During the first few days of our trip to Melbourne, we decided to stay at a self-catering apartment in St Kilda’s Beach, so as to be able to remain near the city centre whilst still being able to enjoy some time by the sea.
We hadn’t had time to pop to the shops on our first day at St Kilda’s Beach and I was in no mood to do any cooking, so we ended up searching for a nice café serving breakfast. There are loads of cute little restaurants near the beach, and after some wandering around we ended up at one called 95 Espresso on Acland Street where we tucked into a very generous breakfast.
As you can tell from the picture, Thumper was very excited about the fresh avocado and scrambled eggs!
The wait staff at 95 Espresso were really friendly and helped us to put away our stroller so that it would not be in the way, and the food was generously portioned and affordable. The Barn Owl was very pleased with his coffee which was strong and creamy.
Afterwards, we headed to the beach for a morning on the sand.
The flat that we were staying at had a huge selection of kid’s beach toys to choose from so J and Little E spent many happy hours making sandcastles and decorating them with seaweed.
There was also a very nice boardwalk running most of the length of St Kilda’s beach. When it was close to Thumper’s mid-morning nap, I pushed his pram up and down the boardwalk, enjoying the sunshine and the sea breeze. Thumper doesn’t normally sleep in his pram, but he was lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves whilst watching the yachts and kiteboarders whizzing back and forth over the water.
When he was asleep, I took the opportunity to pop back to Acland Street where I found this great family run place called Falafel Xtra, selling really good value takeaway middle-eastern cuisine and refreshing fresh juices.
Although it was a self-service sort of affair, Mimi, who was running the counter, saw me struggling with Thumper (who had woken up from his nap feeling hungry) and helped me to stuff some pita bread with generous amounts of lamb, couscous, salad and falafel. She even threw in a couple of extra falafel in a paper bag for Thumper!
Armed with some large cups of freshly squeezed juice from Falafel Xtra, I toted the lunch back to my ravenous family, and we sat on a nearby picnic bench to enjoy our meal before heading back to our rooms for a rest.
After a long afternoon nap, we returned to St Kilda’s Beach and messed about there whilst waiting for dusk. This is when the resident fairy penguins return to their nests which are located near the St Kilda’s pier and breakwater.
Basically, most of the fairy penguins in the Melbourne region nest over at Phillip Island, which is famous for their nightly Penguin Parade where thousands of these little penguins walk up the beach to their homes. Roughly a thousand Fairy Penguins formed a colony on the St Kilda’s breakwater and a few of those who cannot find real estate there end up slumming it around the St Kilda’s Pier.
There is a nice little viewing platform at the end of St Kilda’s Pier, where visitors can watch the little blue penguins swim in from the sea and hop along the rocks, whilst keeping a respectful distance. There are even volunteer penguin guides present each evening at sunset to answer questions and help visitors spot the penguins.
I looked up the sunset times beforehand so I had a vague idea what time to head out to the platform. We brought along a picnic dinner, consisting of takeaway fish and chips from Beachcomber Cafe at the St Kilda Sea Baths, then we spread out a picnic mat on the viewing platform and waited for sunset.
We waited patiently on the platform, and before long we started to see one, two, three tiny little black shapes rippling their way through the water and disappearing under the platform.
Then, hopping and waddling silently, the Fairy Penguins appeared on the rocks and began making their way into their homes. Once they reached their burrows, we began to hear them calling to each other and chirruping their songs. It was such a magical time for us to come so close to these lovely little birds and such a great way to end a wonderful day at the beach!
95 Espresso: 95 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria 3182
Open Mon-Fri from 7am and Sat & Sun from 8:30
Tel: +61 3 9534 7141
Find 95 Espresso on Facebook here.
Falafel Xtra: 139 Acland Street, St Kilda, Victoria 3182
Open daily from 8am – 10pm
Tel: +61 03 9525 4877
Find Falafel Xtra on Facebook here.
Beachcomber Cafe: 10-18 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda, Victoria 3182
Tel: +61 03 9593 8233
Find Beachcomber Cafe here.