As the mid-13th century folk song declares, “Sumer Is Icumen In”.
If you’re not fluent in Middle English, this basically means “Summer Has Arrived”.
Well, not quite. But it’s fast approaching, which means it’s time for you to stop thinking about work and start planning your end-of-year holiday.
A favourite pastime in Australia is, of course, the beach – and Victoria has plenty of these to choose from.
It’s about a 20-minute drive in your rental to Williamstown, a suburb that’s home to one of the most expansive beaches you’re likely to see.
There is plenty of parking at Williamstown Beach, as well as a playground, BBQ and picnic facilities, and a gorgeous park. So, expect to spend a whole fun-filled day here.
If you need a break from the beach, there are a number of attractions in Williamstown itself. On the third Sunday of every month, for example, there’s a magnificent craft market. This has been running for over 25 years, and features live music, up to 100 stalls peddling food, toys and other knick-knacks, and a whole lot more.
You may also want to stop by the HMAS Castlemaine, a stunning corvette (a type of warship) that served Australia during WWII. It’s the last of its kind still floating, and has been expertly restored to all its former glory.
It’s located at Gem Pier, just a short walk from the beach, and is near the Williamstown Information Centre. So, you can pick up some brochures while you’re here and find out what else there is to do in this glorious beach-side suburb.
In the next bay, you’ll find Altona. This is about a 25-minute drive from Melbourne, or a 30-minute drive in your Melbourne Airport car rental.
Altona Beach is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike, and contains a no-boat zone which makes it perfect for swimming and other water-based activities. Again, there’s a park, BBQ and picnic facilities, a playground and public bathrooms here for your convenience.
If you’re feeling a bit peckish after all that swimming, we recommend heading into Altona and paying the good folk at Waffee Waffles and Coffee a visit.
This cafe is located at 25 Harrington Avenue, and has been named the 2nd best eatery in Altona. It offers authentic Belgian waffles in a variety of flavours, as well as coffee and hot chocolate that’s been described as “to die for” on Trip Advisor.
If you head in the opposite direction to Williamstown and Altona, you’ll find St Kilda and a white, sandy beach that you’ll never want to leave. It’ll take you about 20 minutes to drive here from Melbourne.
St Kilda Beach is the place to be for those who love swimming, walking, running, cycling, water-skiing or boating. You can also skydive and surf over the crashing waves, or enjoy some quality time snorkelling under them.
The suburb itself is a hive of activity, with a range of cultural attractions, shopping opportunities, spas, theatres and world-class restaurants. The Jewish Museum of Australia is located here, an award-winning collection of artefacts and information about the country’s “dynamic Jewish community” – both past and present.
Or, get a little retail therapy on Acland Street and Fitzroy Street – the two designated “shopping strips” in this vibrant town. It’s up to you whether you use this opportunity to pick up some souvenirs, a few bits and pieces for yourself, or simply to window-shop.
We’re completely excited for Summer 2013-14, and you will be too if you start planning your end-of-year holiday.