Best Beaches in Victoria: From Tranquil Bays to Surfing Hotspots
Today we are highlighting some of the best beaches in Victoria. With its long coastline stretching from the New South Wales border to the South Australian border, Victoria has no shortage of beautiful beaches to explore. Choose from the rugged coastline of the Southern Ocean cliffs to the calm waters of Port Phillip Bay to the less explored but stunning Gippsland region. Let’s go find a few beaches for you to visit when you are in Victoria.
This page may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy for more information.
We have sorted our list of top beaches in Victoria by region so you can hone in on the area you are planning to visit.
Beaches in Melbourne and beyond
St. Kilda Beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. While it’s not likely to win any awards for outstanding natural beauty it is just a stone’s throw from Melbourne’s CBD and has plenty of atmosphere.
With cafes and restaurants nearby and a vibrant waterfront market on. It’s a great spot for a swim, a paddleboard, or a beachside picnic. Jump on the no 96 tram and you will be there in less than 30 minutes.
Other Melbourne suburban beaches include Elwood and Brighton Beach with its bathing boxes. However, the best beaches in the state start a little further from town, so let’s go and find them.
Mornington Peninsula Beaches
Some of the closest beaches to Melbourne, if you’re after something a little more secluded, are those on Port Phillip Bay’s Mornington Peninsula. Here you’ll find a number of stunning beaches, including Sorrento Beach and Portsea Beach.
Always swim between the red and yellow flags, which show the safest area to swim. These flags are placed by the lifeguards who are trained to identify hazardous conditions and prevent accidents.
These beaches are surrounded by rugged cliffs and are perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and exploring rock pools. There are also plenty of walking trails in the area.
An easy one hour drive from Melbourne, McCrae Beach faces Port Phillip Bay. You won’t find crashing waves, but calm water here. It attracts thousands of people each year who enjoy relaxing or taking to the usually still water on their blown-up floating device or stand-up paddle boards.
McCrae Beach stretches for a few kilometres and it’s hard to tell where it ends and finishes as its shoreline runs into Dromana and Rosebud Beaches on either side. You know you are at McCrae by using the McCrae Yacht Club and McCrae Lighthouse as your guide.
Once you have had enough of the water, head past the bathing boxes to walk or ride along the foreshore, which forms part of the 28km Bay Trail.
If hungry, there are a few cafes and restaurants to grab a bite, Whiteflower being a favourite. Or bring a picnic and sit in the shade of the trees lining the foreshore and watch the boats sail in and out of Port Phillip Bay – Hello Spirit of Tasmania.
Suggested by Sharyn from Discover Australia Now
Great Ocean Road Beaches
Victoria’s beaches are renowned for their natural beauty. From the crystal-clear waters to the stunning rock formations, the Great Ocean Road Beaches are some of the most beautiful in Victoria.
Bells Beach is one of the most famous surf destinations in the world. Located 100 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, right at the start of the Great Ocean Road, this stretch of sand and its powerful waves make for an easy day trip or weekend getaway from the city.
Bells Beach is most famous for the Rip Curl Pro surf competition, which has been held in these waters for over 60 years. This world-renowned event is put on every year over the Easter period and pulls in athletes and spectators from all over the country. It makes for a crowded experience if you visit at this time of year, but the atmosphere is electrifying.
But a visit to Bells Beach isn’t just for the surfers. Viewing platforms and boardwalks allow you to look out over the beach and coastline, giving you an excellent vantage point of the people out in the waves.
From Bells Beach Lookout, you can take a series of steps down to the beach for an even better vantage point. You never quite realise just how large those waves are until you’re standing on the sand directly in front of them!
While the beach itself isn’t wheelchair-accessible, the viewing platforms are, so if you have limited mobility, you can still witness all the action from above.
For those who love to hike, the Surf Coast Walk passes by Bells Beach and provides ample opportunity to rack up your step count. You could walk from Torquay to Bells Beach, for example, which makes for a 8 km round trip.
When it’s time to refuel, head to the nearby town of Torquay, which is just a 10-minute drive from Bells Beach. There, you’ll find many restaurants and bars serving a wide variety of cuisines. Given your location, however, head to Fishos for some of the best fish and chips on the Great Ocean Road.
Suggested by Lauren Jiff from Everything Victoria
Lorne Beach is the perfect beach for a swim and a morning coffee before exploring the popular Great Ocean Road, the most famous coastal road in Victoria, known for its stunning scenery.
Lorne is about a 2-hour drive from Melbourne city centre and it’s a 15-minute drive past the Memorial Arch at Eastern View, which marks the beginning of the Great Ocean Road to the East.
There’s a cute little cafe on the North end of Lorne Beach, the Swingbridge Cafe, which is located, as the name indicates, next to a swing bridge over a small river. It’s the perfect place in Lorne to enjoy a cup of coffee and a small breakfast.
