Ssh! Top Secret Beaches Near Melbourne to Check out This Summer
Skip the crowds this summer and explore some of Victoria's best-kept beach secrets. You'll never jostle for sand position or worry about getting a car park - you're often only one of a handful of people there!
The Australian coastline is an absolutely wondrous thing, and with Victoria's being so moody and dramatic with its mountains, cliffs, and rugged shores, a trip to these spots are more than just a day at the water's edge.
Fairy Cove, Wilson's Prom
Fairy Cove just sounds secretive and whimsical to start with, but tucked away under granite boulders and steep slopes, it's the ultimate secret beach in real life too. Only accessible by a walking track leading to a more popular beach, people often bypass it for the familiar spots.
Swimming is fairly safe (although unpatrolled), with shallow waves (but can develop rips if they exceed 1m) and small tidal pools. The beach itself is quite sheltered from winds, and the sand is soft and plentiful. It's not usually teeming with crowds, and that's even more so in the off-peak times (think Easter and Christmas). Plenty of walking tracks around too, and Wilson's Prom in general is fantastic for camping, fishing and getting back to nature.
Find it: The beach is accessible on foot from a side track off the Tongue Point track from either Darby River or Darby Saddle.
Shelly Beach, Kilcunda
Grab yourself some amazing views at Shelly Beach, which is backed by low foredunes and 20m high grassy bluffs, and bordered by rocky headlands, keeping it relatively protected.
Bathing is only recommended at high tide in calm conditions, but the sand area itself has plenty to keep you busy! It is full of tiny shells and items thrown up from the sea, so it's not hard to see where the name comes from.
Further along is the main surf beach, which means Shelly often gets overlooked. Perfect for a bit of a quiet explore.
Find it: Shelly Beach has a car track leading to it from the Bass Highway, west of Kilcunda Ridge Road.
Pearse's Beach, Blairgowrie
Pearse's is one of four steep, sandy, high tide beaches in the Blairgowrie area, backed by massive calcarenite bluffs and fronted by near continuous rock and reef flats, excellent for poking around for sea life spotting.
Not great really for swimming or surfing, but excellent for hiking, exploring and sightseeing. Its intricate rock formations and rugged aspect means it's a popular spot for photographers and filmmakers. Plenty to see here!
Find it: Accessed by Pearse Rd, Blairgowrie.
Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Williamstown
Closer to home is the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, the nearest marine sanctuary to Melbourne, a full 30ha of protected waters.
A forgotten spot for most, Jawbone remains unspoiled and unchanged for the millions of years over which it has evolved. It's a fantastic catchment of a number of marine habitats, and creature sightings are plentiful. From rocky environments to swampy mangroves, it is absolutely teeming with wildlife. Kids love the tidal pools, full of limpets and snails, seastars and crabs. A really great day out when you're looking for something a little different.
Find it: Jawbone Marine Sanctuary is accessible by boat or the shore via Bayview St, Williamstown.
Woolamai Beach, Phillip Island
Cape Woolamai is a stunner with pink granite beach backdrops and sheer size - it's 4.2km long, giving it the title of the longest and most exposed beach on Phillip Island. With that expanse of sand and water, you're sure to find a shady solo spot to set up camp for the day.
Swimming is available in the patrolled areas between the flags, but it's definitely more popular for surfers, and experienced ones at that. Go fishing (the rip holes are popular) or build epic sand castles - though beware of the wind! The dunes are great for exploring, and make up part of the Cape Woolamai State Faunal Reserve.
Find it: Accessed by Cape Woolamai Beach Road, you can park at the surf club.
Thirteenth Beach, Barwon Heads
West of Barwon Heads you'll find Thirteenth Beach, named after the nearby thirteenth hole at the Barwon Heads Golf Club. Excellent for watching surfers between 13th and the following Black Rock, the water is full of free entertainment!
Also awesome for long walks along the shoreline (13th is another 4km+ beach) taking in the spectacular view, creating epic sand sculptures, or even tossing a frisbee to your furry friends.
Find it: Off Thirteenth Beach Rd, near the Barwon Heads Golf Club.