Melbourne’s city beaches often get a bit of a bad rap, and – I hate to say it – I can kind of see why! Versus sister city Sydney, with its endless choice of golden sands and crystal clear water on your front doorstep, Melbourne has always happily owned the labels of cool, coffee and culture instead.
That said, Melbourne’s city beaches are still DEFINITELY worth a visit! There’s St. Kilda and Elwood to explore, as well as the lovely inland suburbs that flank them such as Windsor and Prahran.
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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
WINDSOR | is a really cool spot for eating out or an evening drink. There’s a surprisingly big cluster of options all nestled on the high street. It’s much more edgy than Chapel Street but not as hipster as Collingwood. A couple of favourites were Tokyo Tina and Hawker Hall for dinner (both asian fusion), Uncommon for coffee, and Borsch, Vodka & Tears for cocktails.
PRAHRAN MARKET | Melbourne has a lot of decent food and crafts markets, and this is up there as one of the best. Open every day except Mondays and Wednesdays, it’s jam packed with fresh fruit and veggies. There’s also a separate section that hosts food stands serving up plenty of lunch time options.
ST. KILDA | I’m not St. Kilda’s number 1 fan, however I do concede that you probably should visit this beach side suburb whilst you are in Melbourne! The pier is really very pretty and I love the boardwalk. I’m just not as fond of the slightly trashy tourist crowd and most of the high street chains along Acland Street: the main thoroughfare.
Also check out: famous Luna Park, if only for the photos.
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
ELWOOD BEACH | is the next city beach directly south of St. Kilda. You should definitely make a point of walking further around the headline from St. Kilda as it’s really not very far. This beach is much prettier, the little suburb of Elwood has some nice cafes, and the boardwalk continues for those who want to keep fit.
GARDINER AND FIELD | I didn’t get to know Armadale all that well, but what I did see of it I liked. My boyfriend was working as the chef at this local cafe so I popped in a couple of times. Lovely spot if you happen to be in the area.
CHAPEL STREET | is an iconic street in Melbourne and great if you’re a clothes shopping fiend. Which I’m not. Another good option to visit if you’re checking out the area around Melbourne’s city beaches. There’s certainly more money in this area and you’ll find a host of designer stores as well as regular brands like Sportsgirl. There’s a big cinema and plenty of places to eat.
3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:
ST. KILDA FESTIVAL | fair play to the organisers for making this huge festival absolutely free to everyone. This fact is great and the idea of a massive street party sounds fantastic. It felt however a bit more like a giant carnival than a music festival: most frustratingly there was no outdoor drinking due to age restrictions. Such a shame at the height of summer! One for the teens I think?
SWIMMING | Melbourne’s city beaches are really not a patch on Sydney’s. Unfortunately, with being in such close proximity to the working port, the faint smell (perhaps imaginary?!) coming off the water isn’t that appealing. Definitely stroll or cycle the boardwalk at St. Kilda and if you want a swim, catch the train to Mordialloc or further down the Mornington Peninsula.
THE ESPY | sad times. This iconic St. Kilda pub apparently closed for renovations, but is now struggling to get planning permission to re-open with a new roof terrace. It wasn’t open when we visited in Summer 2015/16… watch this space a guess.
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
BALACLAVA | with no real reason why, I had it in my head that I really wanted to check out this suburb of Melbourne – and never did. I heard good things about it from friends, such as that it’s where they’d live if they moved again. If you ever make it, let me know 😉
AND KNOW THIS: Luna Park at St. Kilda – one of Melbourne’s city beaches – probably offers one of the most unique jobs in Australia, working as a Brakesman on the oldest continuously operating roller coaster in the world since 1911.