Most people visit Melbourne for a cultural holiday, or a shopping holiday, or a foodie holiday. But did you know Melbourne can also be a beach holiday destination. No I’m serious.
When I first moved to Australia I lived in Brisbane. Queensland is famous for it’s beaches, but Brisbane, it’s capital doesn’t have any easily accessible beaches. Melbourne on the other hand, which is known for it’s wild winter weather, can not be beat on a nice summers day.
This 8 kilometre walk will take you past a handful of Melbourne’s best beaches, some of it’s most iconic sites, and will offer up some great beach and city panoramas.
Middle Brighton Baths
Middle Brighton beach, just south of the popular and crowded St Kilda beach, is situated in a sheltered bay and is home to the iconic Middle Brighton beach houses. To get here you can take a train from the city on the Sandringham line to the Middle Brighton railway station. From there it is a short walk to the coast and Middle Brighton beach.
The beach here is one of our favourites in Melbourne. The sheltered beach means that there is very little surf, which is perfect for our toddler to run and play in. The beach is incredibly long, and all along the stretch of soft sand are brightly coloured beach houses. 82 brightly coloured beach houses to be precise.
The beach houses date to the mid 19th century and were used by modest Victorian bathers to change in. The beach houses are now heritage protected and love to pose for holiday snaps.
Once you are finished swimming, splashing and playing on the beach, start walking south. You can walk along the beach, or you can follow the footpath along the headland (which is what we had to do as we were walking with a pram).
Brighton Beach Gardens
The beach gardens are not so much a garden, but an impressive view point. Look back over Brighton Beach to the impressive city-scape in the distance. This shady little park area is a great place for a picnic or a short break from walking.
From here continue south. There are at least a half dozen of different little beaches and coves between the Brighton Beach Gardens and the start of the Coastal Art Trail at Picnic Point. At one point the beaches are separated by a long expanse of trail where you can walk along a sea wall while the ocean laps at the stones beneath your feet. Even during a hot summer day in Melbourne, the sea breezes will keep you comfortable as you look down into the cool, clear waters below.
Many of the small beaches along here are almost deserted.
Coastal Art Trail
As you make your way towards Picnic Point and beyond to Half Moon Bay beach you will notice a bunch of informational placards along the way. Many of these seaside spots were beloved subjects for some of the great artists in Australia’s past. As you make your way along the coast you can stop and see a photo of the artists painting, learn about their life, all while standing in front of the exact same vista that was the subject of their painting. It’s amazing how little some of these beautiful ocean vistas have changed over the years.
Picnic Point is a good stopping point for a break. There is a kiosk and a cafe here as well as a bunch of other facilities.
The walk from Picnic Point to Half Moon Bay beach is difficult to do with a stroller. The paved path will sometimes disappear into the sands of the beach, and sets of stairs connect some of the beaches and coves. We opted to walk along beach road which still provided some great vistas.
As you get closer and closer to Half Moon Bay Beach the beaches become more and more busy.
Half Moon Bay Beach
Half Moon Bay Beach was the busiest beach that we visited on our hike, but if you crave a little more peace you can escape some of the crowds at Black Rock Beach just to the south. Just offshore from the beach the HMVS Cerberus, a rare early battleship is sunk. This makes it a great place for snorkelling. Treat yourself to some fish and chips at the local kiosk and congratulate yourself on a good day of hiking.
To get back to the city you can catch a train at the Sandringham Railway station. There is also a great bus network available as well.