Australians love water and why shouldn't we? We're surrounded by some of the most fascinating beaches in the world. Whether its surfing or swimming, family fun or romantic walks, water sports or exotic holidays – we have myriads of beaches ideal for everything under the sun.
And after you've frolicked in the Bondis, the Cables, the Bells and the St Kildas, you might want to get away from the throng and snuggle up in a sequestered environment. We've rounded up a list of some of the almost-secret treasures of Victoria to bask in quiescence and enjoy nature at its serenest best.
Cape Bridgewater is 21 km south-west of Portland, off the Great Ocean Road. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. The beach is 2.8 km long and has the best public access of all the Bridgewater Bay beaches. It is a wide, rather flat beach with wonderful shifting white sands; the eastern side has dune-capped calcarenite bluffs, facilities like shower spaces, a car park (with 50 spaces) and a kiosk. The tides are good for wind surfing and surf fishing. Try beach fishing towards the east of the beach or rock fishing along the rocks in Fisherman Cove. The lookouts off the coastal cliffs offer breathtaking views of the fine sands and deep-blue waters of the Bay and there's even a lookout for a breeding colony of adorable fur seals.
: Cape Bridgewater VIC 3305
Pearse's Beach, Blairgowrie
Pearse's beach lies between Sorrento and Rye, near the western end of the Mornington Peninsula and is a popular summer spot. It is bordered on the north by Port Phillip Bay and on the south by Bass Strait. This is a small pocket beach – steep and sandy with dune covered calcarenite bluffs, faced by rock and reef flats especially at low tide. It's great for swimming at mid to high tide; however there's not much scope for surfing, though the offshore reefs do render some waves at high tide. Featured on a few travel programs, this hidden gem is ideal for beachcombing and enjoying coastal walks along the tracks, rather than swimming.
: Pearse's Beach, Blairgowrie VIC 3942
Kitty Miller Bay
The beach lies a few hundred metres inside the bordering Watts Point and Kennon Head, at the base of an extinct volcano. At high tide, the beach is narrow while at low tide it expands wider with deeper water off the centre. There are littoral rock flats at the base of the headlands and reefs in between. This picturesque cove is ideal for swimming (thanks to the low waves), surfing (best at high tide) and fishing (off the protected rock platforms at the base of the reefs). The Kitty Miller Shipwreck Walk is a lovely 2 km walk (two-way) to the wreck of the century-old SS Speke – one of the biggest ships of its time. There's a formal parking available to accommodate about 20 cars.
: End of Kitty Miller Rd, Ventnor VIC 3922
Merricks Beach, Victoria
Merricks Beach is a holiday colony on the eastern side of the Mornington Peninsula. There's a rather untouched beach, a foreshore reserve, a yacht club and picnic facilities in the region. The beach threads for more than 2 km from Palmer Bluffs to a rather lofty, vegetated bluff. The beach is narrow and steep and receives low wind waves; with deep water at high tide and sandy, reef flats at low tide. At high tide you can either fish the reef flats from the beach or go for a swim. The beach is primarily used by sailors and locals only. For a more secluded spot, head beyond to the East Creek Beach (accessible only by foot). There's a caravan park on the southern side of East Creek.
: Merricks Beach VIC 3926
Sealers Cove, Wilsons Promontory
This charming cove is bordered by vegetated headlands and is a good three-hour walk from Tidal River within the realms of Wilsons Promontory. But it's covert beauty, its pristine waters and fine sands make up for the long ride. There's a protected camping area near the Sealers Creek, however, it requires a permit. The camping area is fronted by a fabulous patch for swimming (especially at high tide). The rocks down the beach and the creek spout are great spots for fishing. If you're lucky, you might get a few rideable breaks for surfing. But contrary to its name, Sealers Cove does not have any seals due to excessive seal hunting in the recent past.
: Sealers Cove, Wilsons Promontory, VIC
Skenes Creek, Apollo Bay
On the edge of the Otway forest on the Great Ocean Road, lies this lovely beach – a haven for those interested in fishing, surfing or camping along the ocean. It is the second ocean beach free of platforms and reefs after Lorne. The creek meanders through a small lagoon into the centre of the beach. There are strong breaks against the littoral rocks, producing good surf waves. Fishing can be enjoyed from either end of the beach or off the rock platforms. There is a camping area towards the northern end of the beach and a formal car park on either side (can accommodate up to 100 cars). It's a great stopover any time of the year.
: Skenes Creek, Apollo Bay VIC 3233
Point King, Portsea
Famous for its scuba diving activities, Portsea is a holiday town between the Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait. South of Point King and at the end of a track down a calcarenite bluff, lie two narrow strips of sand, with wide sand and reef flats. The beaches are calm and protected and offer a great scope for fishing. At high tide, there are plenty of rocks to fish from while at low tide, head towards the breakwaters. Bathing and swimming is best enjoyed at high tide. The beaches are popular among locals and boast owners and though have limited public access, the trip is well worth making.
: Point King Rd, Portsea VIC 3944
Walkerville, Wilsons Promontory
Walkerville and Walkerville North are two stunning beaches in the beautiful surrounds of Wilson's Promontory. A walking track through the Bluff Beach connects the two beaches. The ruins of the lime kilns that stand above these beaches bear testimony to the fact that Walkerville was once a major limestone mining zone. Unlike Walkerville North, which is 4 km long and more popular, Walkerville is a more reclusive and smaller beach – around 200 m. With normally low waves, both beaches are great for swimming and fishing off the rocks. Walkerville North beach is great for surfing, especially at high tide, and fishing off the rock and reef flats though swimming is not entirely safe due to the littoral rocks. There's a caravan park adjacent to the wide bluffs. Overall, the region is quite fascinating with fine sandy patches, azure water, intertidal rocks, vegetated inclines and rugged terrain.
: Walkerville, north of Waratah Bay, Wilsons Promontory