I’ve been living in Victoria for nearly three years now and one of the things I’ve loved most about it has been being close to the coast, a big difference to living in the middle of England where I grew up.
Victoria has an impressive collection of different types of beaches. From the iconic surfer’s paradise of Bells Beach to the 94km monster of 90 Mile Beach. We have a beach only accessed via 10km hike at Sealers Cove to penguins right in the city at St Kilda. If you like the golden sands, you’ll find something for you right here.
In this post, I teamed up with travel writers from around the globe who reflect on their favourite beach in Victoria and offer some insight into why they love it so much.
Loch Ard Gorge
By Chris Fry, The Aquarius Traveller
If you are searching for fantastic beaches in Victoria, then you can’t go past the Great Ocean Road and Loch Ard Gorge. This little beachside cove was named after a shipwreck that ran aground in 1978 on the southern coast of Australia.
Just imagine the clear, turquoise water, a natural yellow-coloured cliff face, and the great Australian bushland forming the bay. Thousands of tourists visit this beach cove every week to admire the sites, take in a refreshing swim, or just relax on the beach.
You can visit the beach all year round, but it tends to be a bit colder from June to September (in the winter months). The swells can get powerful, so best to check the tides and weather to swim at a calmer time. The gorge itself is perfect for photographers and escaping the city life, so well worth stopping while seeing the rest of the Great Ocean Road sites.
If you’re into hiking, then there are several short walking tracks surrounding the gorge, which have their own unique views. As well as a wooden staircase that comfortably leads down to the beach. Not to mention, it’s always a great spot to take a blanket and curl up with your partner while watching the waves roll in.
St Kilda Beach
By Raksha Prasad of SoloPassport.com
Just 6 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD is the city’s most famous and vibrant beach, the St Kilda beach. There are frequent trams that connect Melbourne CBD and St Kilda beach. St Kilda beach is popular with the locals as it has many things to do and is a great hangout spot over the weekends.
Looking for the best places to stay in Melbourne’s CBD?
Check out 5 of the best here
The suburb of St Kilda welcomes visitors with the huge entrance to Luna Park, a theme park that dates to 1912. The lane connecting the theme park and the beach has plenty of restaurants and cafes with breathtaking views of the ocean.
St Kilda boardwalk along the beach has palm trees lined up and sandy beaches with blue waters which are known for spectacular sunsets. The beach hosts Sunday markets where local artists sell a variety of handmade artwork and items.
The reason why I love St Kilda beach is that it is also home to the cute Little Penguins. The Little Penguins, also known as Fairy penguins, are found only in the southern part of Australia and New Zealand. St Kilda is a place where one can see these penguins, for free in the wild, returning to their nest after sunset.
by Tammy Thurman of The Travelling Tam
Wilsons Promontory National Park is well known for its stunning beaches and crystal clear waters. However, none are more prized than the stunning Sealers Cove beach located to the east of Victoria’s famous Marine Park.
Accessed only by a 10.3km, three-hour hike as part of a day trip, or as stop number one on a three day and two night hike on the Southern Prom Circuit, you can be assured that Sealers Cove is as unspoilt, wild and serene as beaches get.
See my COMPLETE VICTORIA TRAVEL GUIDE here
The wide, spectacular golden bay is sheltered by the brisk coastal winds due to the depth of the cove within the undulating mountains, which is ideal considering the close proximity to the notoriously blustery Bass Strait!
The Sealer Cove camping area also offers a fantastically scenic spot to pitch your tent whilst experiencing one of the top hikes in Australia which starts and finishes at the Telegraph Saddle car park.
So forget about overcrowding, litter, and disappointing, average backdrops – Sealers Cove at Wilson’s Prom is a hidden coastal wilderness you should absolutely consider seeking out on your next hike in Victoria if you’re after something a little bit special.
Stingray Bay Warrnambool
by Curious Campers
Stingray Bay in Warrnambool might not be the biggest beach in the area but it is a beautiful place. Located on Viaduct Road near the breakwater, Stingray Bay is at the mouth of the Merri River and is protected from the ocean by nearby Merri and Middle islands. With the exposed sand bars at low tide, the ocean crashing into the islands and the river it is a spectacular setting.
With the protection of the islands, Stingray Bay is a safe place to swim although if you venture out too far beware of currents closer to the islands. There is parking and toilets right next to the beach with more parking at the breakwater.
From Stingray Bay you can walk across Merri Bridge and explore the Warrnambool Coastal Reserve and get some great views of the coastline. The breakwater, only a couple of minutes away, is also a fun place if there are big waves around.
The nearby islands are home to Fairy penguins which were made famous by the movie Oddball about a Maremma dog that guards the penguins. At low tide you can walk to the islands but going onto them is prohibited to protect the penguin colony.
