MELBOURNE’S BEACH SUBURB
Just a short distance from Melbourne’s city centre, you will find the gorgeous beachside suburb of St Kilda, which has a spectacular stretch of golden beach. Yes a city beach! How many big cities have a beach only a few kilometres from the central business district? Not many.
St Kilda is a historic suburb that has blended old world charm with a bohemian feel, and has luxury entertainment venues with a thriving beach culture as well.
You will be enthralled to find a theme park, numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, live shows, shops, an indoor pool, parks, and a marvellous pier.
It happens to be one of my favourite areas of Melbourne to hang out with friends on the weekends.
The main streets here are Acland Street and Fitzroy Street, buzzing with life.
St Kilda also has a bit of a shady past and plenty of eccentric people, but that all adds to the appeal and character of the neighbourhood.
St Kilda Beach
Being Melbourne’s closest beach, locals swarm here on hot Summer days to bathe and enjoy the beach lifestyle. You can partake in various water sports, like boating, paddle boarding and kitesurfing.
In fact, the area draws people all year round, who enjoy the panoramic views whilst dining and socialising by the waters of Port Philip Bay.
A gorgeous boardwalk borders the shoreline, perfect for those not wanting to be on the sand, but still keen to get out and enjoy the scenery.
St Kilda Pier and Pavilion
A stroll along St Kilda Pier is a must, and at the end you will find the historic Pier Pavilion, an Edwardian style kiosk where you can quench your thirst.
A colony of fairy penguins or “little penguins” can be seen at the end of the pier before dawn and at dusk. Here they burrow and nest underneath and have long been seasonal residents of St Kilda pier.
The best time of year to observe the adorable creatures is between October and March. There are volunteer penguin guides to keep spectators in order and protect the cute flippered animals.
Snazzy Tip: If photographing the penguins, please do not use a flash, as this scares them.
St Kilda Esplanade
The Esplanade is the main thoroughfare through St Kilda, lined with palm trees, where most of the attractions are located.
Established in 1912, it is an iconic feature of Melbourne and one of the most recognisable faces in the city. The Scenic Railway Rollercoaster here at Luna Park is the oldest in the world that has never closed down. The scenic view of the bay whilst on the ride is spectacular.
Entry to Luna Park is free, but you are required to pay for rides. Open everyday.
St Kilda Sea Baths
St Kilda Sea Baths is an indoor heated pool with sea-water. Moorish domes on the building and filigree screens adorn the exterior of the building which was built in 2001, replacing the old sea bath structure form 1860 which had all but burnt down.
Snazzy Trivia: Did you know, that in the past, swimming in the sea was considered inappropriate? Not sure why. Hence, the salt water sea baths were built right on the shore, as the next best thing, I suppose.
St Kilda Market
The markets have been a longstanding feature here and are in business every weekend. Hugely popular for local crafts and homemade goods, you will definitely not come away empty handed.
Hosting live acts, ballet, opera and film, many international performers have graced the stage of the Palais Theatre since 1927.
Food / Drinks
Tonnes of fabulous restaurants, cafes and bars are available in the area to choose from for all occasions, tastes and budgets.
One of the oldest hotels in Melbourne is St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel, built in 1878, it’s always been famous for live music. It has several bars and restaurants which are always popular. Known affectionately as ‘The Espy’ by locals, it is situated across the road from the beach.
Captain Baxter, another popular haunt located in the Sea Baths complex, overlooking the beach. You can enjoy dining in the restaurant and/or drinks in the cocktail lounge.
But my most favourite restaurant in St Kilda is Rococo. Great mediterranean food and a lovely atmosphere, I highly recommend it for informal, yummy food for sharing.
Cafes and cake shops are in abundance in Acland Street. The big problem is which cake to choose!
Parks / Gardens
St Kilda Botanical Gardens were established in the mid 1800’s. Here you have a pond, a conservatory and a glasshouse to enjoy.
Catani Gardens is a beautiful park on the foreshore where music festivals are held regularly.
With so many awesome things to do and places to see in St Kilda, you won’t want to miss it.
Getting here is easy. Just a few minutes drive from Melbourne’s central business district, or jump on a tram.
Any comments are always welcome.