even spot a seal).
This beach is again for the adventuring types that want the most of their beach going experience, as there are a few different walks that you can take around the cape and the river mouth that comes out just underneath the lighthouse. If you are feeling peckish, there is also a very sweet café called Willow’s Teahouse just before the lighthouse that sells scones and cakes.