Focus on Balnarring

Balnarring is situated on the Mornington Peninsula, about ten kilometres south-west of the major centre of Hastings and fronting Western Port. It is 69 km from Melbourne.

The population of the Balnarring area  in 2016 was 4870 (including Balnarring, Merricks, and Somers).

Balnarring’s shopping village is located two kilometres inland and includes a supermarket and a good selection of speciality shops. The shopping village is built around a large central car park which is surrounded by trees and gardens. 

The Balbirooroo Community Wetlands border the commercial centre, and include a lagoon and walking trails.

Balnarring Beach, also known as Tulum Beach, features sweeping crescents of coastline and a foreshore reserve which offers safe swimming along sandy stretches of the coast. Racehorses are trained on the beach early in the morning six days a week. 

Balnarring Beach holds the award for the “Cleanest Beach in Victoria” from the Keep Australia Beautiful committee. 

Merricks Creek joins Western Port at Balnarring, forming a narrow peninsula of land which is traversed by walking paths and footbridges around the shallow creek. 

In the summer months, Balnarring Beach comes alive with holiday makers. It first became a holiday destination back in 1910 for day trippers from Melbourne. Back then, there were many beach stores and kiosks. Today there is one general store at the beach.

Balnarring is also home to The Emu Plains Racecourse and Recreational Reserve. The racecourse provides a range of recreational activities including a community market and picnic race meetings run by The Balnarring Picnic Racing Club, a non-profit organisation committed to promoting picnic racing as an enjoyable and family-orientated activity.

One of the most scenic parts of Balnarring Beach is around Cliff Road which is situated on a bushy headland. A walking track winds its way down the cliff face to the sandy beach below, offering spectacular views along the coast.

Just to the east of Balnarring on the coast in neighboring Somers are the Coolart Wetlands. This nature reserve surrounds the historical Coolart Homestead which was built in 1895, and includes a lagoon where thousands of Australian white ibis nest every year, plus attractive picnic and BBQ areas.

The railway station in Balnarring opened on 2 December 1921 but, like its Red Hill branch line, was relatively short-lived, officially closing on 29 June 1953. However, it was kept in service for annual local events until about 10 years after the closure.

Today, Balnarring is a thriving community with a great local shopping centre. Balnarring Beach caters to the holiday makers with caravan parks and camping grounds and the local area has many excellent wineries.

Balnarring is an Aboriginal word meaning “camp in open places”.

Coffee Safari

Freshly brewed coffee is a must-have for weekends away and the Mornington Peninsula’s coffee haunts are second to none. Here are just a few to check out when you head down to this beautiful part of the world.

Otzi Balnarring


The perfect spot to enjoy your favourite sweet or savoury treats paired alongside Dukes coffee. Dine in or take-away with you as you continue on your way throughout the verdant hinterland of the Mornington Peninsula. 

Village People

Shop 15, Balnarring Village 3050 Frankston – Flinders Road

Great spot to chill out for breakfast with excellent coffee and eggs and free Wi-Fi as well. Outdoor seating available.

Phase Two

Shop 11, Balnarring Village 3050 Frankston – Flinders Road

Serving Commonfolk’s Godfather blend, Phase Two offers all day brunch, pastries, cakes, paninis or more substantial items such as the Bang Bang chicken or pulled pork tacos in a bright, modern industrial-inspired setting.

What to do

Whether it’s strolling along Balnarring Beach, checking out the wetlands, or heading to one of the cosy restaurants, Balnarring has something for everybody. 

In the summer months, the beachside town is alive with holiday makers.

Visit the Emu Plains Racecourse community market or one of the picnic race meetings.

Check out the original Harley Club building or go wine tasting at the variety of nearby boutique wineries.

Photography: Yanni

Peninsula Essence – January 2022