Calm water, colorful huts and historic sea baths make this suburban beach a relaxing and stylish escape from Melbourne’s inner-city bustle. Situated in one of Melbourne’s wealthiest suburbs, Brighton Beach refers to three different sections of beach along Port Phillip Bay: Upper Brighton Beach, Middle Brighton Beach and Dendy Street Beach. Middle Brighton features historic sea baths and the Middle Brighton Pier. The most famous spot is undoubtedly Dendy Street Beach, which is home to a line of more than 80 colorful beach huts, Brighton’s famous “bathing boxes.” The beaches of Brighton generally have very calm water and are patrolled by lifeguards, which make them a safe place to swim. Just inland from the beaches there are plenty of grassy foreshore reserves to have a picnic, kick a ball or relax. Pull on your running shoes or bike helmet; separate walking and cycling paths run the length of Port Phillip Bay and provide great vistas of the bay and city skyline. Be sure to pack a hat, sunscreen and to drink plenty of water when in the sun. Brighton Beach is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Melbourne and there’s a parking lot nearby.
Catch a wave against the backdrop of ancient pink granite at Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island’s highest point and one of Victoria’s most popular surfing beaches. Walk along the golden, sweeping beaches at any time of the year. Follow one of the four coastal walking track loops at Cape Woolamai and stop at viewing platforms to take in breathtaking views of the Pinnacles. Witness the magical dusk descent of the short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) as they return from a day of fishing to the place they call home between late September and mid-April. Take advantage of Bass Strait and surf one of the best beach breaks in the country. You can rent bicycles and cycle from the tourist road down to the beach. There is a great patrolled area for kids to swim.
Ninety Mile Beach
Ninety Mile Beach is a 90-mile long stretch of pristine golden sand that separates the Gippsland Lakes from Bass Strait. This is one of the most natural and unspoiled beaches in the world and is ideal for any number of beach activities from beach fishing and swimming to walking, whale and dolphin-spotting or just lazing in the sun. The beach lies on the edge of a long slender sand dune and the absence of rocky outcrops or headlands results in a vista of endless sand that stretches as far as the eye can see. Offshore, the sandy plains are only occasionally broken by low ribbons of reef. The beach can be reached from the South Gippsland Highway via the towns of Woodside Beach, Seaspray, Golden Beach or Loch Sport and Lakes Entrance. Ninety Mile Beach is unspoiled and offers clean white sand, wonderful crashing waves and a natural bush environment. A beach wheelchair is available from the Lakes Entrance Main Beach and Surf Lifesaving Club. A kiosk and accessible toilets are available at the Surf Club. A beach wheelchair is also available from the Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club throughout January, and on weekends and public holidays.
St. Kilda Beach
Summer isn’t summer until you’ve spent a day by the seaside at St Kilda Beach, a short tram ride from the CBD. The foreshore is a hive of activity as walkers, joggers and rollerbladers race by, while kite surfers, windsurfers and all-weather swimmers make the waters their playground. In St Kilda style there plenty of opportunity for refreshments, whether at the end of the iconic pier or in the bars and restaurants of the St Kilda Sea Baths. For an unforgettable brush with wildlife, head to the breakwater to see the resident population of little penguins burrowing in the rocks.
Make your way down to Geelong’s famous waterfront precinct and discover the city’s spectacular summer playground. Climb the tower and dive into the cool waters of the art deco swimming enclosure, built all the way back in the 1930s, or just take a scenic stroll along the boardwalk and watch the boats bobbing in the bay. Splash about with the kids in the seaside pool and then hit the adventure playground next door. Keep the festivities going with a ride on the Ferris wheel and historic carousel further up the beach. Round out your afternoon with a sumptuous picnic and friendly game of cricket on the vast lawns along the beach.
Grab your surfboard and explore this 2.8 mile stretch of picturesque coastline west of Barwon Heads. A popular surf spot, Thirteenth Beach provides varied conditions to suit both learner and advanced surfers. The lovely wide stretch of sand spreads between looming sand dunes and crashing waves, and is also ideal for a refreshing walk, jog, sandcastle-making or ball play with the dog. Take a short walk around the headland, don a wetsuit for some diving, and take in the expansive views.
Take a wander along the famous white sand of Squeaky Beach and have a dip in the turquoise waters of one of Wilsons Promontory’s most iconic beaches. The rounded grains of quartz make a squeaking sound when you walk, giving this popular local beach its name. Head down from the Squeaky Beach car park and make your way through coastal scrub, jumping the little stream as you reach the beach. Take in views out to distant islands and the granite-studded headlands, or just choose a comfortable spot on the large expanse of pristine white sand. Adventurous types will love the northern end of the beach, with its large granite boulders creating a maze of passages to explore. Marvel at the brilliant orange rocks that contrast perfectly with the clear blue ocean and visit at dusk to watch the changing hues at sunset. Squeaky Beach can be reached from a range of short walks including the Lilly Pilly Gully car park, Picnic Bay or Tidal River, which offers spectacular coastal views. Vehicle access is available via the Squeaky Beach car park, with a short five-minute walk to the beach through coastal scrub. Toilet facilities are located adjacent to the car park. Surf lifesavers do not operate at this beach. All-terrain wheelchairs, a TrailRider and beach wheelchairs are available for park visitors with significant physical disabilities.
Ride a wave at Bells Beach, located near Torquay on the southern coast of Victoria in the Great Ocean Road region. Head to Bells Beach over the Easter weekend and watch the world’s best surfers carve up the waves at the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition. High cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop to the natural amphitheatre of the beach and large swells from the Southern Ocean, which slow down and steepen over the reef-strewn shallows, create the outstanding surf. If you’re a sightseer, Bells Beach is a popular spot with great vantage points along the cliff. For surfers, Bells Beach is really for the experienced. The beach is an exposed reef and point break with excellent right hand breaks, at their best during autumn and winter.