I’ve heard many stories about St Kilda. That it was a very hip and fashionable seaside suburb of Melbourne; that it was a seedy part of Melbourne with sleazy bars and junkies; that it was a place with some of the most palatial homes of Melbourne. As it turns out, all these stories were true.

Not at the same time, but at some point in the history of St Kilda was home to different kind of people. Currently, it is regarded as neo-hip with a dash of nostalgia. The old palaces are still there but they may not be occupied by the Melbourne’s elite, who moved to Toorak a long time ago.

Backpackers, families, and joggers converge on the Esplanade. Boom-time mansions, historic sea baths, and Luna Park’s eye-catching rides are reminders of the strip’s past as a glitzy resort. Fine-dining restaurants and old European cake shops can be found on Acland and Carlisle streets. Revelers fill the local pubs and music venues at night.

To me, that place had a vibe of a seaside resort where time slowed down considerably, even though St Kilda is only 8 km away from Melbourne city center. Maybe most people there are either tourists or artists with all the time in the world, while the city was full of stressed businessmen rushing around, trying to make it to their next meeting in time.

The weather was great when I visited. It was sunny and warm. Not enough to go for a swim, but warm enough to walk around and explore. I was hoping to see some penguins there. I wasn’t the only one, apparently. There were a number of people waiting for these little creatures to emerge from the water, but none came.

They have their nests among the rocks and can be seen returning from their hunt every day, but mostly at dusk. I didn’t have that much time to wait for them. The same penguins are a major tourist attraction on Phillip Island. Thousands of people watch them every night. I saw them in Tasmania. And they came, quite unceremonially, right to the hotel where we were staying.

Below are some pictures I took while in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria.

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