One of the best things about being on a peninsula is the diverse range (and high number) of quality beaches: ocean beaches, bay beaches, rocky beaches, sandy beaches, beaches with cliff tops, surf beaches, shallow beaches, tree-lined beaches… You name it, we’ve got it. In fact, we’re so spoilt for choice that sometimes it can be hard to choose where to park your umbrella.
Here’s our round-up of some of our favourite seaside spots on the Ninch. And remember, if it’s blowing a southerly head for Port Phillip Bay; if it’s a northerly wind try the back beaches.
Sorrento Back Beach, Sorrento
If you enjoy plunging into rock pools as well as a little rough and tumble in the waves, look no further than Sorrento’s back beach. At low tide, you’ll find a reasonably sized rock pool to the right of the beach that’s deep enough to jump from the rock that overlooks the pool. This beach is also equipped with Surf Lifesavers and a kiosk over summer (killer python, anyone?). Plus, it’s a 15-minute stroll to Sorrento’s iconic main street, or you can walk from the beach along the cliff tops towards Portsea or Blairgowrie. What more could you want?
📍Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento
McCrae Beach, McCrae
McCrae Beach is beloved for its colourful beach boxes, white sand and relative depth: unlike some of the bay beaches further down the Ninch, you won’t have to walk far into the water to submerge yourself. It’s also conveniently located on Point Nepean Road, so you can roll out of the car and into the sea in a matter of minutes. As an added bonus, skip across the road and enjoy a minimal intervention wine at Banksia Wine Room, or a DIY souvlaki at Alatonero.
📍Point Nepean Road, McCrae
Gunnamatta Beach, Fingal
Gunnamatta has a reputation as one of the state’s most dangerous beaches, and with good reason. However, it’s also patrolled by Surf Lifesaving over the busy season, meaning you can frolic in the waves or practise your boogie boarding in safety. There’s a delightful constellation of rock pools down the far right end of the beach (Boag’s Rocks) at low tide, which make for fun snorkelling. Located in the little-known town of Fingal, it's a hop, skip and a jump away from the iconic Peninsula Hot Springs and St Andrew's Beach Brewery.
📍Truemans Road, Fingal
Mothers Beach, Mornington
So-called because of its popularity among families, this bay is shallow and tends to be protected from the elements. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards can be hired if you’re feeling adventurous. Mothers Beach has the benefit of being situated just beyond the lush, grassy Mornington Park (great for throwing a frisbee around) and Mornington's Main Street, which has all the culinary goodness you might want following a beach sesh (think top-tier burger and pasta joints).
📍Schnapper Point Drive, Mornington
Bridgewater Bay, Blairgowrie
Sometimes called ‘St John’s Wood’ after the street it’s on, Bridgewater Bay in Blairgowrie is best known for its impressive jumping rock. This rock, which lauds it over a deep, sparkling pool, is something of a Ninch rite of passage — but at seven metres high, it’s not for the faint-hearted. There are smaller rocks to jump from, and it’s worth going for the pretty rock pool alone. Bear in mind this beach is not patrolled and does not have any amenities.
📍St John's Wood Road, Blairgowrie
Whitecliffs Foreshore, Rye
Like many of the bay beaches towards the peninsula’s southern end, Rye's Whitecliffs will have you wondering if you’ve been teleported to the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean (just ignore the water temperature). This is a popular camping spot so it can be a little tricky to find parking, but Whitecliffs is a picturesque, shallow beach great for no-fuss splashing about, stand-up paddleboarding and long summer days with a salad roll in-hand.
📍Point Nepean Road, Rye
Western Park Beach, Somers
Traffic willing, you can land on the sand of Western Park Beach within an hour of departing Melbourne. And, when many of the peninsula’s beaches are awash with summer tourists, the sweet township of Somers tends to stay a little quieter. If seclusion is what you’re after — perhaps with a book in tow — Somers’s Western Park Beach is the one for you. Dropping into The Somers General for brekky/lunch/coffee/weekend dinners/drinks/cute homewares is a must.
📍The Boulevard, Somers