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Melbourne’s best beaches

Elisa Scarton

Thu Jan 19 2012

Brighton Beach bathing boxes, Melbourne, Australia. Best beaches in Melbourne.

WE’VE still got more than a month of summer left so, if you haven’t yet, get outdoors!

Sure you could spend the next month shopping or getting ready for the new uni year (just joking) but everyone knows there is no better place to enjoy an Australian summer than at the beach.

With that in mind, here are the city’s best three. And guess what? Overcrowded and slightly icky St Kilda Beach is not one of them!

1. Brighton Beach

Live it up with the well-to-do Melburnians and spend the day in Brighton. This inner-city suburb is known for its gorgeous stretches of sandy beaches and cute rainbow-coloured bathing boxes.

One of the perks of Brighton Beach, other than the incredible mansions, is that you can see the Melbourne skyline from the water, which makes it the closest thing to swimming in the city without hoping into the Yarra River.

When you’ve had your fill of sun and sand, head over to The Baths Cafe. Most of the restaurants in this upmarket suburb can be prohibitively expensive, but The Baths Cafe is renowned for its affordable breakfasts and lunches, like a crispy pork and prawn salad for $17.

How to get here: You can either catch a train to Brighton Beach station, which is on the Sandringham line, or catch the 216 or 219 bus, both of which run right through the CBD.

2. Mill Park Beach (South Melbourne Beach)

A seriously popular residential beach, Mill Park is home to the picturesque Kerford Road Pier, great for jumping off of, as long as you keep an eye out for the anglers.

The beach extends west into the suburbs of Albert Park and Port Melbourne, and the whole stretch of sand is often referred to by Melburnians as South Melbourne Beach.

The boardwalk that runs along the beach is also a favourite with sun lovers, so if you have a bike or just happen to be retro and own a pair of roller skates, don’t forget to bring them.

The only downside to Middle Park Beach is that you sometimes have to share the water with the Spirit of Tasmania cruise liner, which gets unsettlingly close as it travels through nearby shipping channels and out into the bay.

When the sun sets on the beach, don’t head for home straight away. The Prince Alfred Hotel has a menu of slightly pricey, but very adventurous cocktails, starting at $16.

How to get here: Catch tram 109 from Collins St in the CBD.

3. Mordialloc Beach

While this beach is some distance from the CBD, it’s still close enough for you to get there and back in an afternoon, and it’s definitely worth the trip.

Mordialloc Beach is where I always go in the summer time. It has a fantastic, almost artsy vibe about it and you don’t have to elbow anyone in the face for space, no matter how hot the day is.

If you have a volleyball net, soccer ball or cricket set, bring it along. Some beaches have a no ball games policy on the sand, but at Mordialloc, there’s plenty of space for you to show off your athletic prowess.

There’s just one thing: it’s best to be a fan of dance music if you want to swim here. Mordialloc is where Melbourne’s young and hip come to frolic, or more precisely, show off their fake tans. And they love to bring their huge stereos with them to play the latest tunes.

While you’re in Mordialloc, make sure you get yourself some delicious strawberry cheesecake. The Cheesecake Shop is a Melbourne institution and Mordialloc’s one has a cult following. You can get a quarter cheesecake for $7.95

How to get there: Mordialloc is 25km from the CBD, and surprisingly easy to get to. Just catch a train on the Frankston line from the CBD, or on the Cranbourne or Pakenam lines, changing at Caulfield.

Don’t agree with these top three? Tell us where your favourite Melbourne beach is in the comment box below!