Day Trip to St Kilda, Melbourne (Family-Friendly Things to Do and See)

When we were planning our trip to Melbourne city one of the things I really wanted to do was see the penguins at Phillip Island.  But it takes over two hours to drive there or a very expensive day tour.

As an alternative, friends of ours suggested we see the St Kilda penguins instead.  So we set out to St Kilda beach 7km from the CBD to discover this 700m stretch of coastline.  It doesn’t sound like it is very big, but trust me there are plenty of things to do in St Kilda for all ages – big and small.

Join me as I share with you our day trip to St Kilda and help you to plan yours.

In this Article Discover What to do in St Kilda on a Day Trip

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white sandy beach of St Kilda one of the things to do on a day trip to St Kilda in Melbourne Victoria
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Things to Do on a Day Trip to St Kilda

Acland Street

Start your morning strolling down Acland Street.  Meander through lots of fun and quirky shops.

Then ogle over the delicious cakes on display at the patisseries towards the beach end of the street.  Don’t forget to stop for morning tea and enjoy the pastry that most appeals to you.

Cake display of a variety of pastries at bakery on Acland Street, St Kilda
Acland Street cakes

Top Trip Tip: Take money or a credit card with you in your day trip bag

The Beach

Then it’s time to burn off those calories.  There are boardwalks along the entire beachfront of St Kilda and onto adjoining beaches.  You can either walk or hire a bike, the kids could even enjoy scootering along.

white sandy beach of St Kilda
St Kilda beach

When we were in Melbourne late last year (2019) Melbourne offered a bike share program “Blue Bikes,” however this program has since been cancelled L so you can hire bikes from St Kilda Cycles.

If you’ve got good weather then stop to play in the sand and have a swim in the calm waters.

Top Trip Tip: To save space in your day bag pack a lightweight and sand-free microfibre beach towel

Discover what else you may like to include when

The Block

If you are a big fan of the Australian renovation series The Block this is your chance to catch a glimpse of the 2018 and 2019 Block locations and see the final results (from the exterior) – see of you can find the channel nine logo at each of the properties.

  • 2018 – The Gatwick:  34 Fitzroy Street
  • 2019 – The Oslo:  38 Grey Street
Facade of the "The Gatwick" the location of the 2018 competition The Block
The Gatwick from “The Block”

They are located just a couple of “blocks” inland from the beach.

Parks and Garden

Also inland from the beach are a few parks and gardens.

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St Kilda Adventure Playground

If the kids are craving some attention this playground should satisfy them in spades.

St Kilda Botanical Gardens

What was once a gravel pit and rubbish tip is now beautiful manicured gardens with paved walkways, ornamental pond and a conservatory.  There are also picnic grounds, playground and giant chess set.

Catani Gardens

The Catani Gardens are actually on the beachfront with a lovely gazebo overlooking the water.

Top Trip Tip: These parks and gardens make a great spot to stop for a picnic lunch.

Continue your day trip planning with this

Luna Park

Back along the beach make your way to a place full of fun activities for all ages – Luna Park. (Temporally Closed see website for re-opening times).

The facade of Luna Park of the open moth of a clown as the entrance
Luna Park

The park opened in 1912 and its wooden-framed roller coaster is the oldest running roller coaster in the world.  There are also an additional 21 rides and attractions to keep you entertained.

Palais Theatre

Located next door to Luna Park is the iconic Palais Theatre.  Come back here later in the evening to enjoy some live music.  (Temporally Closed check the website for re-opening times).

Over the years many famous artists like The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Kenny Rodgers, Bob Dylan and even the Festival of Russian Ballet have performed in this beautiful art deco building.

St Kilda Pier

As the afternoon wears on make your way to St Kilda Pier that was built in 1853 to help early settlers unload timber and building materials.  Now it is a lovely spot to walk, fish and enjoy the view back over the city.

people walking along St Kilda pier with kiosk near the end of jetty
St Kilda Pier

Near the end of the jetty is the historic kiosk built in 1904 and is pretty spot to enjoy afternoon tea.

Top Trip Tip: Take a jacket as it colds cold from the wind whipping off the sea

Penguins

Around the corner from the kiosk is St Kilda Breakwater.  A rocky peninsular is home to 1400 Little Penguins.  Wooden boardwalks and stairs descend down to the lower parts of the rock wall.

Viewing the St Kilda Penguins is a free activity .  However the volunteers do ask that you remain quiet, don’t feed the Penguins and don’t use your camera flash. (Temporally Closed see website for re-opening times).

Little penguin looking out of rocks at St Kilda
St Kilda penguin

Whilst the bulk of the penguins return to their nests at around sunset if you are quiet and patient you are likely to see some penguins huddled in their rocky cave homes.

Top Trip Tip: This makes a great alternative to making your way two hours south-east to Phillip Island to view penguins

Dinner

Finish off the day at one of the many restaurants or pubs you passed throughout the day that enticed you to return.

Top Trip Tips: Planning Your Visit to St Kilda

Location

St Kilda is located about 7 km south-east of the Melbourne CBD on Port Philip Bay.  It is not actually directly on the ocean.  However Port Phillip Bay is 1930km2 with 264km of total coastline, St Kilda only uses 700m.  Giving it a beach-like appearance.

map of location of St Kilda in relation to Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne CBD
St Kilda location

To learn the exact location of all the places mentioned check out this interactive map.

Getting There

It will take 15 mins to drive to St Kilda from the CBD of Melbourne. 

Alternatively you can catch the tram.  To use the tram you will need a MYKI card visit the Melbourne Public Transport website to learn all about to where to purchase and how top up your card.

Top Trip Tip: Don’t risk catching the tram without a MYKI card, inspectors are constantly checking onboard the trams

What to Take 

They say that in Melbourne you can experience four season in one day.  During our visit to Melbourne this was fairly true for most days.  However do consider the weather forecast and the official season that you plan your day trip to St Kilda.

In summer pack:

  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Bathing costume
  • Beach towel

In winter pack:

  • Water proof jacket
  • Umbrella

Always include in your day trip bag:

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Money
  • Tram/MYKI card

For more details on essentials for your day bag check out the Day Trip Packing List

If you are planning on spending your day mostly at the beach check out the Beach Day Packing List

If you are planning on eating out in the parks or at the beach check out the Picnic Packing Checklist

More Information

We visited Melbourne for a week’s family holiday in late 2019.  Learn more about what to do in Melbourne:

Or read one of these travel guides.

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.
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