Melbourne does not immediately strike you as a beach city but once the temperature soars lots of people flock to the bay for a paddle and some pretty lovely sight-seeing. This summer we drove just 45 minutes out of town to visit to Carrum and Frankston, a perfect half-day trip for little people with lots of fun but not too tiring. Follow our route!
PLAY – Carrum Foreshore Playground
This sandy play area is probably the beachside playground in Melbourne that will get you closest to the beach. It backs onto calm, safe and long Carrum Beach (the northern end of a 9km stretch of sand that reaches to Frankston) and the playground gets right into its beachside setting, with nautical-themed structures interspersed with standard play equipment. There are barbecue and picnic shelters on the perimeter, meaning you could spend a long day just there alone.
This is bowls club bistro with a difference. Crackerjack provides uninterrupted beach views of Port Phillip Bay and overlooks the bowling green on the other side.
The menu extends from breakfast through to dinner and there are a number of children’s options ($12). All servings are generous and the food is decent, but not amazing – sort of standard cafe fare circa 1990. You can also grab takeaway to take to the beach.
A reader has tipped me off that Little French Deli in Bonbeach is worth trying so I’ll go there on my next visit.
Every year over the summer holidays until the Easter school holidays, Sandstorm Events takes 3500 tonnes of brickies loam sand to Frankston’s waterfront.
Twenty sculptors carve out themed sculptures from the sand and this year’s exhibition is ‘A Day at the Zoo’. The exhibition itself is pretty small and how long you spend there depends on whether your kids will closely inspect the intricate details or quickly scan each work.
The site also offers a basic cafe, sand play, free face painting, colouring activities, a Lego corner, sand-sculpting workshops and paid sand art sessions. All in all we were there for about 1 hour and I have to say that it was a pretty expensive hour at $38 for four of us (Baby 2.0 was free).
If you have extra time Frankston has another great foreshore playground based on the theme of sand castles. Playground includes separate toddler-junior and senior-level play equipment. Also note the Frankston Waterfront Festival is on 16/17 January 2016 with rides, entertainment and fireworks.