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The easy-going surf town of Anglesea is a Great Ocean Road family favourite thanks to its caravan park and surf club; the broad, stretching sands of Anglesea beach are another drawcard. Mellow waves make it a good spot for novice surfers, and no matter what time of year, there’s enough space for everyone.
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The cheerily coloured, highly coveted beach boxes lining Brighton Beach in Melbourne’s inner south-east are the stuff of Instagram reveries – and one section of the popular beach also boasts a dogs-off-lead area where cavoodles can cavort happily alongside their owners in the waves.
Eastern Beach, Geelong
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Central Geelong’s Eastern Beach on the shores of Corio Bay is the epicentre of the city’s cultural life, complete with a shark-proof swimming area with floating islands, an old-fashioned wooden boardwalk and a smartly restored Art Deco kiosk with al fresco dining area overlooking the children’s pool.
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The “other” side of the Mornington Peninsula, Flinders doesn’t have to blow its own trumpet too loudly thanks to a stunningly rugged ocean beach and calm bay beach, surrounded by rolling green hills largely untouched by development. For those in a more active state of mind, there are walking tracks galore.
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A favourite with surfers, Ocean Grove’s wide beach attracts visitors of all stripes to its two kilometers of soft sand and sometimes challenging waves. Swim between the flags at several spots, or head to the shallow waters near the Barwon Heads bridge to look out for stingrays.
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One of the hottest destinations on the Great Ocean Road, Lorne boasts aquamarine waters and a main beach with waves big enough to warrant a surf patrol. The grassy foreshore boasts a play zone with in-ground trampolines and the shops – yes, we mean ice-cream – are just over the road.
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The epicentre of Melbourne’s inner-urban beach life, the calm waters of St Kilda beach are good for a splash and the palm trees of nearby Catani Gardens are an attractive proposition for spreading out a towel. Order fish and chips from Stokehouse’s new kiosk Paper Fish and soak up some vitamin D
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The preferred hangout of Melbourne’s A-list crowd, Portsea’s surf beach is appropriately attractive – and it boasts a workout-worthy walk back up to the car park through steep sand dunes. On the other side of town the shallow, calm waters of the bay have the added bonus of being right near the famous Portsea Hotel.
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Portsea’s closest Mornington Peninsula neighbour is always abuzz over summer and its crescent-shaped front beach is a preferred haunt of families with young children thanks to its calm and shallow bay waters, pristine white sand and the foreshore area’s lawns and shady trees.
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Sleepy Queenscliff has the feel of a yesteryear English seaside town and the main beach, overlooked by grand colonial architecture and soaring Heritage-listed pine trees, continues the illusion. Watch the Sorrento ferry ply its trade across the heads of Port Phillip Bay and drop a line off the historic wooden pier.