Cerberus Beach House – A Legendary Visit

My travel log in a foreign place is not punctuated by stops for great food. But rather, often the cuisine is the focus, and my travel adventures revolve around the place where I go for lunch or dinner; but not the other way around. My trip to Melbourne is no exception. After a little bit of research from TripAdvisor (list of rankings of Melbourne restaurants here), I find that the Cerberus Beach House is top  3 on the list. It is a beach house in Half Moon Bay, on the southern shores of Melbourne. Well, it’s hard to resist the temptation to visit a Beach House by the bay side with stunning views over the entire ocean, while enjoying good food!


The first question is, how do I get there? Google Maps told me that I just need to follow the Bayside Coastal Trail from Sandringham Station and walk 2.5km down south to reach the place. It should only take 30 minutes. From my own experience, it is hard to walk briskly on the Coastal Trail, it is lined with wonderful landscape and beautiful cliffs and beaches, and you can find my photo tour in my previous posts.

Once you arrive at Half Moon Bay, you cannot miss the two things. One is the the Black Rock Pier, from which you can look back at the Coastal Trail, and pictured below is the view of the pier with the Red Bluff in the background. The other thing is of course, HMVS Cerberus.


Or I should say, what remains of HMVS Cerberus, for it has been decommissioned in 1924. After disassembling what could be disassembled, the warship wreck sat unceremoniously to serve as a breakwater for the Black Rock Yacht Club. I have summarized the long tragic story below (Courtesy: Wikipedia):

  • Cerberus is from Greek mythology. It is a three-headed dog that guards the gates of hell, also known as hellhound.
  • HMVS Cerberus (the warship) was constructed in 1866, measuring 225 feet long and powered with 2 steam engines, for the purpose of shore-based fortification against potential Russian navy attack
  • It served as a “monitor” ship for coastal defense, with heavily armored plating, and moved at a slow speed. It was not fit for ocean travel. And for this reason, it never left Port Philip Bay.
  • After being decommissioned, it served as a breakwater at Half Moon Bay. Over time, it became a popular destination for scuba diving. There have been plans to restore the warship.


And after my lengthy research findings we come to the Beach House itself. As you can see, the two-story Beach House dominates the panoramic ocean views.


The interior of the restaurant is classy and relaxed. The staff handed me a menu and they were very helpful. I decided to order the daily specials.


Bruschetta of warm creamy garlic mushrooms – it was a wonderful starter. I love mushrooms and their taste blended well with the silky smooth cream sauce.


Over-roasted duck breast with red wine lentils: I once read from a novel that when a husband went overseas for trips alone, he would order the dishes his wife loved, to remind himself of her while they were separated. How very sweet and true! White bear loved duck breast, and it reminded me of her. The duck breast was crispy and crunchy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside. It was a marvelous job. And to add to the crunchy texture, the prosciutto chips were delicious. The celeriac puree was buttery smooth and combined with the red wine sauce it was heavenly.


I then understood why this restaurant was famous. Everything about it was great – including the views, the service and the food. If I had the chance I would certainly return. After lunch, I began to explore the Half Moon Bay. Pictured below is the other side of the Bay, as the clouds set in.


Seabirds were everywhere at the pier. I was lucky to catch a bird in flight!

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A look back at the Beach House from the Black Rock Pier. Also, you can see the yachts.


The wide-angle view over the painterly clouds, colored sheer cliffs, and the sea.


A closer look, as people began the voyages into Port Philip Bay in perfect weather.


The rusted ladder at the pier.


A pack of herons as they fought their lives for food. Why don’t they all go inside the Beach House to have a decent meal?


More of them after the fight.


More birds again as the posed in front of the cliff for a shot.


Panoramic views of the pier with amazing clouds and the Cerberus wreck in the background.


To end this post, I wound like to give you this photo I love, for its composition and the touch of colors of the mother and son in the background, while the bird’s eye is sharply in focus.


Hope you enjoyed the photos (and forgave me for the long narrative)! You can visit the following links, and leave a comment if you like.