Carolina: Cruising Past 70: 3 Unique Beaches around the City of Melbourne

Thursday, September 21, 2017

3 Unique Beaches around the City of Melbourne

Brighton Beach
My two-year old grandson Kyrie loves to watch the seagulls that fly right outside the balcony of their flat at the top floor of a building in South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is only a little more than a mile from the beach so Bill often took walks along the park road beside the tram line that connects the Central Business District to the Port. April and Clint chose the apartment because it is next to the middle tram stop, about 5 stops south to the water and five stops north to their place of work in the CBD.

Port Melbourne Beach
the Waterfront at Port Melbourne

The beach is located in the suburb of Port Melbourne. It features some of the best hotels, condominium buildings, modern homes, bay-front restaurants, and boutiques in a bayside setting, especially on Beach Street. One of several beaches in Port Philip, it stands above the rest, having safe swimming spots for families, especially in summer. Although you can’t really surf there, other exciting activities such as kite surfing and paddle boarding are also favorites.

Port Melbourne
The suburb also forms a major transport link from east to west and is home to one end of the famous West Gate Bridge. Have a look at Beacon Cove, take a cruise from Station Pier or just sit back and enjoy watching the huge ferries, like the ones that go to Tasmania, at the port. Known as Sandridge in the past, the area was developed as Melbourne’s second port although the former industrial area has been going through intense urban renewal over the last ten years.

Port Melbourne is the best beach directly south of their home. Once, Kyrie and I joined Bill in one of his walks. The green spaces beside the tram rail tracks ran almost halfway there and Kyrie had heaps of opportunities to play. But when he got tired, he fell asleep in his stroller, giving Bill and me the chance to admire the small homes that dotted the roads leading to the beach, decorated with filigree as in the Victorian style of long ago. Can you blame April and Clint for considering buying there?

St. Kilda Beach
St. Kilda Beach

St Kilda Beach is about less than four miles south of Melbourne. It is most famous because of the long stretch of sand, about 2,300 feet long between the Marina and the Harbour. It is in northeast Port Phillip, protected from ocean swell but still affected by westerly winds, thus subject to regular tides. The pier has a long breakwater which even hosts a little penguin colony. St Kilda Beach is one of the 46 bayside beaches monitored by EPA Victoria for water quality, always receiving the highest rating.

Luna Park
But the other attraction in the area stands only about three hundred meters from the beach. It is the Luna Park, an old theme playground, and park for kids. Unfortunately, we found out it was closed for some filming. Kyrie would have loved it there. It was on the way to the little downtown area of Acland, about another few hundred meters away and the last stop for the 96 tram line. The little town is famous for its cakes and the chicken parma (the chicken parmigiana for which Melbourne has become known).

Brighton Beach

It is at this little downtown area where we boarded the bus to go to the third, Brighton Beach. Brighton is an affluent beach-side suburb of Melbourne, less than 8 miles southeast of Melbourne's central business district. Brighton houses some of the wealthiest Melburnians with grand homes in large residential blocks of land. Median prices hover around over A$2.2M, way above the budget of my little Melburnian family.

But Brighton is best known for its Dendy Street Beach
beach bathing boxes
with 82 colorful beach bathing boxes, a tourist icon of Melbourne. They are uniformly built and sized, arranged neatly along the beach, in bright colors. The Bayside City Council restricts alterations so they can retain their Victorian era architecture: timber frames, weatherboard sidings, and corrugated iron roofs, without electricity or running water. The only surviving such structures near the Melbourne CBD, the boxes are priced in the range of A$200,000.

No, this is not the place for my little Melburnian family to buy a home. But how I wish we had brought Kyrie with us to St. Kilda and Brighton. It was too bad he had a doctor’s appointment that was necessary for his start in the daycare center of his parents’ choice but, being a permanent resident now (later perhaps even a citizen), he will have plenty of time to make all these beaches his own backyard.

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