From rollercoasters to rock bands, fine dining to fish and chips, St Kilda is the archetypal seaside resort.
Think of your perfect seaside resort, and St Kilda Beach probably ticks most of the boxes. This suburban community south of the centre of Melbourne has been welcoming fun-seeking families for over a century. Despite its proximity to the city, it retains the old-world village feel and pleasantly bohemian atmosphere that has long made it a favourite escape for locals and visitors alike.
St Kilda was put firmly on the map in 1912 with the opening of Luna Park. At that time the park's wooden rollercoasters were the last word in entertainment, and some of the historic rides are still going strong, alongside more state-of-the-art attractions. The iconic face of “Mr Moon” still welcomes visitors to this much-loved Melbourne institution to this day.
The beach at St Kilda is a popular spot for bathers, especially in the summer months, with its gentle waters providing a safe swimming environment for the whole family. Alternatively, enjoy a panoramic view of the shoreline from the pier, which houses a pavilion and kiosk at its outer extremity, or fill your lungs with bracing sea air on a walk along the Esplanade, keeping a lookout for the colony of wild fairy penguins that live along the breakwater.
St Kilda is a great place for a spot of out-of-town shopping, especially on Sundays when the atmospheric open-air market provides plenty of bargains. Alternatively, head for the vintage clothing shops and independent boutiques for unusual one-off items you won’t find in the chain stores. Acland Street is a magnet for the sweet-toothed, lined with European-style bakeries selling freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries, and, in the evening, Fitzroy Street comes alive with diners and drinkers flocking to its lively bars and restaurants, and music fans checking out the latest bands at the Esplanade Hotel.
St Kilda Beach is an easy drive from the city centre, with plenty of street parking and garages. The journey by tram takes around 25 minutes. If you’re planning to spend the day on the beach, it’s worth checking the weather forecast in advance, as the coastal winds can blow chilly and strong around this part of the bay.