Australia's beaches are renouned the world over. The beaches between Melbourne and Sydney are some of the most visited, photgraphed, surfed and enjoyed on the planet. Sydney harbour is a playground of famous coves and sandy retreats and Melbourne has its own array of places to gain respite and relax.
Always look for life guards and if possible swim between the flags.
Never enter the water if you cannot swim or if conditions are unfavourable.
Look for turbulence and rips.
This page and its contents are a guide only.
, before crossing the road and settling on the sand.
Follow the easy 40 minute coastal walk from Bondi Beach to arrive at
its quieter sister Bronte. The beach can pick up plenty of swell, making
it popular among surfers, while swimmers generally head to the famous
rock pool at the south side of the beach. There’s a large grassy area
with excellent barbecue and picnic facilities. If you’d prefer someone
else do the cooking, walk up to
, celebrated for its innovative, local cuisine.
Gordons Bay is a little oasis tucked between Clovelly and Coogee
beaches, and is home to a 500 metre (1,640 foot) underwater nature
trail, guiding divers past reefs, sand flats and kelp forests. The best
lounging positions are up on the rocks, but you’ll have to get here
early, this place gets packed during summer. Post swim, walk around the
corner from Gordons Bay to takeaway burger joint Out of the Blue on
Clovelly Road, where the fish burger is legendary.
Hop on a ferry from Circular Quay to the seaside suburb of Manly,
where you can swim in the ocean or tranquil harbour. Stroll from the
Manly surf club along Marine Parade to access tiny Shelly Beach, a
common spot for snorkelling. Manly also has great shops, a weekend arts
and craft market and a dining scene that spans cheerful takeaway joints,
small bars, restaurants and breweries. Sit down to the “Grande Platter”
of fresh seafood at Manly Wine.
From Manly, local buses take you to the northern beaches of Curl
Curl, Dee Why, Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport and Avalon – all famous for
their laidback lifestyle and surf culture. Eventually you'll arrive at
a long strip of sand edging onto a golf course, lush bushland and
dunes. The southern end of the beach is more protected for swimming, and
offers an Olympic-sized ocean pool with change rooms. No trip to Palm
Beach would be complete without breakfast on the waterfront timber deck
of The Boathouse, before a walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
Located on Sydney’s scenic north shore, Balmoral Beach boasts gentle
currents and enclosed swimming areas, making it a popular spot for
families. Take a lesson in stand up paddle boarding or hire a kayak to
explore the crystal clear waters. There’s a string of cafés to enjoy
lunch afterwards: try
, overlooking Middle Harbour.
Reach Nielsen Park via the
, a spectacular trail that winds
its way along Sydney’s eastern harbour beaches. Despite being busy
year-round, the beach still feels secluded with plenty of space to roll
out your towel. There are three large, shaded picnic areas, as well as a
café for afternoon treats. A bus also runs from Town Hall station
directly to Nielsen Park.
Watsons Bay is Australia's oldest fishing village at the southern
entrance to Sydney Harbour. You can catch the ferry here from Circular
Quay or take the cliff-hugging drive past the mansions of Vaucluse. Take
a dip in the enclosed Watsons Bay Baths, with its beautiful views
across the harbour, then walk up to The Gap and Macquarie Lighthouse.
Afterwards eat fish and chips from Sydney's famous Doyle’s Restaurant or
enjoy drinks in the buzzy beer garden of
, where you can also stay the night.
A five minute walk from Watsons Bay ferry wharf lies Camp Cove, a
small, family-friendly beach known for its calm waters and millionaire
views. There isn’t much shade here, so pack a beach umbrella if you plan
on staying for the day. Camp Cove is often used as a training spot for
divers, and there are good opportunities for snorkelling straight off
the beach. Cold drinks and snacks are available from the kiosk.
Starting the list with Melbourne’s most famous beach, the bayside
suburb of St Kilda is a hotspot for visitors and is only 6 kms away from
the city centre. Famous for its bustling pier, happening food scene and
Luna Park attraction, bustling St Kilda is busy all year round. The
beach itself is a popular spot for swimming or laying out under the sun.
