Best Beaches in Victoria: A Road-Tripper's Guide
From golden sands to Australia's best surf breaks, find your little slice of paradise at one of the best beaches in Victoria.
The beach has a special place in any Aussie’s heart — be it to cool down from the sweltering summer heat, or a weekend away with the girls, our collection of these 10 best beaches tick every box. We’re pretty spoilt for choice, and Victoria is no exception, with over 2,500 kilometres of rugged shores and pristine sands, hugging the Southern Ocean.
Whether you’re after that quintessential day at the beach or simply wanting to find that little slice of paradise for yourself, we've found ten of the best beaches around Victoria, promising the ultimate sandy sojourn.
Some of the best beaches are the ones where you can just grab your towel on the way out the door and pop down to on a hot summer’s day. With a tram line running from the city basically to the water’s edge, St Kilda Beach remains an ever-popular go-to for Melburnians and tourists alike. The beach is a safe swimming spot for all types, as it’s protected from Port Phillip Bay by the long breakwall of St Kilda Pier. The foreshore esplanade is also a popular spot for bike riders and runners, and when you’re done with the beach for the day, you can then head on over to the iconic Luna Park to ride on the rollercoaster, or go penguin spotting out on the breakwall where the resident colony spend the night.
With its pearly white shores and erosion-produced sea caves, Forest Caves Beach surprisingly flies under the radar when it comes to Victoria's best beaches. While it's a known surf spot along the Phillip Island Tourist Road, its unpatrolled waters make it less popular with families and tourists looking for a spot to swim. If you’re keen to check out the caves (and we highly recommend you do), be sure to head down at low tide when they are accessible.
Time seems to move a lot slower down the coast and for good reason. The Great Ocean Road has some of the country's most spectacular beaches and Apollo Bay is no exception. Tucked away between the Wye River and Cape Otway on Victoria's scenic coastal route, Apollo has all the makings of a perfect seaside retreat; glittering turquoise water, white sandy beaches and a long list of outdoor adventures to keep you busy all summer long. In the warmer months, the 3km beach is under the watchful eye of the Apollo Bay Life Saving Club and boasts naturally calm waters so it's the ideal spot for the whole family. Learn the art of patience at the main wharf where locals and holiday-goers try their hand at catching the evenings meal - just be sure to have a Victorian recreational fishing licence.
For the beach goer who likes their visit on the quieter side, you won’t get much more secluded than Refuge Cove, one of a handful of isolated beaches within Wilsons Promontory National Park. The only way to get there though is by a 34 kilometre round trip hike, or by boat — hence its seclusion. Boats are permitted to anchor in the pristine cove and the beach also has basic camping facilities, as it’s recommended to make it a multi-day trip, especially if you’re hiking. Old whaling ships previously used the cove for shelter, and as such, whale bones can still be found on its shores.
If you’re off to visit the Great Ocean Road, then a stop off at Bells Beach near the seaside town of Torquay, should be on your best beaches in Victoria list. Not only because the dramatic cliffsides create a natural amphitheatre over the beach, offering sweeping vistas along the coastline, but also because every Easter weekend, the rugged beach hosts the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition, drawing the biggest names in the surfing world to compete. This beach is definitely one for the experienced riders, as big swells from the Southern Ocean break over the shallow reef, with the surf biggest during autumn and winter.
It might surprise you to find that Victoria is actually home to the third longest uninterrupted beach in the world. The aptly named, Ninety Mile Beach, is a 90-mile long (155 kilometres) stretch of untamed, pristine coastline in the East Gippsland region, separating the stunning Gippsland Lakes from the ocean. The unspoilt sands lend themselves to an array of beach activities including swimming, fishing, whale spotting, or just for a leisurely day in the sun. Make your way to the seaside towns of Lakes Entrance, Seaspray, or Woodside Beach to access one of the best beaches in Victoria and its stunning surrounds.
If you're looking for a Hallmark moment, Gibson Steps is your spot. Standing just offshore of the Twelve Apostles Marine National Parks are the majestic limestone stacks known as Gog and Magog. While they are not considered part of the Twelve Apostles, their remarkable presence makes for a truly spectacular beach experience. Like all great things, Gibson Steps Beach makes your work for it with a cool, 86 step journey down the 70-metre cliff face to reach the beach. If you're not looking for a full leg work out and just want to take in the beauty of it all, head to one of the primly positioned viewing platforms for the ultimate insta-worthy shot.
Phillip Island has a lot to offer visitors to Victoria — the spectacularly landscape, unique wildlife, excellent food, and friendly locals, just to name a few. But first up on the island, if coming by car, be sure to make a visit to Cape Woolamai. The pink granite cliffs of the headland create one of the highest points on the whole island for coastline viewing, and the golden strip of sand below has even been listed on the National Surfing Register, recognising it as one of Victoria’s premier surfing spots.
It just doesn’t seem fair that one of Victoria’s best beaches is also one of its most dangerous. On the Southern Ocean's 'Shipwreck Coast’, it sadly is not recommended for swimming but is one of the areas prized surfing and fishing spots. In the warmer months, its golden sand and impressive dunes make for the perfect picnic spot. Work up an appetite on one of the surrounding walking trails or try your luck at catching one of the area's delicious fresh salmon for your seaside feast.
Just a limestone's throw away from the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge ticks all the boxes; crystal clear waters, unbelievable natural landscapes and multiple vantage points to take it all it. Named after survivors of the Loch Ard shipwreck who were safely washed ashore in 1878, Loch Ard Gorge's tide is surprisingly gentle thanks to the mammoth cliff faces that protect this pocket of pure perfection. As one of the most iconic and best beaches in Victoria, the summer months unsurprisingly bring in tourists by the bus load, so with the international boarders still closed - now is your chance.
The Mornington Peninsula is as acclaimed for its many best beaches, as it is for its charming seaside towns. Almost at the very tip of the peninsula sits the quaint town of Sorrento, which due to its geographic location, actually has two beaches. The first, a calmer Front Beach, facing into Port Phillip Bay, and the second, a rugged Back Beach, facing into the Bass Strait. The Back Beach or ‘Ocean Beach’ as it’s also called is a perfect place for swimming, surfing, fishing, hiking along the cliffs or even just exploring the little rock pools at low tide, and is well worth the short 90-minute drive from Melbourne.
Brighton Beach, one of the best beaches in Melbourne is another stretch of coast that face into Port Phillip Bay, but rather than being known for being a beautiful beach, it’s actually more famous for the 82 colourful bathing boxes lined up along the sand. The uniform Victorian-era wooden structures were built well over a hundred years ago when a trip to the beach required a little more, ‘respectability’, shall we say. The original boxes have now been painted a myriad of colours by their individual licensees and a trip here is worth it, even for the iconic photo alone.
Don't rely on air-con to get you through the sweltering summer, hit the road and explore Victoria's stunning coastline. Whether you're looking for weekend escape or a quick dip without ever leaving the city, our list of the 10 best beaches in Victoria has your summer sorted. Find the perfect place to stay along the Great Ocean Road or continue the adventures with our Best Caravan Parks and Best Glamping spots in Victoria guides.
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