When it comes to Melbourne beaches, most people think of St. Kilda. It's true, St. Kilda beach screams seaside vibes and long summer days on the ocean. But Melbourne isn't a one beach city. For those of you who love spending your holidays on the beach, Melbourne doesn't disappoint.
To help you make the most of digging your toes into the warm sand, here are some Melbourne beaches that will leave you breathless. From quiet and isolated to buzzing and popular, there's literally a beach for everyone.
What makes a beach a beach?
Beaches are dynamic systems of sand, water, flora, and fauna that constantly shift and change. Their allure, however, is enduring. As destinations for swimming and body surfing, meeting with friends and relaxing, and watching romantic sunsets, our beaches offer myriad moments of pleasure.
So … what makes a beach a beach? Sand along the coast. (Duh.) Sand at our beaches is a mix of beige quartz, some darker minerals, and coral fragments from nearby reefs. Each beach is comprised of a unique combination of grains — size, shape, sorting, colour and composition can all vary — and the vegetation that washes ashore. Despite these potentially infinite combinations, most beaches share common features. As you move toward shore, you’ll probably find:
- Terraces and dunes of the backshore (or back beach), ideal for cabanas, lounge chairs, and football. Terraces are flat and may slope slightly landward, and this area remains dry except during large storms. Because wind transports sand in these areas, ripples may form. Also, the wind carries away smaller sand grains, leaving the surface of coarser (i.e., larger) grains and shell fragments.
- The crest of a low berm that rises above the high-tide line marking a transition from backshore to foreshore (or forebeach, or beach face).
- A smooth beach face that slopes toward the water forming the front part of the low beam. Because it includes the swash zone, it makes an excellent path to walk along
- Swash and surf zones:
- Swash zone, where water and sediment uprush and backwash after waves crash. On steep beaches, runnels may form to channel the backwash.
- Surf zone (or breaker zone), where wave energy from the deep ocean is compressed in shallower water, causing the waves to break.
As the tide rises, these zones move higher up the beach face, only to fall back as the tide recedes.
- The base of the beach face is marked by a small ridge or beach step that is coarser-grained, where backwash meets crashed waves, creating a narrow high-energy zone. As backwash extends beyond the beach step, seaward rip currents can form in the same area that waves break, creating potentially dangerous conditions.
Eighty-two charming little bright, multi-coloured bathing boxes line the foreshore at Brighton beach, which is an ideal spot for swimmers, sunbathers and surfers alike. When the wind picks up, there are some pretty decent waves and the rip holes spotted around the place make for some pretty decent fishing as well. The beach is also just a short walk from all the restaurants, galleries and cafés that make Brighton one of the most popular upmarket suburbs.
This long stretch of safe, sandy bay swimming beaches includes Dendy Street beach, Middle Brighton and Brighton beaches. The area is famous for quaint colourful bathing boxes along the beach set against the spectacular Melbourne city skyline. Extensive foreshore reserves have a barbecue and play facilities. There is windsurfing, yachting and boating and a walking and cycling path.
St Kilda Beach
One of the most popular of the Port Phillip Bay beaches, St Kilda is a wide, sandy beach that is suitable for swimming and a host of other activities. St Kilda Pier is a favourite for promenading and taking in fabulous city skyline views and sunsets. A ferry service operates to Williamstown and Southbank; the marina has extensive boating facilities, including ramps. Nearby reserves have picnic, barbecue and play facilities and there are paths suitable for bicycling, walking and rollerblading.
St Kilda Beach is a hotspot for tourists and locals – like Bondi without the crowds and camera crews. The ocean, while practically wave-free, is great for all water sports, with kite surfers jostling for air space around West Beach and paddle-boarders wobbling hither and thither. The shore is lined with palm trees and a wide boardwalk that attracts cyclists and other wheeled interlopers. The extra bonus with lounging about on St Kilda sand is how close it is to all the trendy cafés and restaurants on Acland Street – and Luna Park, of course.
Port Melbourne Beach
Located just 3.7 kilometres from Crowne Plaza Melbourne, Port Melbourne Beach is perfect for a Bayside day out. It's one of those rare places that capture the beauty of the natural and industrial without looking too cluttered. Best of all, with it being so close to the hotel, last-minute day trips are never an issue.
The beachfront is lined with gastronomic delights, perfect for all taste buds. While not a great beach for surfing, it's extremely popular for swimming, paddle boarding and kitesurfing. Enjoy playing in the clean water as cruise ship goliath's pass by in the near distance.
Station pier offers some fantastic views and photo opportunities, while an array of boutiques and cafes make for great shopping and relaxation. Of course, the star of the attraction is the beach itself. Long stretches of white sand gently lapped by clear blue water makes it one of Melbourne's most popular family beaches.
These sandy, swimming beaches on the bay are close to central Melbourne. With playgrounds as well as walking and bicycle paths, they make up a series of favourite 'top of the bay' beaches. Some areas allow off-leash dog walking and Middle Park is also a popular spot for kitesurfing and beach volleyball.
Just a six-minute drive down the coast will bring you to Elwood Beach, a 1.3-kilometre stretch of sand with calm waters that are perfectly suited to pool-style swimming. Those who prefer to stay dry can take in the scenery – which includes views of the Melbourne CBD, St Kilda Beach, and sometimes the Spirit of Tasmania docked at Port Melbourne – while following the Bayside Trail bike and running track. Family-friendly amenities such as barbecues, picnic tables, playgrounds, grassy fields and cricket nets can all be found nearby, and Point Ormond also offers a good selection of cafes and restaurants for those looking to sit back and unwind.
