The Bayside Coastal Art trail covers seventeen kilometres along one of Melbourne's most picturesque coastlines.
The trail celebrate the lives and artwork of notable Australian artists who painted the Bayside coast in years past and maps an important part of the area's cultural heritage whilst enhancing the enjoyment for present day visitors to the coast.
There are now 90 signs along along the entire length of the Coastal Trail which has been expanded from simply prominent artworks to now comprise four complete elements: Art, History, Indigenous and Environment.
The prominent Art Trail element includes work by famous Heidelberg School founders Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Frederick McCubbin, completed during summer camps between 1886 and 1907. Many artists such as Arthur Boyd, Clarice Beckett, C.A. Wilson and Jesse Trail followed in the footsteps of Heidelberg School painters in painting en plein-air. The trail signs are located as close as possible to where the artists stood sometimes over one hundred years ago.
The Indigenous Trail comprises works of contemporary indigenous artists and is based on stories authored by Boon wurrung Elder, Carolyn Briggs. The Trail outlines the close relationship between the Boon wurrung culture and the coastal environment.
Bayside’s rich coastal history (epitomised by the colourful Brighton Bathing Boxes) and the significant local flora and fauna are also prominent elements of the Bayside Coastal Trail
At the east end of the trail (#42) there is an unshaded picnic table and a path leads down to Mentone beach. The track is sandy with a hard gravel base. There are plenty of lookout points along the path and seats and water taps are also strategically positioned along the route. At #40 we saw pelicans in the sea and there are unshaded seats and a water tap here.
Make sure you take the track which leads off to the Sea Scout beach because at low tide there are opportunities to see sea creatures trapped in the rock pools. There are some toilets here. From this point on take the opportunity to explore the rock pools around Ricketts Point also.
From Ricketts Point there is a choice of path - either a narrow gravel path on top of the hill or a concrete path next to the water. Steps connect the different paths at regular intervals. There are rocks jutting out from the water where birds rest. After a while the concrete path ends and you can take the steps back to the road above or walk along the beach (Black Rock Beach). It can be tiring walking along the beach in the sand. Past Beaumaris Yacht club is a lovely area with unshaded tables and BBQs, water tap and toilet plus a bluestone rock sculpture by Ellen Jose titled ""Wurrung Blossom"". Next to here is a kiosk/cafe. The concrete path near the water continues here and then quickly turns into a gravel path. The path has a lovely mosaic titled ""Discover the Seaweeds and Invertebrates of the Sanctuary"". You will also come to an Exeloo toilet in this area, complete with lift music.
At the end of Balcombe Road there is a playground with tables, water tap and BBQ. This area has cafes and eating places and there are toilets about 50m away towards the Black Rock Lifesaving Club. The path leads down to Black Rock Beach. At the end of the beach are some rocky areas with unstable, deeply gouged sandy white cliffs which is Black Rock Point. The HMVS Cerberus was scuttled here to act as a breakwater. Located here are the Black Rock Yacht Club and Black Rock Jetty. At the nearby Black Rock Cerberus Beachhouse at Half Moon Bay you can get food like fish and chips and drinks. Past the Half Moon Bay Life Saving Club, where there are toilets, the path leads to the beach and then up to the road above since cliffs block the way along the beach.
From Moon Bay there is a trail along the cliff top or walk along the beach and take the path up to the top of the cliff. You pass Red Bluff which is stained by deposits of iron oxide. Local children used to slide down the face of the bluff on sheets of corrugated iron, a dangerous ride that ended with a fearful drop of over 3 metres to the sand below. Above the Red Bluffs is a sculpture "The Ancient Yarra River with Bunyil's Eggs". You can walk along the cliff or the beach to Sandringham beach. Here there is a narrow track along the cliff perched above the water. You come to the beach (with a big shelter at the top of the cliff) with lovely stone alcoves cut into the wall to provide a place to chat or maybe get out of the wind. There is a public toilet here and at the top of the cliff are some unshaded seats, water tap and sculpture titled Windhover by a local person, Lenton Parr. Windhover is an abstract sculpture which to the creator "Embodies some spirit of the locality a suggestion of aspirational ideals and of flight against the wind" - make what you will of that. The Sandringham Life Saving Club is located in this area. The beach here is long and sandy with plenty of access points from the cliff top. The Sandringham Yacht Club is packed full of yachts and there is a kiosk and toilets here. Maybe stop and watch some yachts on the bay sailing in the wind. You can also go out onto Hampton Pier and have a look at the yachts. On weekends watch kids learning to sail - in a strongish wind it was obviously a lot more difficult than it seems to the layperson, especially the boom which kept swinging wildly trying to knock the poor students senseless. The Sandy Beach kiosk serves nice food and coffee here.
Moving along the trail to the B.J Ferdinando Gardens you reach a grassy area with a huge shelter with two tables, water tap, extra unshaded tables and BBQ. At Hampton Foreshore the scenery is a lot different that in the past. In 1937 there were 409 bathing boxes on Hampton Beach. Storms, fire and neglect gradually reduced the number and now they are only a memory. Now there is a very long concrete path which runs beside the beach. The cliffs are much lower here which makes it less interesting walking but the kids can have fun walking on top of the wall beside the path - it's not too far to fall. There is a half-circular lookout point with art panels at Green Point, Brighton plus a water tap and toilets. There is also an ANZAC memorial and grassy park with a cannon and shaded seats and table plus a big shelter with seats.
You then get to Middle Brighton beach and one of the highlights - the iconic colourful bathing boxes. There are also some toilets at Middle Brighton beach. Continue along the concrete path next to the beach and you will reach the Middle Brighton pier with café and bar. There is a water tap and toilets near the pier.
Further along is a playground featuring the Rotary Endeavour ship. At this point track splits into two - one for walkers and one for cyclists until it reaches Elwood Beach and the end of the trail.