The beach itself is 2 kilometres, and it’s relatively sheltered as it’s almost a bay. Especially in the mornings, the beach is very quiet and empty, and that’s what makes Lorne Beach such a good first stop on any trip to the Great Ocean Road.
You can go for an early morning swim or stroll on the beach before you continue your trip down the Great Ocean Road and start exploring Victoria’s most beautiful coastline.
If you fall in love with the seaside town charm of Lorne, you can just spend a few nights in the Lorne Surf Apartments and feel right at home in a spacious apartment within walking distance of the ocean.
Recommended by Tina from Veganderlust
Port Campbell Beach
Port Campbell Beach is one of the few beaches that you can swim at along Port Campbell National Park. It’s located around three hours from Melbourne.
The Port Campbell Foreshore is a popular spot all year round – especially when the weather is warm! You will find this little stretch of beach covered in towels and beach tents! There are also plenty of grassy spots to lay down a picnic blanket and a few picnic tables too.
This ocean beach is a great place for families to enjoy a swim since it is surrounded by limestone cliffs, giving it some protection from large waves. The beach is also wheelchair accessible.
Along with it being a great place to swim, it is also popular for fishing off the boat ramp or for the many walking tracks nearby, including a suspension bridge that connects you directly to the Port Campbell Discovery Walk.
The beach also flows into Campbell’s Creek, where you can kayak or stand-up paddleboard along the creek. This is another brilliant spot to paddle with younger kids and the water is much warmer too.
If you are doing the Great Ocean Road drive, there are plenty of things to do near Port Campbell, making it a popular overnight stop. It’s right near some of the best attractions, such as the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
For lunch after your swim, check out Sow And Piglets Brewery. Delicious pizzas and they have lots of board games to play while you dine. It’s just a short walk from the foreshore.
Suggested by Holly Connors from Four Around The World
Cape Bridgewater Beach, or Bridgewater Bay, is on the far west coast of Victoria. It is 4.25 hours west of Melbourne. The nearest Victorian towns to Cape Bridgewater Beach are Portland (20 minutes away) and Warrnambool (80 minutes away). It’s only 60 minutes from Mount Gambier.
The crescent-shaped beach is stunning. It can have turquoise blue water and there is lots of fine white sand. The Portland Surf Life Saving Club patrol an area at the western end of the beach from December until Easter on weekends and public holidays. You will want to stay between the flags as there are dangerous currents further along the beach.
Even though Cape Bridgewater beach might not be an ideal swimming beach, it has plenty of other attractions. Stony Hill, not far from the beach, is Victoria’s tallest sea cliff at over 130m high.
From the western end of the beach there is a two hour return walk to a viewing platform where you can see Australian and New Zealand fur seals. It is an exposed, hilly walk. Wildlife cruises to the seals are available.
From the bay it is only a 5km drive to the other side of Cape Bridgewater where there is another short walk you may also like you can do along the coast where you can see petrified tree trunks. Not only are they an incredible sight, but from April to October, the cliffs here are a great spot for whale watching.
You can grab something to eat from the Bridgewater Bay Café, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is beach house accommodation available in Bridgewater Bay but for more options you there is a bigger range, including caravan parks in nearby Portland.
Suggested by Natalie – Curious Campers
Loch Ard Gorge
When it comes to beautiful beaches in Victoria, there are few places that compare to Loch Ard Gorge.
As one of the most popular stops on a Great Ocean Road drive, Loch Ard Gorge is a place that many people flock to each year, just to see this breathtaking natural attraction.
The beach is set against a backdrop of majestic limestone cliffs, framing the beautiful blue water and yellow sand. And while it does get really busy, especially in the summer months, you still feel like you’ve stepped into some secret place when you take the steps down to the Gorge.
Although, if it’s a swimming beach you’re looking for, this one isn’t the place to go. While people certainly do swim here, since it’s hard to resist those clear waters, it can be quite dangerous because of the strong currents crashing between the surrounding cliffs.
But if you’re looking for a place to relax and take in some of the most beautiful scenery Victoria has to offer, Loch Ard Gorge is definitely a must-see. This is a magnificent spot for a beach picnic or to dip your toes in the shallow waters.
There are also several walking tracks and lookout points in the area and a chance to learn the tragic history of the Loch Ard Shipwreck – with only 2 people surviving!
Loch Ard Gorge is within Port Campbell National Park and merely minutes from many other famous attractions such as the Twelve Apostles, London Arch and Gibson Steps Beach. You can grab a bite to eat at the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre or head into town to Sow And Piglets Brewery. It’s located just under 3 hours from Melbourne.
Shannon from When Lost By Choice
With its dark golden sand and white-capped ocean waves Logans Beach in Warrnambool deserves to be on any list of beautiful beaches in Victoria.
This wide beach stretches endlessly in both directions and is a favourite amongst surfers. Council signs warn against swimming here though due to the presence of a hazardous rip.