St. Kilda Beach boardwalk in Melbourne
A 20 minute drive out of Melbourne’s CBD, Elwood Beach is a major
family attraction. The beach’s sandy bay has a range of facilities to
fill the day including BBQs, picnics and lawn playgrounds. Elwood’s no
boating zone creates safe waters for swimming enthusiasts. For those
after more activity, there are also walking and cycling paths around the
A 40 minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD and named after its crescent
shape, Half Moon Bay is a favourite for boating enthusiasts. Head south
of the coastline to enjoy deep-water swimming zones or head to the bay’s
long pier to spend the day fishing.
No best beaches in Melbourne list would be complete without
mentioning the picturesque Brighton Beach, famous for the 82 iconic
bathing boxes adorning its seaside. A 30 minute drive from Melbourne’s
CBD, the colourful beach is not only a great spot for photographic
novelty, it also features a 6 km coastline of pristine white sands. A
tourist favourite, this hotspot is teeming with a range of restaurants
and retail stores.
Brighton Beach in Melbourne.
As the name suggests, Mothers Beach is a favourite amongst locals
because of its family friendly nature and safe shallow waters. An hours
drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Mothers Beach is sheltered by towering
cypress trees and has a number of BBQ and picnic facilities that make
for a great day out with the family.
Williamstown beach is a 20 minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD and is
best known for the attractive commercial precinct that sits by its
coastline. Time your visit with one of the monthly waterside craft
markets and enjoy a range of diverse stalls in the historic setting of
Nelson’s Place. Made up of three sides of water, Williamstown is the
perfect beach spot for both deep water swimmers and those who prefer to
paddle in the shallows.
View of Melbourne CBD from Williamstown. Source: Anne Beaumont.
90 minutes out of Melbourne’s CBD, Sorrento beach is well worth the
trip. The gorgeous coastline has popular jetties, a great walking track
to take in the location’s natural beauty and a number of clear water
Sorrento Beach about an hour from Melbourne
A 25 minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Altona beach is a great spot
if you are after a more quiet day at the beach. Once, Altona’s waters
were famous for the surprising amount of seaweed it was home to. Today,
with daily cleaning, Altona’s waters are cleaner than ever and make for
an impressive swimming spot. A section of the beach is specifically for
kite-surfing, which makes for great viewing whilst you soak in some
rays. For sustenance during the day a great selection of restaurants and
cafes are available at Altona Village.
An hour away from Melbourne’s CBD, the Mornington Peninsula is the
perfect escape for your next holiday. With an obvious nod to European
coastal villages, Mornington is a boutique coastal town with a renowned
regional gallery, sidewalk cafes and a number of colourful bathing
boxes. With heritage architecture steeping in historical significance,
the seaside town is also home to Victoria’s oldest courthouse. With
numerous beaches, both sheltered and open seas, the coastal town is a
popular destination for long weekends and short holidays – so be sure to
book your Mornington accommodation early.
The beach-side suburb of Hampton is best known for the strip of
retail stores sitting on the thoroughfare of Hampton street. A 30 minute
drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Hampton offers safe waters ideal for
swimming along a wide stretch of sandy beach. Take a stroll on Hampton’s
17 km arts trail and celebrate the lives and artworks of notable
Australian artists who have painted the beach’s coastline over a number
of year. Explore the shores and make your way to the beach’s cliff
points and take in stunning panoramic views.
From family-friendly waters to fishing and boating havens, there is no shortage of options during your next trip to Melbourne when it comes to immersing yourself in Australia’s favourite sun-drenched past time.
Open ocean swimming
Swimming with the dolphins, seals and fish
Adventure, Attraction, Fitness and Sport, Outdoors
Drive from Sydney to Melbourne and Melbourne to Sydney for a memorable roadtrip. Find activities and accommodation along the coast and inland. Meet the wildlife, enjoy the food and wine and stay at some wonderful, welcoming cottages, guesthouses, camp grounds and motels. Plan your holiday now.