A Slice Of Southern France In Australia

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Nestled beach side between Marguerita Avenue and Deakin Drive, The Pillars in Mount Martha are easy to miss. I’m not sure if it was an effort from the locals or Mother Nature to conceal this beautiful cliff side from the sweep of tourists along the Mornington Peninsula, but it worked for quite some time. These days however, if the weather is nice, you’ll find people flooding the place whether it’s a workday or not – all you have to do is search ‘The Pillars’ on Instagram to know why.

Known as the only piece of Southern France you can find in Australia, this secluded beach space has sandstone cliffs and calm waters perfect for a hot Summer’s day. People love snorkelling here due to the abundance of rock pools nearby that are filled with ocean wildlife, and if you’re brave enough, you can jump off the cliffs into the ocean below. If you’re like me and climbing back up wet rocks to dry land is -100% appealing, you can instead sunbathe down the road at Mount Martha South Beach. *shrugging emoji*

How To Get There:

Once in Mount Martha, follow The Esplanade down to Marguerita Avenue and Deakin Drive and either park in one of the side streets or in a designated parking area nearby. From there, you’ll need to walk along The Esplanade to get to the track that leads to The Pillars. When you’re walking along the road, keep an eye out as there’s little space designated for pedestrians, and no barrier between you and the cars driving on the windy road. Once found, The Track is only about a minute long but steep and rocky. Just take care and with both hands hold onto the rocks as you pop down – it’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise!

Insider Tips:

– Footwear wise, we both had Birkenstock-type sandals on and were fine stepping down the track. People go barefoot also, but it’s completely up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with.

– There is limited parking – avoid ‘No Standing’ and permit zones.

– Steep but short track to the cliffside. Bring a backpack or have someone to hand your bags to and take turns in climbing down.

– Cliff jump at your own risk and please be careful. The week I went there had been numerous injuries in the news of people jumping in during low tide and back flipping in. Don’t be stupid.

– Once you’ve jumped in, to get back out you’ll have to climb back up the wet, rocky cliffside onto dry land. The school boys there told us it’s totes no big deal, but for me it was a ‘Yeah, no thanks.’

– As with any place you visit, please leave it as it was when you came. Be respectful of wildlife both on land, in the sea or sky. Don’t litter, and take care of any existing broken glass among the rocks.

– Pop down to Mr. Curtis Eatery once you’ve had enough, if not for food, then for the delicious Peach Cider. The place is decked out in Moroccan tapestries that line the walls, and basket chairs.

If you’re headed down the Mornington Peninsula, The Pillars, and Mount Martha in general are a must see! You’ll find cafe’s nearby and little privately owned beach boutiques and homeware stores. For more information on what to do along the way, check out Visit Mornington Peninsula.

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