Sandridge Beach

Melbourne, Victoria

Sandridge Beach is a quiet beach destination in Melbourne with a lot to offer.

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Discover Sandridge Beach in Melbourne

The best way to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne's busy CBD is to take a scenic 5 km drive out to the locals’ favourite spot: Sandridge Beach, located in Port Melbourne. Follow the coastal stretch of road, heading towards Port Melbourne, and it won’t be long before you come across this peaceful beach destination. While it may not be as well-known as other Melbourne beaches, Sandridge is a historically significant site offering a peaceful weekend retreat for families in search of the salt and sway of the ocean.

Sandridge Beach 4
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Origins of Sandridge Beach

The locality now known as Port Melbourne was originally called Sandridge. The name was given by surveyor William Darke in 1839, inspired by the ridge of sand dunes along the beach. This area was crucial for colonial passengers who disembarked at the head of Hobsons Bay before journeying across the sandy land to the Yarra River and the settlement of Melbourne.

William Darke's work involved marking a track to Melbourne, aiding travellers and settlers. Early Sandridge saw few buildings aside from Liardet’s Pier Hotel. By 1849, township allotments were marked out, and Sandridge was defined by six blocks west of the lagoon, now known as the Esplanade. A government jetty was constructed at the end of Bay Street near the Pier Hotel, furthering its role as a port.

The Growth of Sandridge Beach

In 1839, Wilbraham Frederick Evelyn Liardet, along with his family, arrived and established a home on the beachfront, setting the stage for Sandridge's development. Liardet, often regarded as the father of Port Melbourne, undertook various ventures, including building a rudimentary jetty and providing a mail service from the port to Melbourne. The first land sale at Sandridge occurred in 1850, though the area had been surveyed since 1839. Sandridge's importance as Melbourne's port was underscored by the opening of Australia's first passenger railway from Melbourne to Sandridge on 12th September 1854.

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Beacon Cove, a locality near Sandridge Beach - David McKelvey

The 1850s gold rush saw Sandridge's population surge to about 2,000 inhabitants by 1854. The area expanded westwards and northwards to Raglan Street. Initially part of the Melbourne City Council, Sandridge achieved separate ward status in 1856, electing its own councillors. On 13th July 1860, Sandridge became a municipal district, and William Morley, a local coal merchant, became the first Chairman of the Council.

The area evolved into a borough in 1863, was renamed Port Melbourne in 1884, attained town status in 1893, and was proclaimed a city on 14th May 1919. The Port Melbourne Town Hall, built in 1869, became a focal point, with new additions made in 1881 to house council chambers and offices. Today, the name Sandridge survives in the names of Sandridge Life Saving Club, established in 1927, Sandridge Beach, and various businesses.

Visiting Sandridge Beach Today

Sandridge Beach is a shallow and safe beach, ideal for relaxation. Known for its quiet, flat waters, the beach is suitable for families seeking beach walks, sunbathing, and shallow paddling. While not a popular swimming spot due to the occasional seaweed accumulation and shipping pollution, the beach’s calm and serene environment offers a perfect escape from city life. The beach is relatively uncrowded even during peak seasons, providing a comfortable and peaceful experience.

Beyond paddling, sandcastle building, and sunbathing, Sandridge Beach also has other popular activities such as SUP-surfing, which is helped by the beach's calm waters. While surfing is not feasible, the adjoining seawall and breakwaters provide excellent spots for fishing. The beach's redevelopment and landscaping efforts have transformed it into an attractive location for visitors.

Recreational Activities and Amenities

Sandridge Beach is free for all, with various essential amenities. Large sheltered picnic tables, BBQ facilities, clean water, a café, and a kiosk serving hot food and cold drinks make it an ideal spot for family outings and picnics. For fitness enthusiasts, a bike path runs to the east, perfect for a scenic cycle and families can make use of the children's playground.

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Accessibility and Safety

The beach is patrolled by lifeguards on weekends during the warmer months, prioritising the wellbeing of visitors and ensuring a safe environment for everyone. Dogs are permitted on specific sections of the beach, with designated off-leash areas for pet owners to enjoy.

Accessibility is also given priority at Sandridge Beach. Located on the Bass Strait, the beach is easily accessible with ample parking available. The beach's urban setting makes it easy to reach, whether by walking, car, or public transport. The Sandridge Life Saving Club now features a modern clubhouse with dressing rooms and a kiosk. A seawall frames the back of the beach, complemented by a promenade along its length.

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- Dan Gordon

Our Thoughts about Sandridge Beach…

Sandridge Beach in Port Melbourne is a hidden gem with a rich historical legacy and modern-day charm. Its transformation from a crucial colonial port to a serene urban beach adds to its charm and makes it a must-visit destination. Whatever you need from your weekend getaway, Sandridge Beach will deliver. Explore its tranquil shores, enjoy its amenities, and immerse yourself in the storied past of this coastal haven.

Sandridge Beach
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Discover More about Melbourne with CityDays

Ready to discover more of what Melbourne has to offer?

CityDays have two treasure and scavenger hunts in Melbourne to choose from, both of which combine the fun of an escape room with the historic facts and whimsical trivia of a walking tour!

For those interested in exploring Melbourne’s Gold Rush history, check out our Frozen Idols, Shifting Walls route. If you want to unravel the mysteries of St Kilda, take a look at Chameleon Lives.

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What you need to know

Sandridge Beach
Sandridge Beach Cycleway, Port Melbourne, Victoria 3207, Australia
-37.839625, 144.923179
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