St. Kilda is a suburb of Melbourne, located just 8 km southeast of the central business district. In years gone by, St. Kilda was the playground of the area's rich and famous, with palatial homes and elaborate hotels lining the streets. Today St. Kilda offers seaside enjoyment for the whole family across a wide range of activities. Many historical landmark buildings are still standing, and the development of the area over time leaves the impression of many eras, stacked atop one another, but somehow coexisting in time. With Luna Park still operating, you can catch a glimpse of the Coney-Island-style diversions of the early 20th Century. The Esplanade Hotel takes you back in time to the 1870s. Current gentrification efforts have not subtracted from St. Kilda's appeal, but have only added another layer to the experience.
With practically every seaside holiday activity you can imagine, St Kilda really does have it all.
One of the most interesting stories about St. Kilda is the origin of the name. The town was named for a sailing vessel, The Lady of St. Kilda, which is a reference to a woman who was imprisoned on an island of Scotland's St. Kilda archipelago. But there never was a Saint Kilda! The name appears to have come about through a misinterpretation. Viking explorers saw this archipelago resembled the shape of a shield, when seen from the ocean, and called the islands Skildar, their word for shield. On maps, this over time changed from Skildar to S. Kilda to St. Kilda.
St. Kilda Pier and Breakwater: One of Melbourne's iconic landmarks, the pier offers gorgeous views of the city and Port Phillip. Visitors can enjoy the historic kiosk, picnic areas, barbeques and playgrounds and fishing. There is also a colony of Little Penguins that charms everyone and native water rats can often be seen swimming or wandering the rocks.
The St. Kilda Festival: Featuring the best of Australian music, the St. Kilda Festival has become the top social event in the local calendar. From humble beginnings in 1980 the Festival has grown into a 9-day extravaganza hosting up to 400,000 visitors each February. Performances go far beyond music, including children's activities, dance, theater, comedy, beach sports, and more. Everything builds to a crescendo on Festival Sunday, the 2nd Sunday in February each year, when the town blocks all the streets and opens up five music stages for the main event.
Skydive the Beach: Get over your fear of heights and work with professional skydivers to parachute your way into St. Kilda. The team from Skydive the Beach offers professional instruction before pairing you with a partner. Your tandem jump physically connects you to a professional skydiver to ensure an exhilarating, safe experience. Jumps are typically from 14,000 feet above beautiful St. Kilda, and photo/video packages are available as mementoes of the trip.
The Prince Public Bar: Inside the Prince Hotel at 29 Fitzroy Street, the Prince Public Bar is a St. Kilda landmark. Unpretentious enjoyment is the key here, and the bar attracts a wide variety of patrons from every walk of life. St. Kilda is well-known as a bohemian enclave that welcomes artists and alternative lifestyles, and getting into the mix is one of the most enticing aspects of spending time in St. Kilda. Having a drink at the Prince mixes great food and beverage with the social aspect of people watching and perhaps making new friends. The Prince Bandroom is the home of live music in St. Kilda, and attracts world-class talent to entertain patrons regularly. It is often standing-room only, but well worth it for a quick pub visit.
Jewish Museum of Australia: This lovely award winning museum charts the history of Jews in Australia and their contribution to the country over the past 200 years. The multi-media exhibitions are an interesting take on Australian history and then there's the chance to pop literally just over the road to see one of the most beautiful synagogues in Melbourne.
St. Kilda Botanic Gardens: With 800+ mature trees, masses of flowers and rose gardens plus an ornamental pond, glasshouses, a nursery, gazebo and a sub-tropical rainforest conservatory, the gardens are St. Kilda's destination to relax in an elegant green oasis. There are also other fine gardens in St. Kilda including the European style Catani Gardens on the foreshore and the West Beach Natural History Garden.
Phone: (38) 8996 377 | 1 Acland Street, St Kilda, VIC
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