Originally known as Capri Beach until the 1960s, St Andrews Beach is an elite holiday come residential community nestled among the sand dunes between Gunnamatta and Rye. Set alongside the wildly beautiful waters of Bass Strait, this popular year round surf spot forms part of a 35km stretch of beach from Cape Shanck to Portsea. With a breathtaking beach (although swimming is really at one’s peril), the area is also well known for its reliable breeze, rolling grassy hills, pristine sand dunes and exploring-worthy rock pools.
St Andrews Beach is not home to shopping strips or restaurants, boasting little more than a corner shop, but it is within easy reach of all these facilities. What is does offer the 1200 plus permanent residents and summer holiday makers, is seclusion and seaside serenity, a golf course and some of the area’s most revered architectural homes. Admittedly St Andrews Beach Golf Course has struggled and has a chequered history, however this Tom Doak designed course has been created using the natural undulating landscape of the area and is rated in the top 10 public courses in Australia.
Closer to the ocean, architects have come to play at St Andrews Beach. Architect Robin Williams had owned an old fibro cement shack on the site of his incredible ‘Villa Marittima’ home for 26 years prior to creating this award winning home. In tune with the St Andrews Beach climate, seasonal changes and local headspace, Williams was inspired by the simplicity and subtlety of Japanese architecture which resulted in a minimalist house with beautiful spaces that frame the ocean view.
This inspiring seaside village is also home to Sean Godsell’s property which was built in 2006. Winning a number of awards, this St Andrews Beach property is elevated off the ground by four large steel beams, cantilevered 11 metres at each end. The sides of the house are made of steel louvers that open to let in the breeze, and the house has a protective outer skin made from perforated oxidized steel panels which hinge open to form brise soleil shutters. The building is elevated on columns with parking and storage underneath and each space is accessed from outside via a promenade deck.
Other properties of note include Nonda Katsalidis’s Shipping Container House, a local nickname for the beach house that is a fusion of natural materials and the abstract traditions of modernism. Situated on the foreshore overlooking the surf, it was one of the first inspirational houses constructed at St Andrews Beach.
The ideal spot for a seaside and sand dune explore, St Andrews Beach is a hidden gem far from the crowds the line the bay beaches when the sunshine hits the Mornington Peninsula shores. Turn right onto Sandy Road off Truemans Road, and you can access an isolated beach car park at the end of Paradise Drive or a beach track off Ocean Drive and at the end of Miami Drive.