Eastern Beach, Geelong
By Audrey Chalmers from See Geelong
Victoria is home to some of the world’s best surf beaches, but summer fun and safe swimming you can’t go past Eastern Beach in Geelong.
Located at the eastern end of the waterfront Eastern Beach has everything you could possibly want for a day out at the beach. There are diving boards, water features, a toddler’s pool, lush lawns perfect for picnics and barbecues, a playground, as well as a huge ferris wheel.
It’s an amazing space for kids to burn off energy and they spend hours swimming, diving, and jumping into the gorgeous Corio Bay. While adults appreciate the beautiful art deco pavilion and café where they can relax with a cold drink while soaking up the glorious bay views.
A highlight of Eastern Beach is the iconic 200-metre-long promenade. Built in 1939 and restored in the 1990s, the wooden double platform includes a shark-proof barrier that encloses 8 ½ acres of salty seawater. So, swimmers can enjoy themselves with peace of mind!
Port Fairy Beach
by Ben Reeve of The Sabbatical Guide (me!)
The wonderful small town of Port Fairy actually has two beaches (read all about our adventures in port Fairy here) a 6km beach lining the inside of a banana-shaped bay facing east and a smaller beach below the town facing south.
East Beach is generally the busier, with the Life Saving Club patrolling here in the summer months looking after the swimmers and surfers. The most famous spot on the beach is Oigles, where the waves break over an old shipwreck – perfect for surfing.
To the south of the town is, um, you guessed it South Beach! This is the beach favoured by swimmers as it is protected at each end by basalt reefs,
By Disha Smith of Disha Discovers
One of the best beaches in Victoria is Fairhaven Beach. It’s the perfect day trip from Melbourne as it’s only an hour and a half’s drive from there. It’s also a must-stop along the Great Ocean Road. In fact, what makes it so special is that it’s the longest stretch of beach along this route. It spans six kilometres east to west.
This beach is loved by visitors because it’s pristine and offers a great spot for surfing and swimming. It’s actually a surfer’s paradise because the waves average 1.5 meters. Plus, visitors can enjoy a long and lovely stroll along the ocean. Also, there are a few coastal walking trails around the beach. It’s also perfect for visitors who want to get away from the busy neighbouring Aireys Inlet.
Make sure you visit the far Eastern part of the beach so you can see the quintessential Split Point Lighthouse. Another cool landmark to check out near Fairhaven Beach is the Pole House. It’s a whimsical, modern-style home that overlooks the beach.
After you’re finished with your beach day, head over to the Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club. You can enjoy a cocktail and a meal from Sunset Lounge.
by Shireen Ahmed of The Happy Day Travels
Not only is Brighton Beach one of the best beaches in Victoria but is absolutely one of the best things you can do in and near Melbourne, the capital of Victoria. When you picture Melbourne, or you see Melbourne in any type of media, you’ll see Flinders St Train Station and colourful beach huts. Well, those beach huts are Brighton Bathing Boxes and can be found at Brighton Beach making it a special place to visit.
At Brighton Beach, you can cycle the Beach Road route, go paragliding, the usual beach activities like swimming and getting ice cream and of course, marvel at the bathing boxes and get an iconic Melbourne picture next to the one with the Australian flag.
The walk along the boxes is enjoyable but not strenuous as there are 82 huts altogether (and they are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars)! It’s well worth a visit to this iconic Victoria beach. You can get to the beach by car with on-site parking, the train to Brighton Beach Railway Station or the number 216 or 219 bus from Melbourne CBD which is about 30 minutes away. Tip: The beach is also known as Dendy Street Beach if you get confused.
by Chontelle Bonfiglio of Mum’s Little Explorers
Phillip Island has many beautiful beaches, but Cowes is one of the most popular, especially for families because of its shallow high tide.
Located in the centre of the north shore, Cowes is the biggest town on the island. The beach is well known for its large lawn areas, gorgeous ocean views, and safe swimming areas.
The Esplanade is thriving in the Summertime with tourists from all over the world. The foreshore provides lots of shaded areas, which makes it perfect for a day out, picnic or BBQ, though there are also plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby too.
At the beach is the Cowes Jetty, where you can find a range of different boat tours.
While it isn’t a surf beach, it is popular for fishing and swimming, and you will often see visitors jumping off the peer into the crystal-clear waters.
To get to Phillip Island, you can either drive over the bridge from the Mornington Peninsula, or there is a ferry service for those who don’t have a car.
If you are visiting Phillip Island, make sure to check out the Penguin Parade and the seal colony, some of Melbourne’s best attractions.
by Ben Reeve of The Sabbatical Guide (yep, me again)
It would be remiss of me to publish a list of the best beaches in Victoria without including the beach in my hometown of Williamstown.