The best time to visit Elwood Beach is during a warm day in the summer. It is in the course of summertime that this beach becomes one of the prime swimming, fishing, and windsurfing spots.
You can reach the beach by 246, 600, 606, 923, and 922 (number) buses, Sandringham train, and tram.
One of the most breathtakingly beautiful Melbourne beaches and a complete gem of coast has to be Sorrento Beach. It lies between the Bay of Port Phillip and the Straight of Bass, with this location making it the ideal sunset spot for the tourists to flock.
The beach is backed by scenic foreshores, popular jetties are docked before the waterfront, with walking trails making it complete. Sorrento Beach is a total natural extravaganza with an incredible coastline, clear-water rock pools, and an evening visit to the beach makes you experience elegance in its full glory.
It is located at 780 Melbourne Road, Sorrento in Australia’s Victoria and the best time to visit the beach is during the evenings to catch a glimpse of divine sunsets. However, snorkelers frequent the beach during summers when the water is crystal clear.
Known to the locals as ‘Willy Beach’, this relatively small beauty spot is only a stone’s throw away from the city. It’s a popular beach for swimmers, sunbakers and sailors, but it’s the spectacular views that draw people into historic Williamstown. Just a five-minute walk from the train station is Gem Pier, which boasts a clear, unobscured view of the city skyline – beautiful by day and spectacular by night. It’s no wonder Williamstown is such a hotspot on New Year’s Eve, with the fireworks on full display.
This expansive bay swimming beach is located next to a series of excellent reserves. There are opportunities for other water-based leisure activities, as well as nearby barbecue and playground facilities.
An extremely popular stretch of wide, sandy Port Phillip Bay swimming beach that has special zones that exclude boating, power ski and sailboard to protect swimmers. There is also a playground and a walking and cycling path.
Altona Beach is one of the serene beaches of Melbourne where people frequent the most to experience tranquillity and peace. It is a clean beach that showcases yellow soft sand, crystal-clear water, and is home to many cafes, and restaurants that lie along the beach, besides being an excellent picnic spot.
This beach has tree-lined parks, free parking spaces, and is the most pristine suburb of western Melbourne. The beach is fully accessible as it offers access to people of varying abilities and is one of the first beaches that presents beach matting that is ideal for wheelchair-bound visitors.
Lush pines of Norfolk shade the beach that makes the walking trail (part of the coastal trail of Hobson’s Bay) an ideal spot for walking with your pet, while inhaling fresh air.
The best time to visit the beach is during summers as people sunbathe here and indulge in a host of water activities.
A popular bay swimming beach with a special 'no-boat' zone and the opportunity for many water-based recreational activities. Nearby are boating and yachting facilities (including a six-lane boat ramp), jetties, barbecues and playgrounds.
If you wish to breathe the fresh air of the sea, sample innovative Melburnian cuisines and douse up a relaxed Mornington Peninsula alfresco lifestyle then this is the beach you must head to. Summer at the Mornington Peninsula has a fun vibe as you get to rejuvenate and relax at a coastal oasis and natural hot springs.
Along the stunning coastline of Bass Strait, you can take a two-hour long ride on the horse, besides visiting the winery of Crittenden Estate that serves Vermentino, Moscato, saluto, and the premium pinot gris.
Surfing fanatics visiting Melbourne can’t go past Gunnamatta Beach, on the Mornington Peninsula. This exposed beach is three kilometres long, and features rip-dominated surf with waves averaging almost two metres in height.
Although this powerful swell means that swimming isn’t the main drawcard here, the rocky reefs, deep rip holes and gutters of Gunnamatta Beach provide wonderful opportunities for beach and rock fishing.
The vast and rugged landscape also makes a stunning backdrop for those walking along the coast towards Boag Rocks, Cape Schanck, or Fingal. Visitors can find two toilet blocks and two large car parks just off Truemans Road.
The beachside suburb of Hampton is best known for the retail strip of restaurants, clothing stores and boutiques lining Hampton Street. Not far from here, Hampton Beach offers a stretch of pristine sand bordering gentle waters that are ideal for swimming.
Throughout the foreshore reserve, barbecue, playground and picnic facilities are sprinkled between palm trees, landscaped lawns, and a walking and cycling path.
Walk to the southern end of Hampton Beach, where the coastal cliffs offer panoramic views of the bay or follow Hampton’s 17 km arts trail to celebrate the artists who have painted this beautiful coastline over the years.
A safe, sandy bay swimming beach with a popular boating and sailing area. The extensive foreshore reserve has barbecue and playground facilities, and there is also a walking and cycling path.
Experience them all!
From Brighton Beach to St. Kilda and beyond, Melbourne doesn't disappoint when it comes to the beachfront. Whether you are staying for a week or visiting for a weekend each of these beaches is well worth spending some time on.
Why not make the best of both worlds on your next trip to Melbourne. The beautiful beaches, stunning cityscapes, and amazing activities make it perfect for business travellers, couples, families and solo travellers alike.
Relax in the summer sun on calm bay beaches across Melbourne, from the popular swimming spots and shoreside diners at St Kilda to the colourful landmark bathing huts at Brighton.
Melbourne beaches have been deemed unsafe to swim in because of fears recent torrential rain has caused sewage and built-up pollution to stream into Port Phillip. Swimmers are being urged to keep out of the water.
With waves 1.8 metres high on average and 2.5 kilometres of beach to choose from, you're guaranteed good surf here if the winds are up. ... It's a bit of a trek to come from central Melbourne, but with world class surfing in a particularly unspoiled and rugged location; it's completely worth it.