One of the best beach walks in Victoria is to be found running from Mentone Beach Northwards along the foreshore to the high red cliffs of Beaumaris, a mere 2 kms each way.
The paved shared path, the stone retaining walls, the plentiful seating and the re-emerging vegetation covering the slopes are a credit to the local council and the band of dedicated volunteers that seek to keep the beach in great shape for locals and visitors alike. The beach and pathways are kept in spotless condition by the ever-vigilant local authority.
Standing on the cliff top at Mentone, the uninterrupted view is extensive and serene. It takes in the Mordialloc pier and beyond in the South and sweeps out to sea across the Bay and up to Beaumaris to the North. With the smell of the salt and the sand in your nostrils you can set out on one of the best walks around.
The usual array of water craft is a common sight from fishing boats to pleasure outboards and jet skiing and parasailing frequent the clear waters. It's not uncommon to see Yoga, Tai Chi or an exercise class of some kind happening on the white sand. Let's not forget the odd game of cricket or volleyball and of course walking man's best friend along the beach is every dog owners favourite pastime.
The path is popular with both locals and visitors and it is a usual sight to see the beach and pathway quite busy in the Summer months when daylight saving allows for an evening meal on the sand or along the stone wall that borders the walkway. The seating is plentiful, built either in stone with overhanging vegetation or in painted wood with plaques commemorating the past life of ones still held dear.
On most days there are walkers and runners, baby prams and wheelchairs, roller blades and pushbikes. During the Winter months, dogs are exercised along the sand. Along with people-watching, experiencing the enthusiasm and exuberance with which the latter take the plunge into the cold ocean is an exercise not to be missed.
Heading up the beach walkway, you'll come to the large rock in the shallow water. This is home to the albatrosses, cormorants, seagulls and the odd stark black crow. It is also the playground of the children who enjoy leaping from it into the water when the tide is full enough for them to make a safe landing.
Today, nearby there is a solitary wader and a young couple gaze out to sea from the nearby old wooden pier. The mud brick hut housing long tables and bench seating, marks about the halfway point of this delightful walk.
On the cliff side of the path, the vegetation planted to slow the erosion is green and bushy with just a sprinkling of flowers due to the cold Winter weather. The same vegetation is scattered in parts along the sand giving added colour in Summer time.
As the walkway approaches the Mentone Surf Life Saving Club, the path branches, giving the option of either visiting The Sausage Man or spending time in the picnic/barbeque area on top of the cliffs. Whether you choose to sit and gaze out to sea or to have your Wurst sausage at the picnic table, is up to you.
Don't like sausages? Joe's Pizza place is just across Beach Road. This rest area also has a kind of quaint children's playground with an art deco type curved climbing frame attached to a zigzag slippery slide. There are two other pieces of equipment for the kids to use but to be honest, I've never been able to work out exactly what they are. However, the local children obviously enjoy them.
From here, you rejoin the beach path and arrive at the Mentone Surf Lifesaving Clubhouse with its extensive rooftop decking and its very handy conveniences. On the stone seats underneath the balcony, locals relax and read their stories. Strewn along the path in this section are 27 tiled composite murals, depicting schoolchildren's concepts of the world around them.
The conclusion of the first section of your walk finds you at a copy of the Tom Roberts Oil on Cedar Panel titled simply "Mentone 1889". Unfortunately vandals have graffitied the board and despite attempts to restore it, there are still some marks on it.
The Artist:- Tom Roberts was born in Great Britain in 1856, arrived in Australia in 1869 and died in 1931. This painting is of the impressive cliffs near Beaumaris and is one of several that sold over the two weeks of the "Impression Exhibition" in Melbourne in 1889 (Tom Roberts exhibited 62 works).
It is interesting that the early works of Roberts, Streeton and Conder, today regarded as masterpieces, were considered of little merit during the struggling stages for the three artists. After the exhibition, Conder went overseas and Streeton and Roberts moved to Sydney. Roberts is referred to as The Father of Australian Landscape Painting and along with Streeton and Conder formed the "Heidelberg School".
The beach path now climbs sharply upwards to the coastal walk along the cliff tops. Designated car parks and picnic areas abound and several of the latter provide the launching platform for the many paragliders that use the area.
The view is simply spectacular. Along the coastal walk, the wattle flowers and cosy niches hide private picnic settings. The path emerges beside Beach Road at the majestic Mentone Hotel (or the "Edgy" to the locals).
Across the road is the vast expanse of green that forms the playing fields of the Catholic Boys College, St Bedes with a billboard advertising the upcoming Farmer's Market attached to their tall white gates.
In a brief 4 kms, it is surprising just how many points of interest and beauty exist, just longing to be discovered by the enthusiastic walker.
Here there is ample to remind you of just what an incredible country we live in and that great facilities such as this one, are available to the public totally free of charge. They are there, just waiting to be used.
Love all your photos Carole. What a great way to describe what looks like a fantastic walk.
By Jon Jones - general editor Thursday, 4th of August @ 10:17 pm
Thanks for your support. It's also extremely popular with cyclists
By Carole Kelly - senior reviewer Thursday, 4th of August @ 11:28 pm
I felt like I was there, Carole - really nice photos. I agree, it's a great way to show the walk.
By Sue Williams - senior reviewer Friday, 5th of August @ 03:53 am
It was a delight to see photos of this beautiful part of Melbourne. My parents had a beachbox at the Mentone Lifesaving Club. Mum and Dad would serve lunch from the reader's seat! Joe's pizza was a milkbar back then. Haven't lived in Melbourne for over 30 yrs. Thanks for the memories.
By Anonymous Saturday, 6th of August @ 07:39 pm
Marvelous! Thanks for highlighting this walk. It's a favorite of mine.
By lizhe - reader Tuesday, 9th of August @ 04:57 am
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. We probably pass each other on the path often
By Anonymous Tuesday, 9th of August @ 11:59 pm
Ah have just seen this one (read the South walk first). We must do this one next time I'm visiting and feeling a little less jetlagged!
By Kym Hamer - senior reviewer Monday, 5th of September @ 01:49 pm
Stunning photos. Especially like the one of the cliff top walk.