Swimming isn’t usually on people’s minds when they visit Logans Beach however, as most people come to see whales. In winter Southern Right Whales migrate from the Sub-Antarctic to the warmer waters around southern Australia.
The oceans around Logans Beach is known as a “whale nursery” and you can often spot mother whales nursing their young before making the long return journey.
A top tourist attraction in Warrnambool, a purpose-built viewing platform has been erected on the foreshore to make spotting the whales easier. This fully accessible platform is open 24-hours a day and is free to use.
Generally speaking, the whales visit between June and September. It’s a good idea to check with the Visitor Centre before you visit to make sure they’re around. Be sure to bring your binoculars!
Warrnambool is located at the end of the Great Ocean Road about 256 kilometres from Melbourne. Logans Beach is a short 5 kilometre drive east of the town centre.
Suggested by Audrey from Victoria Uncovered
The beaches of Gippsland are some of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in the state.
Ninety Mile Beach
As the name suggests, Ninety Mile Beach is a long stretch of pristine sand that runs for 90 miles along the Gippsland coast. It separates the Gippsland Lakes from the ocean and is the perfect beach for a walk or a swim. There are also plenty of fishing spots along the beach.
Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory
Located in Wilsons Promontory National Park and overlooking Bass Strait, Squeaky Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Australia. Famous for its squeaking sands, when you tread on the white quartz sand, each step produces harmonious squeak which had us laughing and trying to make our own music!
Squeaky Beach gets very busy on weekends so try to visit mid-week if you can.
If you have limited time you can take a one day tour to Wilson’s Promontory from Melbourne that includes a visit to Squeaky Beach and a chance to see lots of Australian wildlife. Alternatively there is a great hiking day trip to the area.
Suggested by Paula
Mots Beach, nestled in the coastal town of Marlo 385 km east of Melbourne, is a hidden gem that has earned its reputation as one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. It lies on a pristine, unspoiled stretch of coastline where the Snowy River meets the Southern Ocean and is simply divine.
Characterised by its powdery white sands, crystal-clear gentle waters, and stunning coastal dunes, the tranquil ambiance and untouched landscapes make it a paradise for nature lovers. It’s relatively less crowded compared to some of Victoria’s more popular beaches – perfect if you want to get away from it all.
Mots Beach is part of the Snowy River Estuary, a vital wildlife habitat. This means it’s a really popular spot for fishing and bird watching too! It’s also a great place to go swimming, thanks to the calm waters making it a great spot for young families.
Due to its natural and untouched landscape, and having to go down steps to get to it, Mots Beach isn’t wheelchair accessible.
While a relatively small town, there are many things you can do in Marlo, and you can find some lovely dining options and accommodations nearby. The family friendly Marlo Hotel is a great place to go for food with a variety of dishes at reasonable prices.
Marlo offers a range of accommodations, from holiday cabins and cottages to campgrounds. We stayed at Marlo Hideaway and loved it – it felt like a proper Swedish log cabin!
Catrina from 24 Hours Layover
Frequently asked Questions about beaches in Victoria
What are some of the warmest beaches in Victoria?
Victoria has a mild climate, so the water temperature is usually cooler than in other parts of Australia. However, some of the warmest beaches in Victoria are Sorrento Back Beach, Point Lonsdale Beach, and Portsea Beach. These beaches are located on the Mornington Peninsula and are known for their warm water temperatures during the summer months.
What are the best swimming beaches in Victoria?
Victoria has many great swimming beaches, but some of the best include St Kilda Beach, Brighton and Torquay Front Beaches. These are popular with locals and tourists alike and offer safe swimming areas with lifeguards on duty during the summer months.
What are some of the best beaches in Melbourne?
Melbourne has several great beaches, including St Kilda Beach, Brighton Beach, and Elwood Beach. These beaches are located within easy reach of the city centre by tram.
Which beach in Victoria has the clearest water?
Victoria’s beaches are known for their crystal-clear water, but some of the clearest can be found at Squeaky Beach, located in Wilsons Promontory National Park. This stunning beach is known for its white sand and turquoise water, and is a must-visit for anyone exploring Victoria’s coastline.
Explore more of Victoria
- Day trips from Melbourne
- Road trips from Melbourne
- Melbourne Bucket List
- Gembrook – more than Puffing Billy
- Things to do on the Mornington Peninsula
About the author: Paula Morgan, has travelled to every state in Australia and explored by car, train and motorhome. She loves to explore regional areas and discover the best views, beaches and historic towns across the country.
However she is a city girl at heart and loves exploring what’s on offer in the Australian capitals. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Australia or a local looking for your next getaway her articles have that special touch that can only come from someone who takes the time to explore deeply.
Need more ideas? Join our Australia Travel Tips group where you can ask questions, stay updated with what’s happening and meet a bunch of friendly local experts ready to share their advice!