READ: Praise The Lord, Beaches in Melbourne you can actually swim at!

Food, coffee, shopping – there are many things in Melbourne you can have complete faith in. When it comes to its beaches however, it’s more of a mixed bag. Ask a Melbournian and they’ll rattle off a list of beaches they truly believe rival that of Sydney or Perth., but alas, you’ll soon discover this is simply not the case. If you venture beyond St Kilda and Brighton, you may just find a little slice of paradise. Here are seven beaches where you can cool off on a Melbourne scorcher.

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Williamstown Beach

This is the western suburbs’ worst-kept secret. Head away from the marina – and the crowds – to the sandy strip around the point. Known as ‘Willy Beach’ to the locals (keep your bathers on!), it’s a hot spot for swimmers, sunbakers and sailors. There are few waves, which makes it perfect for lolling in the shallow waters. BYO float.

Distance from CBD: 25 minutes

Nearest train station: Williamstown Beach  

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Half Moon Bay

Enveloped by dramatic cliffs, Half Moon Bay is a pristine, crescent-shaped beach where you can easily swim in the shallows. There’s a boat launching facility and a nearby pier where you can watch the locals practise their belly flops. The wreck of the HMAS Cerberus (an 1870s battleship) lies just off shore and has created an artificial reef for divers. Working up an appetite? The kiosk fish and chips are legendary.  

Distance from CBD: 40 minutes

Nearest train station: Sandringham

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Mordialloc Beach

Divided into three sections, Mordi Beach, as it’s known to the locals, offers plenty of space to spread out and soak up some rays. There’s everything you could need for a day in the sun, including a BBQ area, café, kiosk and restaurant. Its most famous attraction? A weathered pier that stretches 300 metres out to sea – snap a post for Instagram.

Distance from CBD: 40 minutes

Nearest train station: Mordialloc

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Seaford Beach

Dubbed the “bargain version” of Sorrento, Seaford Beach is still somewhat of a hidden gem. Rated one of Melbourne’s cleanest beaches, its glistening, turquoise waters make the perfect place to cool off. Seaford Pier is popular among fishers, but if you prefer not to sweat for your lunch, there’s a fish and chips shop back across the road. Plan ahead and get here for the popular Seaford Farmers’ Market, held on the third Sunday of each month (8am-1pm).

Distance from CBD: 45 minutes

Nearest train station: Seaford

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Mount Martha Beach

Known for its picture-perfect bathing boxes, Mount Martha Beach boasts golden sands and sparkling views across the Bay. Divided by a creek, the beach is split into Mount Martha South and Mount Martha North. For those seeking a little heart-racing activity, the Pillars are an adrenaline junkies dream. Located just along the Mount Martha Esplanade, you’ll spot them leaping off the cliffs into the cool blue water below. Back at the main strip, South Beach Project has become a stalwart for breakfast and lunch.

Distance from CBD: One hour, 10 minutes

Nearest train station: Frankston

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Rye

Think old-fashioned Aussie holidays and you’ll conjure up images of Rye. Nestled toward the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, this charming destination manages to be less pretentious than its cashed-up neighbours. The small, sandy beach features a scenic jetty – from which you can snorkel – and great picnic and barbecue facilities. Enjoy a game of beach cricket or join the crew stand up paddle boarding, then indulge your sweet tooth at a string of gelato stores (mint choc included). Make a day of it and check out some of the 40 world-class wineries in the surrounding hinterland.

Distance from CBD: One hour, 20 minutes

Nearest train station: Frankston

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Sorrento Front and Back Beaches

A perennial summer favourite for Melbournians, Sorrento is located on the southern-most tip of the Bay and an easy 90-minute drive from the CBD. The village bay beach is great for cooling off or testing your balance kayaking. There’s boat launching and yacht facilities as well as a cycling and walking track. If you want a little more action, head to the wild and rugged Sorrento Back Beach, located at the end of Ocean Beach Road. Framed by headland and reef, the beach forms an amphitheatre where surfers like to show off. There are also gorgeous rock pools to explore at low tide.

Distance from CBD:  One hour, 30 minutes

Nearest train station: Frankston

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*Article written by Ellie Schneider. Images are not our own, sourced from Google.