Ah Australia, the land downunder with sun, sea and surf. There’s no denying it; Australia showcases some of the world’s best beaches. Cable Beach in Broome, Cottesloe in Perth, Byron Bay in New South Wales, Fraser Island in Queensland, Sydney’s infamous Bondi; there’s even Surfer’s Paradise in the Gold Coast – it really couldn’t be clearer. A haven for sun seekers and surfers alike, Australia has been attracting the crowds to its sun-soaked shores for years. But it’s not just these sunny icons that deliver the beach beauty that’s promised in the guidebooks.
There’s a forgotten contender in the search for Australia’s best beaches – the state of Victoria. The southernmost state of mainland Oz, Victoria also offers some stunning shorelines. True, it may not get the all-year-round heat promised by the tropics of Queensland and calm skies of Perth, but come in the warmest months (November to February) and the sands of Victoria will please even the biggest beach snobs.
Head just three and a half hours south-east of state capital Melbourne and you’ll hit Gippsland, home to Australia’s 90 Mile Beach, where even the most private bather can find a nook of their own. A little further west towards Melbourne you’ll find Wilsons Promontory, a nature reserve with marine and coastal fauna to rival the northern tropics. Not only will these unspoiled beaches offer pure sands and scenes to marvel, but also tranquility that tourist drawcards link Manly, Airlie and Scarborough will never know again.
Closer to Melbourne still, the Mornington Peninsula offers beaches on both sides to cater for all tastes. Surfy Shoreham and Merricks on the east side of the peninsula give you rugged waves and rustic beach settings, while the west side has Safety Beach, Rosebud and Dromana, all offering calm shallow waters perfect for families, water sports and swimming. Just south of the peninsular is Phillip Island, home to the largest Little Penguin colony in the world making it a favourite for both families and backpackers (at night you can watch the penguins come on shore).
Head into the city of Melbourne and, while the seas aren’t as inviting as those in Victoria’s sister states, from the suburb of Port Melbourne heading east you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the refreshing seaside bays you’ll find dotted along the coast.
Then there’s the jewel in the crown, the coastline that Victoria is famous for, the road (and the beaches that line it), that any respected road-tripping traveller dreams of: The Great Ocean Road.
One of most scenic coastal roads in the world, The Great Ocean Road passes some renowned beach spots. Bells Beach, just past Torquay, is famed for its role in movies and surf competitions, while neighbouring Point Addis is a gateway to the areas marine national park and Lorne (a little further west) offers the perfect setting for a beach holiday. Heading further west still you’ll find secluded coves and bays for miles that offer refreshing waters and private sands. If you make it to Apollo Bay you’ll be greeted by the site of the famous Twelve Apostles, and if it’s the surf you are chasing then head to Port Fairy and find out what the fuss is about.
Whether a beach bum or an adventure seeker, Victoria’s beaches certainly deliver. With holiday houses strewn throughout Victoria’s coast and a number of bus tours running from Melbourne, a towel, a sun hat and your favourite tunes are pretty much all you need to enjoy what’s on offer.
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