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11 Great Things to Do in St Kilda Melbourne

11 Great Things to Do in St Kilda Melbourne

If you’re looking for some great things to do in St Kilda, I have you covered! This post highlights everything from the iconic Luna Park and stunning botanical gardens to the beautiful stretch of beach and the famous St. Kilda little penguins!

St Kilda is a vibrant Melbourne beach suburb and the perfect place to spend a day away from the city or for a long weekend, chilling with friends and enjoying the St Kilda attractions.

During my 6-week road trip around Australia, we stayed for two nights in St Kilda after arriving in Melbourne following our Adelaide to Melbourne 3-night road trip via the Great Ocean Road. We wanted to be by the ocean rather than in the centre of Melbourne, so St Kilda was a perfect choice.

So after returning our hired car and sightseeing in Melbourne, we hopped on a tram and arrived in St Kilda in under 30 minutes.

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Best Things to Do in St Kilda Victoria

Find your inner child at Luna Park

If Luna Park looks familiar, it’s because its twin is located in Sydney Harbour; however, Luna Park in St Kilda is Australia’s oldest theme park, having opened in 1912.

Mr Moon’s iconic open mouth welcomes adults and children to his amusement park to have fun on the carousel, Ferris wheel, and try-your-luck stalls.

Luna Park is a must-visit in St Kilda, and you can buy a ticket for unlimited rides or a ticket that will allow entry to look around this iconic Melbourne landmark, with one ride included.

Palais Theatre

Orange coloured art deco building with sign Palais Theatre above long windows.

Next to Luna Park is another iconic St Kilda landmark, the Art Deco Palais Theatre. Constructed in the early 1920s, it has hosted many stars, like Ed Sheeran, Shirley Bassey and Bob Dylan.

If you want to visit the theatre in St Kilda, please check the official Palais Theatre website for details of what’s on during your visit.

Stroll around the Botanical Gardens

I love exploring botanical gardens around the world, so I had to visit this one.

Created in the 1800s, this little oasis in the heart of St Kilda has beautiful planting, from palm trees to colourful flowers.

At its centre is an ornamental lake, home to a figure called The Rain Man. It is solar-powered, and raindrops continuously fall from his umbrella. It is rather lovely to see.

St Kilda’s botanical garden is the perfect place to bring a picnic and relax under the shade of the tree because it can get hot in St Kilda, even on a windy day!

Buy a mouthwatering cake from Ackland Street

shop front window showing display of cakes.

No trip to St Kilda would be complete without a trip to the famous Acland Cake Shop.

It opened 90 years ago and is still popular in St Kilda. Its baked pastries include Crostoli and French Vanilla Slices.

It’s hard to decide what to buy when faced with so many mouth-watering cakes. We ended up buying two meringues and a cream slice, which were delicious.

Grab a bite to eat at Fitzroy Street

St Kilda’s hub is Fitzroy Street, where you will find shops, restaurants, bars, entertainment hubs and tons of visitors all out for a good time.

During the day, the pavement becomes a space for outdoor dining with tables and chairs to accommodate hungry diners. At night, the area comes alive with music and funky bars that serve craft beers and cocktails.

If you want nightlife in St Kilda, Fitzroy Street is where you need to head to.

Wander along Melbourne’s most famous beach

Walking along the beach is one of the best free things to do in St Kilda.

It stretches around 700 metres between the harbour and the marina and has a lovely parkland foreshore called South Beach Reserve. Here you will find many lovely restaurants and cafes.

The iconic Beachcomber Cafe is a local favourite whether you need breakfast, lunch or dinner.

On my second morning, I woke up early and walked the length of the beach. At the end of my walk, I treated myself to an iced coffee in the marina, which was lovely. From the beach, you get great views of the Melbourne city skyline.

Watch kite surfers take to the air

kite surfers and boats in the ocean with Melbourne skyline in the distance.

St Kilda’s coastal positioning means it gets a lot of westerlies (winds), which plays havoc with your hairdo but is perfect for kite surfers.

If you want to have a go at this popular St Kilda watersport, Kite Republic offer introductory lessons.

Stroll along the iconic St Kilda Pier.

The original pier, built in the 1800s, is an excellent vantage point to watch the comings and goings in Port Philip Bay, especially showtime with the fairy penguins and the amazing kite surfers as they rise out of the water and into the air.

At the end of the pier is a kiosk offering refreshments and light bites. The Little Blue Restaurant is also available for evening dining.

* The pier is currently closed for renovation until the end of 2024.

Spot the adorable St Kilda little penguins

black and white penguin sitting in the rocks

St Kilda is an enchanting little haven, home to a thriving colony of over 1400 Little Penguins. This species is only found on the Southern Australian coast and parts of New Zealand.

I had read about these adorable creatures before I arrived, but I didn’t think I would stand a chance of seeing one, and yet I did! A Little Penguin nestled between the breakwater rocks at the end of the pier.

St Kilda’s Little Penguins (or Fairy Penguins) spend 80% of their day in the ocean, but in the evening, at dusk, the colony comes ashore. You can view them from the breakwater promenade.

There is another form of wildlife called rakali (native water rats) living close to the penguins, but I am glad to say I didn’t see any myself.

Visit the Sunday Esplanade Market.

Esplanade Market, an institution since the 1970s, is packed with artisan traders and a must-do activity in St Kilda on a Sunday.

Each stall is run by the artist or craftsperson who has produced the items on display. They are happy to talk more about their crafts and help you choose the perfect gift to take home.

The Sunday craft market is open every Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (October to April) and from 10 am to 4 pm (May to September) along the esplanade.

Take to the water aboard the St Kilda Ferry

The St Kilda ferry runs on weekends, allowing tourists and locals to enjoy boat rides around Port Philip Bay. There are three places to embark, one of which is at St Kilda Pier.

Sunset penguin cruises are also available to take you out to watch the antics of Little Blue Penguins of St Kilda.

Conclusion

During my two days in St Kilda, I found this seaside suburb to have a quirky vibe but, sadly, also many unsavoury characters hanging about cafes and bars, which I didn’t like. That said, it is still a destination in southeast Australia worth visiting. Just be vigilant, especially at night.

St Kilda is one of the best beaches in Victoria and a great starting point for reaching Tasmania by sea, my next port of call.

The overnight Spirit of Tasmania Ferry departs from the Spirit of Tasmania Quay in Geelong, a 50-minute taxi ride from St Kilda.

If you are contemplating whether Tasmania is worth visiting, I recommend it 100%. It ended up being my favourite place to visit in Australia.

Please Pin for Future Travel to Australia 

Are you looking for further inspiration for Australian travel? Please check out the following posts:

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8 Great Things to Do in Strahan on Tasmania’s Remote West Coast

11 Sensational Things To Do in Freycinet National Park Tasmania

Best Things to See in 48 Hours in Hobart, Tasmania

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Shawshank47

Sunday 25th of June 2023

Told my son about your list as he lives in st kilda and he said there are no ferries in st kilda

WhereAngieWanders

Sunday 25th of June 2023

Hi there thanks for sharing the post with your son and for the feedback. I will change the wording to highlight that it is more a tourist ferry than one for locals although they can still enjoy using the St Kilda Ferry at weekends to get across the bay. The ferry picks up from St Kilda Pier 😀