A mere 6km from the city centre, St Kilda is a seaside haven, renowned for its sandy beaches, palm-lined boardwalks, incredible sunsets, green spaces and colourful atmosphere. Home to some of Melbourne’s most well-known attractions, including the famed Luna Park, St Kilda has something for everyone.
As one of the city’s most famous beaches, St Kilda beach attracts both local and international attention for its picture perfect views and water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding, sailing and jet skiing. When summer days hit the 40-degree celsius mark, St Kilda Beach is a popular respite from the scorching heat; don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, towel, and lots of sunscreen for some much-needed R&R by the water.
If swimming pools are more your style, head into the nearby St Kilda Sea Baths [10/18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda]. Equipped with Australia’s only heated seawater pool, hydrotherapy spa pool, and aromatherapy steam room, ‘the baths’ as they are affectionately known, are the ultimate beachside spa experience.
Take a walk down the iconic St Kilda Pier [Pier Road, St Kilda] for some of the most Instagramable sunset shots and keep an eye out for penguins coming in post-hunting for fish at sea after sunset. Find out more about the penguins viewing here. Pro tip: Get to the Pier early and nab yourself a good spot – everyone wants to see these little guys! Once you’ve said hello to a furry friend or two, wander back down the Pier and continue to watch the sun set from your table at the historic Little Blue restaurant and kiosk [St Kilda Pier, St Kilda]. Of course, there’s always room for dessert and the Mr Whippy ice cream vans outside have your sweet-tooth cravings sorted. Need to walk off dinner first? Why not make your way down to Beachcomber Café for a slice of homemade, heavenly dessert.
As with most outdoor oriented locations, you’re bound to find fitness fanatics running, jogging and cycling through the many parks and gardens in the vicinity. Why not blend in with the locals and get those steps up or go for a cycle? You’ll find Melbourne Bike Share stations dotted around St Kilda. These bikes are designed for short trips across the city and subscriptions to use the bikes can be purchase for as little as $2.90 per day. Just swipe your credit card (Visa or Mastercard accepted) and you can have wheels for half an hour, a couple of hours or a full day. You can then return your bike to any of the many central city docking stations. Find out all you need to know about Melbourne Bike Share here.
For those wanting to be at one with nature, the St Kilda Botanical Gardens [11 Herbert Street, St Kilda] should be first on your must-do list. Established in the 1800s, the heritage-listed gardens now encompass a remarkable 810 tree and plant specimens. Take a leisurely stroll through the lush gardens and experience the stunning green foliage, majestic treetops and serene lake. Stay a little later into the day and try your luck in a game of giant chess on the grounds before the sun goes down.
For another walk down greenery lane, head to the ever-popular Cantani Gardens [Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda]. With plenty of shade from the expansive trees that line the park, barbecue facilities and a fantastic kids playground, this local favourite is an ideal spot for a relaxing picnic or lazy day in the sunshine.
There’s no shortage of amazing cafes and restaurants in this part of the city, serving up quality coffee and morsels to get your day started right. Matcha Mylkbar is popular for its plant-based brekkies, while nothing beats a hearty breakfast or indulgent treat from Fitzrovia. LeRoy Espresso is a favourite for anyone looking for gluten free, paleo, organic and vegan options – open 365 days a year so regardless of your dietary needs, you won’t go hungry. Don’t go about your day feeling hangry, fill up on a big brekky, pastries or copious amount of coffee at Il Fornaio before a day of exploring.
Home to acclaimed eateries and historical favourites ready to combat the inevitable lunch or dinner time hunger pangs, all conveniently within walking distance of the beach and gardens. Pop in for a leisurely lunch at Cicciolina [130 Acland Street, St Kilda] for traditional Italian fare, Cantina [2 Acland Street, St Kilda] for all-day Mexican, or the freshest catch of the day at Claypots Seafood Bar [213 Barkly Street, St Kilda]. Unwind after a meal at the refurbished Espy [11 The Esplanade, St Kilda] for a cheeky drink, or head to Republica [10/18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda] for some tipple with a side of uninterrupted bay views.
Post lunch might not be the best time to hit up a rollercoaster but there’s so much more to experience at the famed Luna Park [18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda] Walk through the iconic laughing face façade and hop on the thrilling ride, revel in the carnivalesque atmosphere, or test your skills on games. Whatever you choose, get ready for only the most fun of days!
St Kilda’s Fitzroy Street, Acland Street and Carlisle Street undoubtedly make up the festive atmosphere often linked with this area. Lined with outdoor pubs, cafes and restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines, you can also pick up some delicious European style cakes and browse the designer shops for funky clothing and homewares. Sample some of the best fashion boutiques and check out independent music and quaint book stores. Whether it’s a hidden cocktail bar, booming outdoor terrace, or gourmet restaurant, this trifecta of trendy areas has got you covered.
Each February also sees the return of the much-loved St Kilda Festival, Australia’s biggest free street festival, showcasing the country’s best musicians and artists, right on the St Kilda foreshore. Held on the second Sunday in February, the St Kilda Festival sees over 400,000 attendees partaking in a vast range of performances, workshops, kids’ entertainment, sport, dance and carnival rides. If a day of music, fun and frivolity by the water sounds good, then this is a must.
As the original hipster suburb of Melbourne, St Kilda’s nightlife is next to none. Fitzroy, Acland and Carlisle Streets, peppered with trendy bars, cool cafes and pumping live music venues, come alive at dusk – perfect for a pub crawl or finding a club to dance the night away at. The Local Taphouse [184 Carlisle Street, St Kilda] pumps out craft beer like there’s no tomorrow, Captain Baxter [10-18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda] is St Kilda’s first beachside cocktail and lounge bar with sea views, while the Prince of Wales [29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda] sees up and coming bands play into the wee hours of the morning. This is a neighbourhood that takes its party reputation seriously – it’s time to put your dancing shoes on and shimmy the night away.
Hop on a route 16 tram from Swanston Street, a route 96 tram from Bourke Street, or a route 12 tram from Collins Street (around 25 minutes) to St Kilda. Alternatively, catch a route 3 tram from Swanston Street to Carlisle Street (around 35 minutes) or Alma Road (around 40 minutes).
And if you’re visiting on a Friday or Saturday night, PTV’s Night Network sees a selection of train lines and tram routes, including the route 96 tram to and from St Kilda, run all night to get you back to the city whenever you choose to call it a night.
To have a journey planner and real-time tram service updates at your fingertips, download the free PTV app today. Learn more about the PTV app and download it here.