This is as close to beach perfection as it gets. It stays (fairly) quiet compared to its more famous cousins on the other side of the bay, it is sheltered in a little cove making it shallow and safe for swimming and it also has a wonderful kiosk as the end serving everything from coffee to authentic Italian desserts (see my favourite cafes in Williamstown here).
I run past Williamstown beach two or three times a week and one of my favourite things here is that there are often pelicans trying to scoop fish in the water or perched up in the old palm trees at the far end of the Bach by the swimming club.
by Cass Bell of Cassie The Hag.
Lorne Beach is a beautiful sandy beach, wonderful for getaways from Melbourne or a family-friendly day trip. Stretches of the beach are suitable for swimming, and others for surfing. Surfboard rentals and lessons are popular here. To find a quiet spot, walk further along the beach to chill out in your own little spot.
At 140 years old, Lorne Pier is worth a stroll – keep your eye out for whales. There are many places to grab fish and chips too – from the fish restaurant next to the pier, or from smaller shacks alongside the beach area. Some of the cafes have great vegan options too. There are picnic tables and free gas BBQs nearby too.
With amazing hiking nearby, including alongside the beautiful Erskine Falls and Teddy’s Lookout, the beach is also the best way to unwind after some local outdoor activities. I even spotted wild koalas and wallabies from the nearby forest walks.
Lorne Beach itself is super beautiful and refreshing – the perfect escape for anyone coming from the big city – and it’s a classic, sandy stretch of beach that truly invites you to relax for a little while.
by Sharyn McCullum of Live, Work, Play, Australia
McRae Beach, only 90km south-east of Melbourne on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is a great beach to visit. Wedged between the more popular Rosebud and Dromana Beaches along the Port Phillip Bay foreshore, you could call it a quiet achiever. You see, the beaches run into each other but you will know you are at McCrae because of the McCrae Lighthouse. It sits prominently on the foreshore and was built to mark the turning point for the ships navigating the channels between Port Phillip Heads and Melbourne – both of which you can see in the distance if it is a clear day.
McCrae Beach is a bay beach and offers safe swimming. Waves appear occasionally – mostly from the boats using Port Phillip Bay – making it a great beach for all ages. Feeling active, bring your kayak, stand up board or launch your boat at the nearby boat launch or maybe join the McRae Yacht Club and learn to sail. You can visit McCrae anytime – during summer when the crowds explode or during colder months and have the beach to yourself.
McCrae Beach has beach boxes lining it and just behind them is a great park with play equipment for the kids, clean facilities and a bike/walking track. This foreshore park forms part of the 28km Bay Trail for cyclists and walkers which runs along the coastline from Portsea to Safety Beach.
If you get tired of the beach or just need a drink or something to eat, cross Point Nepean Road and there you will find a number of coffee shops and restaurants. My favourites – Blue Bay Café and Kobi Jacks.
McCrae Beach has a lot to offer and is a great beach on the Mornington Peninsula that is well worth a visit.
by Vicki Garside of GreatOceanRoadGuide.com
Bells Beach, close to the seaside town of Torquay and at the start of the Great Ocean Road on Victoria’s southern coast, is one of the most famous beaches in Australia. It’s the undisputed home of Australian Surfing, its big waves and epic swell have featured in the movie, Point Break (and its remake!), and it is where the Australian Stage of Rip Curl Pro is held each year.
To get here, it’s an approximately 90-minute drive from Melbourne and basing yourself in Torquay for a couple of days will let you enjoy everything the Surf Coast has to offer. Watching the surfers at Bells Beach is always entertaining – or maybe if you are feeling brave (and not bothered about the cold!) you could give it a go yourself. Although, it is definitely not a swell for beginners!
Bells Beach is an iconic part of Australia one that is well worth adding to your ‘beaches to visit’ list while you are exploring the state the Victoria.
90 Mile Beach
by Mark Wild from Travels in Gippsland
The 90 Mile Beach is located on the Gippsland Coast. The beach is just over 151 kilometres (94 mi) in length, running north-eastward from near Port Albert to the entrance at Lakes Entrance.
There are plenty of locations along this stretch of coastline where you will have white sands and waters to yourself. Towns like Loch Sport and Lakes Entrance draw tourists in the warm months who love fishing and swimming.
The 90 Mile Beach at Seaspray is known for its shark fishing, on any given day you will find the beach lined with people casting a line. During the winter months, you might see migrating whales swimming along the coastline. For those who love camping, you can find free camping spots in the sand dunes between Seaspray and Golden Beach.
The Gippsland Lakes system runs parallel to the 90 Mile Beach allowing visitors to experience both the waves of the ocean and the waters of the lakes for fishing, boating and having fun. The 90 Mile Beach is located 2.5 hours from Melbourne.