Before our trip to Australia, a number of friends had recommended taking a day to visit St Kilda and I’m sure glad we did. St Kilda is a suburb of Melbourne approximately 6km from the City Centre. We took a tram from the Southbank down to St Kilda which only took about 20 minutes. Getting a tram was easy – just remember to buy your Myki from a Myki machine which is available at a number of stops and shops – it’s similar to London’s Oyster Card but in Melbourne you can also use them on buses and trains which means you never have to have change in your pocket to pay on board. You just have to remember to tap on and off! Find more details here.
We visited on a crisp, dry September day. We knew that we were visiting in the ‘off season’ however that didn’t bother us as we were primarily going to see Melbourne’s most famous beach (our first Australian beach) and the promenade and pier having seen so many pictures of it we wanted to walk down them ourselves. We arrived mid-morning and the beach was empty….fantastic….. but way too cold to take our socks and shoes off to dip our toe in Port Phillip Bay.The promenade reminds me of an old English promenade (again making Melbourne and it’s suburbs feel like home) with plenty of eateries and a public swimming baths (St Kilda Sea Baths). Walking down the pier is lovely and great for photo opportunities as you have the beach and Port Phillip Bay to your left, the Melbourne skyline to the right and the Pavillion right in front of you. We were lucky that we were the only people on the pier so could take as much time and as many photographs as we wanted.
St Kilda Pavillion is a historical kiosk and was designed by James Charles Morell and built in 1904 by John W. Douglas. Unfortunately, on 11th September 2003, the structure was destroyed in an arson attack however the kiosk was rebuilt to the original 1903 designs using as many salvaged parts as possible including the weather vane which stands proudly on its roof. It is, in my opinion, the first thing I envisage when thinking about or when someone mentions St Kilda.
St Kilda is also home to the famous beachfront hotel Esplanade Hotel (locally known as ‘The Espy’). The hotel was built in 1878 and remains one of the earliest, largest and most prominent 19th-century resort hotels in Victoria and still looks as grand as I’m sure it did in its heyday. It is also home to the Luna Park theme park (which is 102 years old). We didn’t go in because it had started raining and rollercoasters weren’t on the top of our list of things to do that day. Even if you do not go inside (I think the entry is free you only have to pay if you want to go on the rides) the entrance itself is an awesome photo opportunity…….