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Home to some of Melbourne’s liveliest streets, its prettiest beach and its best amusement park, St Kilda is a rising star among this city’s many diverse neighbourhoods. It wasn’t too long ago that Fitzroy Street, the main strip for trendy dining, shopping and nightlife, was a seedy downtrodden corner of Melbourne that most residents avoided. Today, thanks largely to St Kilda Beach, this area is back on top and is particularly popular with young professionals. With a car rental, it’s a breeze to move between St Kilda and the rest of Melbourne or zip out into the countryside for fun day away from the concrete and congestion.
Who to Book With
Visitors who need to rent a car in St Kilda will find a mix of local outfits like Access and well-known international chains such as Europcar. There are even more options directly at Melbourne’s airport for arriving travellers, with car hire a popular choice considering the transport required to reach the city and St Kilda. Online advanced bookings are always a good idea in sunny Melbourne, especially during the busy summer season at St Kilda Beach.
Best Time to Go
The seasons are opposite ‘Down Under’, making November through March the most popular time to visit St Kilda Beach. Daytime highs hovers around 26ºC, creating ideal conditions for lounging on the sand. St Kilda is slightly cooler than other Australian cities in the winter from June to August but temperatures still hang around 14ºC. Rental rates on cars tend to jump during the major festivals at St Kilda so keep an eye out for early-bird deals at online booking sites.
Need to Know Essentials
To pick up a car hire, be prepared with these documents:
- An International Driving Permit or UK driving licence
- A valid piece of photo ID such as a passport
- The same credit card that was used for the online booking
- Printed rental confirmation
Melbourne offers a few unique driving challenges for visitors, but nothing that should deter you from renting a car here. The biggest obstacle is the trams, which require that drivers behind them stop whenever they do. Making a turn in the city is also tricky because of the rules that vary by district. Drivers in St Kilda are adept, but weekend traffic around the beach gets pretty hectic. Add to this a lack of parking and most travellers reserve their cars for moving between districts or venturing out of town.
Our Guide to Australia contains more detailed driving information.
An integrated system of trams, trains and buses service Melbourne and its suburbs. Public Transport Victoria manages the whole show and generally gets high marks for its efficiency and cleanliness. Around St Kilda, the trams are the most useful form of public transport because they tend to run to major landmarks around Melbourne. The Myki fare system has several convenient ticket options for visitors. Prices are determined by two zones and St Kilda is in Zone 2 while downtown Melbourne is Zone 1.
There are two types of ticket with Myki: a two-hour ticket costs £2 for travel in Zone 1 or £1.50 for travel in Zone 2, while it costs £4 to travel between zones. A full-day ticket is £4.50 for Zone 1 travel, £3 for Zone 2 travel and £8 for travel in both zones. Taxis are also on hand for quick rides, while even a car can be useful here since Melbourne’s city centre is laid out on a logical grid pattern that is easy to navigate.
Melbourne boasts the world’s oldest tram network and it’s the star of this city’s public transportation scene. The city has several hundred of these non-polluting trams that cover over 200 miles of track. Yarra Trams are the ideal way to get around St Kilda and move between the suburb and downtown Melbourne, a trip that takes about 25 minutes and costs around £4. Trams 16 and 96 run along Fitzroy Street to St Kilda Beach from the city centre, with fares around £1.50 per trip.
Public Transport Victoria manages the bus system in Melbourne, which has several routes running through St Kilda. There are over 300 routes in total that operate from 06:00 to 21:00, Monday to Friday, and from 08:00 to 21:00 at weekends. There is also a free Tourist Shuttle that runs in a 1 hour, 30 minute loop around the city centre and stops at 13 major landmarks. While this shuttle doesn’t pass through St Kilda, the district can easily be reached via the tram.
Williamstown Ferries runs regular boats between St Kilda and Williamstown, with onward service to Melbourne CBD and several important tourist sites along the city’s waterfront. These ferries depart from St Kilda Pier and are a great way to get downtown from St Kilda for about £5 each way.
Melbourne’s city centre is flooded with yellow taxis but they are less common in the suburbs like St Kilda. All of the taxi companies in the city, like Silver Top, use meters, but fares must be paid upfront for any trip between 22:00 and 05:00. In St Kilda, it is easiest to phone for a pick up. At £40 for a cab ride between downtown Melbourne of St Kilda, the tram is usually a more appealing option.
St Kilda makes a perfect jumping-off point for drives along the Port Phillip Bay coastal area southeast of Melbourne. To the east of the city the scene immediately switches from concrete to grass, with some spectacular nature parks like the Yarra Ranges and Mount Worth within easy driving distance of St Kilda. The Mornington Peninsula is another hot spot for day drives, with its mix of chic seaside towns and outdoor recreation.
Mornington Peninsula – The eastern side of Port Phillip Bay is called the Mornington Peninsula, a gorgeous slice of the planet with beaches, parks and cool little towns. Mornington is the main town here and Portsea is the most glitzy. There are wineries to inspect, farmers’ markets in most towns and plenty of beaches for an afternoon on the sand.
Phillip Island – This large island at the mouth of Western Port Bay is a great day drive from St Kilda, especially during the summer. A bridge connects the island to the mainland, which is just across the water from the Mornington Peninsula. From the penguins at Summerland Beach to seaside cafés in the main town of Cowes, there is more than a full day of fun on Phillip Island.
Yarra Valley – The wine grown in this lush rolling valley to the east of Melbourne is some of the best in the country. By driving along the easy Eastern Freeway and the Maroondah Highway, you can be tasting wine at a vineyard in an hour from St Kilda. Several charming towns, including Healesville, Warburton and Belgrave, provide ample reason to stop off for some lunch or shopping.