This week I was looking for a hike a bit closer to home, so I chose the Bay Trail, a path that extends along Melbourne‘s Port Phillip Coastline. The trail begins in Spotswood and runs all the way to Seaford, 45km down Melbourne’s coastline. Cycling the entire trail would be manageable in a day but walking it, not so much. Of course, you can just choose a section that suits you and that’s exactly what I did. I chose to walk the Brighton to St Kilda section and back again. This was only a 13.5 km return hike but it takes you past three iconic Melbourne landmarks; the Brighton beach boxes, Luna Park and St Kilda Pier so it’s not a bad choice for tourists either.
Long Story Short:
Location: Melbourne (between Brighton & St Kilda)
Track: Bay Trail
Distance: 13.5 km return walk
Time: 3 hours 40 minutes (20 minutes driving from Melbourne CBD, 3 hour return hike, 20 minutes return drive to Melbourne CBD)
Difficulty: Easy (very flat with made paths but a decent length)
- Starting in Brighton: Drive or train to Middle Brighton Station (Sandringham line towards Sandringham)
- Starting in St Kilda: Drive or tram to Stop 136 The Esplanade (Lines 3/3a, 16, 96)
When to go: Any time of year, just dress accordingly
It was a beautiful, sunny Autumn’s day when I decided to do the Bay Trail. I chose the St Kilda to Brighton section mostly because it was a manageable distance and close to the city – I wasn’t keen for a long drive. I live closer to the St Kilda end but I didn’t like my chances of finding free, all-day parking on a weekday so I drove out to Brighton and immediately found a free park.
Local’s Tip: Don’t park in the parking lots along the beach, it is ridiculously expensive. Just find a residential street with no restrictions and walk.
I started walking at the Brighton Beach Boxes. I’m not exactly sure why but the beach boxes have become something of a tourist destination and they’re always swarming with visitors wielding selfie sticks. Beach boxes like these are all along the Mornington Peninsula and I personally think they’re a lot prettier (and quieter) elsewhere – my favourite ones are in the town of McCrae. Here’s some food for thought though, these beach boxes cost as much as a house (well not a house in Melbourne but a house somewhere less expensive). One sold in December for $326,000 ($242,000 USD, 217,000€, £187,000). And no, you can’t live in them; there’s no plumbing or anything, they are literally just small, very pretty, boxes on a beach.
As you continue along the trail you’ll see tonnes of people kitesurfing and you’ll also spot some wildlife. I thought this seagull looked too majestic not to include but you’re bound to see more interesting birds as well. Black swans live all along this section of the trail and penguins can be found at the St Kilda end, along the pier.
The whole way along the trail you’ll catch glimpses of the city skyline which only grows more impressive the closer you get.
Finally, I finished walking when I got to St Kilda Pier. I wandered along the pier but I didn’t venture out far enough to see the penguins. They live along the rocky part of the pier, past the cafe. I then turned back and walked back to Brighton. It was an easy walk but 13.5 km is still a decent walk and my legs were certainly feeling it by the time I got back.
Other stops along the way:
- If it’s Summer, consider the Middle Brighton Baths
Need food in St Kilda? Try:
- Sister of Soul 73 Acland Street, St Kilda – vegan and vegetarian
- Pablo Honey 68 Acland Street, St Kilda – tapas
- Milk the Cow 1/157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda – cheese and wine
- Lentil as anything 41 Blessington St, St Kilda – not-for-profit, pay what you think the meal was worth