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TRAVEL & LEISURE

The Ten Best Beaches Near Melbourne

Whether you're looking for a quick dip in the bay or an all-day adventure to the surf coast, there are plenty of great places to get in the ocean.
By Libby Curran
December 26, 2017
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The Ten Best Beaches Near Melbourne

Whether you're looking for a quick dip in the bay or an all-day adventure to the surf coast, there are plenty of great places to get in the ocean.
By Libby Curran
December 26, 2017
  shares

The long, lazy days of summer have arrived, bringing with them opportunities galore for sandy beach adventures. It's time to de-stress, recharge and take advantage of some of Melbourne's best coastal destinations. From popular bayside stretches just a quick drive from the city, to secluded coves worth making a day trip for, here's where to get your bum on a beach this summer.

Josie Withers

ST KILDA BEACH

Ever-bustling and never boring, St Kilda Beach is one of Melbourne's most iconic coastal spots, pulling a solid crowd of tourists and locals alike. Ideal for beach trippers after a little more than just sea, sand and sun, its foreshore is peppered with options for eating, drinking and people-watching, and all the buzz of Acland Street lies just a short stroll from the water. Mostly flat and sheltered from ocean swell, it's a prime spot for activities like windsurfing or waterskiing, or those days when you just feel like floating around in a big sunny bathtub.

udeyismail via Flickr

DENDY STREET BEACH, BRIGHTON

Famed for its iconic row of brightly hued bathing boxes, Brighton's Dendy Street Beach is a picture-perfect beachscape parked just 14 kilometres from the CBD. Boasting minimal swell and a wide stretch of sandy foreshore, it attracts an eclectic mix of families, tourists and locals. It's dog-friendly too, with pups allowed on-leash at certain times of morning and night. In between dips, you'll find plenty to explore, eat and drink along the beach's namesake street, while a quick hike up nearby Green's Point will score you some excellent bayside views.

Mark Chew

SORRENTO FRONT BEACH, MORNINGTON PENINSULA

If you don't mind sharing the beach with a hefty crowd of holiday-makers, then the ever-popular Sorrento Beach should be high up on your coastal hit-list. Located by one of the Mornington Peninsula's biggest and most popular tourist towns, this one comes with no shortage of wining, dining and post-swim options. Take a stroll along the iconic 200-metre-long jetty, enjoy a leisurely swim in the protected waters, or try your luck with a spot of sea kayaking.

WILLIAMSTOWN BEACH

For a beach day that doesn't require too much in the way of car time, head 20 minutes southwest of the CBD and land yourself on the sandy shores of Williamstown. This favourite is sparkling clean and patrolled, with minimal waves to wrangle, though a balmy day will likely find you battling the crowds for a prime spot on the sand. When it's time for a feed, there are picnic facilities close to the esplanade, or you can nip up to the main drag to take advantage of one of the area's top-notch fish and chip shops.

Ian Cochrane via Flickr

HALF MOON BAY, BLACK ROCK

An idyllic patch of coastline, located just south of Sandringham, Black Rock's Half Moon Bay deserves a spot on high rotation this beach season. The secluded, crescent-shaped bay stays nice and protected from the weather, so it's perfect for some laidback paddling or an easy jaunt out on the boat. The iconic HMVS Cerberus has been sunk as a breakwater about 220 metres offshore, which means you'll also find plenty of great spots here for snorkelling. For that post-swim feed, treat yourself to a table at Cerberus Beach House, or opt for a classic fish and chips fix from the downstairs beach kiosk.

Lin Padgham via Flickr

WARATAH BAY, SOUTH GIPPSLAND

If you're making a weekend of your beach getaway, you'll find a picture-perfect paradise in Waratah Bay, a 15-kilometre sandy expanse along the South Gippsland coastline. The exposed beach cops all sorts of waves and breaks, making it a popular spot for surfers of all experience levels. It's a fairly chilled-out corner of the world, with the namesake town boasting little more than a caravan park, proving the perfect antidote to city life. While you're there, be sure to take a stroll along the bush fire walking track and revel in some sweeping coastal views.

Robert Blackburn

LORNE BEACH, GREAT OCEAN ROAD

Torn between getting in a great surfing session and playing around on the sand with your pup? Enjoy the best of both worlds, with a trip down to famed surf spot, Lorne. About two hours from Melbourne down the Great Ocean Road, this area's got a beach situation for just about everyone. There's a dog-friendly northern stretch where pooches are allowed off-leash at all times, while the swimming beach further south sits just metres from the town's main splay of cafes, restaurants and shops. What's more, there's a variety of surf breaks up and down the coast, so you'll easily find a spot to suit your skill level.

Russell Street via Flickr

FLINDERS BEACH, MORNINGTON PENINSULA

A white sandy strip along the bottom of the Mornington Peninsula, Kennon Cove in Flinders is guaranteed to charm your socks off with its quaint, seaside feel. Here, you can do it all — get some air with a dive off the old-school pier, explore the assortment of critter-filled rock pools, enjoy a spot of snorkelling through the reefs, or take to the calm waters for a cruisy swimming session. There are loads of great spots here to fish from, or you can leave dinner to the professionals and buy ocean-fresh mussels directly from the fishermen at the pier.

Robert Blackburn

ANGLESEA BEACH, GREAT OCEAN ROAD

A popular pit-stop along the Great Ocean Road, the small surf town of Anglesea Beach feels far removed from the city hustle and bustle, though you can knock over the journey in an hour and a half by car. The adjacent river mouth makes for an excellent fishing spot, while the easy conditions offshore prove popular with beginner surfers. It's fairly safe and patrolled throughout the summer and the town centre plays host to a tidy array of restaurants, shops and cafes, located just a short stroll from the sand.

Nick Carson via Flickr

SOMERS BEACH, MORNINGTON PENINSULA

A holiday family favourite, Somers is a picturesque beach spot stretching three kilometres along the Mornington Peninsula's southeast edge. It's a little more low-key than its Portsea and Sorrento counterparts, with sleepier surrounds and a swell that's usually pretty kid-friendly. While there's not a whole lot in the way of nearby food and drink options, it's gold if you fancy catching a feed of your own, with great fishing off the beach or the surrounding rocks during high tide. Home to the Somers Yacht Club, this one's also a popular sailing destination. Keep your eyes peeled and you'll likely spot a frolicking dolphin or two.

Published on December 26, 2017 by Libby Curran

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