Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
There is nothing more quintessential than the Aussie beach holiday and finding the best one can be difficult. As for me, living on the Mornington Peninsula does make me a little biased as to where the best seaside destination is but if I had the money I would be happy to have a holiday house in any one of my top ten seaside destinations. If only so many tourists didn't have the same idea!
As you know Victoria has so many great seaside towns so condensing it to the top ten was a difficult task. My criteria for selection was based on popularity, accessibility, family friendliness, great beaches and last but not least fantastic eateries. I am happy to share my top ten as long as everyone doesn't flock to my favourite spots all at once, I'll be a happy camper!
My top picks on the Mornington Peninsula is Sorrento followed by the unlikely choice of Flinders. Sorrento is a popular tourist town during the warmer months, yet still maintains a relaxed coastal town feel. Sorrento has many superb beaches, my favourite being the hidden Diamond Bay which is accessed from a small dirt road. For the more adventurous Sorrento Ocean beach is where you will find all the 'cool kids' hangin and surfing. Families will love the foreshore beach with clear, calm and shallow water perfect for toddlers and great for picnics under the pines.
With many great restaurants, shops, parks, historic sites, beaches and camping on the foreshore, it pretty much has it all. Though I will warn you not to attempt going between Christmas day and New Years Eve, unless you love the chaos of thousands of people trying to be in the same place as you.
Flinders on the other hand is almost the exact opposite of Sorrento, picked for different reasons.
Flinders is a place to relax and unwind, it lacks the big tourist crowds and there is not much in town but has some great places to eat and drink. Surfing is a popular activity along with snorkelling and rock pooling. For families with younger children the nearby Point Leo beach is a great spot. Flinders is a great base to explore the peninsula, including many of the wineries, golf courses and the Peninsula Hot Springs.
There's nothing quite like the Ballerine Peninsula, time seems to be forgotten, no one is in a hurry, the beaches are pristine, locals are friendly and if you leave technology at home there seems to not be a care in the world.
Queenscliff is a lovely heritage town with beautiful buildings, cute beach shacks, great restaurants and cafes, a place I would love to have a long annual holiday over the summer. There is not a lot to do but that is part of the beauty of a beach holiday, the kids learn to fill in time playing, learning new skills and exploring. The ultimate in rest and relaxation.
A recent visit to Ocean Grove/Barwon Heads put this one on the radar for me, although only a few kilometres from Queenscliff it needs it's own special mention. If you love camping near the beach then this is the perfect spot. Camping on the foreshore here is extremely popular in summer and for good reason. Simply, it's a great spot, beaches are fantastic for young families and you can get a few of your friends and family together and make the most of it.
One of the biggest tourist attraction within Victoria is the Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles ( although only a eight are left standing) my favourite places to stay along the Great Ocean Rd is Lorne and Apollo Bay, though Port Fairy is definitely up there too.
Lorne is a very popular destination and mixes the beach and country well together. It's a spot that can be quite pretentious at times and at other times it's full with hippies for the big music festivals, but on the most part it's a relaxed, family seaside town perfect for a weekend getaway. Make sure you visit the Erskine Falls just outside of Lorne and buy fresh seafood down by the pier.
Apollo Bay is a nice spot to stay along the Great Ocean Road and is a great base to see many of amazing waterfalls in the area. LINK=www.otwayfly.com/]The Otway Fly[/LINK] tree tops walk is also within the area (51 kilometres away) . Stop for fish and chips overlooking the water.
Lakes Entrance popularity is growing all the time, with new accommodation popping up everywhere. It's a great spot to enjoy the national parks and it's many beaches. Fresh seafood here is a must, you used to be able to get it straight off the boats and the local co-op but I'm not sure if it still happens. For a day trip the kids will love exploring the Buchan Caves which is 56 kilometres drive.
Metung is another left of field pick, but if you have a boat this spot is a an excellent choice, some of the hotels have private jetty's which can be reserved with your accommodation booking. If you're like me and don't have sea legs then a few days will be enough. I find it's a great stopover when heading up the coast, it's tranquil and relaxed and will have you in holiday mode in next to no time.
The mere mention of "The Prom" will bring back many fond childhood memories for most readers whether it was of feeding the Rosellas, playing in Tidal River, being naughty and climbing into the mouth of the whale rock, climbing through the scrub at the back of the open air cinema to get glimpses of the movies, or camping with friends the whole summer long.
This place has barley changed and is sure to leave an impression on everyone that visits. The popularity of the prom grows each season and to get a camp spot over the Christmas holidays you need to go into a ballot with the maximum duration being 1 week and 6 people vying for every available camp site.
To me Phillip Island is a love or loathe type of place. The over commercialism of the tourist attractions to me is off putting, however if you can overlook that you can still find some great things to do. Cowes Jetty is the perfect place for a picnic lunch. Surf beaches including Woolami are fantastic and the bay beaches are perfect for toddlers and children. Churchill Island is a must see for families with young children, with plenty of farm animals to look at and pat. Try and combine it when the farmers market is on.