Mount Martha Pillars: Australia’s Secret ‘Mini Greece’ Is Not As Perfect As It Seems

Trouble in paradise.

Over the past twelve months, Australians have been exploring their own country like never before.

As part of this, we’ve started comparing Australian destinations with famous overseas ‘alternatives’. DMARGE is as guilty as anyone of this, having compared Port Stephens to Crete, The Great Ocean Road to Polignano a Mare and Adelaide to Andalucia, in the last few months.

The Daily Mail Australia has been doing this too, recently reporting that a photogenic part of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, which looks a bit like a fancy European island, is blowing up on Instagram.


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A post shared by Parshwanath (@parshclicks)

French Canadian travel blogger @lustinherworld recently wrote of the place on Instagram: “does this look like Greece or what?”

One man on Tripadvisor similarly picked up on this sneaky spot’s Mediterranean vibes: “The Pillars is a must do! It’s like Europe but in Melbourne. They have blocked it off but I have a kayak and paddle around to it.”

The place they are referring to – The Pillars – is a set of sandstone cliffs popular with sightseers, fishing enthusiasts, cliff divers and photographers like @travel_stamps (see below). The place is 83 kilometres south of Melbourne.

The above man’s remark would also appear to be out of date, with access now open again by foot.

‘The Pillars’ hashtag now has 11,324 posts to its name, and a geotag with hundreds more photos to its name.

“There are no signs for the Pillars, but a well-worn walking trail just off Deakin Drive leads down to the water,” the Daily Mail Australia reports, also writing that holiday-starved millennial Australians have been flocking there since the start of summer.


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There are some that claim The Pillars is not all its cracked up to be, however. Various people have taken to Instagram and Tripadvisor to leave scathing reviews of the place.


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A post shared by PlacesWeSwim (@placesweswim)

One Instagram user wrote in December: “The Pillars near Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsula is a controversial spot. Their beauty draws attention. As visitors flock to this glorious spot, rubbish gets left behind and damage is done to the natural landscape here. Like every place we visit, it’s important to respect the locals and their backyard. These places are to be shared, but only if we can look after them properly.”


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A post shared by Indi Setyawan (@indisetya1)

Another, on Tripadvisor, wrote in 2019: “Reason l give this place two star is, it is a beautiful scenic spot but crazy in summer with kids out of control jumping off the cliffs, going to the toilet in the area and leaving their rubbish. Have spoilt this lovely view space for sunrise and sunsets.”

Another left the following negative review: “The Pillars is not fit for tourism. It has been wrecked by the hoardes of irrespectful [sic] tourists who come; graffiti on the rock face, rubbish and bottles everywhere, killed flora and fauna by those who walk over them to get to the cliffs, massive areas of erosion.”

“As a local we suffer when hundreds of people walk along the *already* narrow esplanade and now it has had to be caged up just to keep people out. Also might i add that the dangers of the pillars are super obvious to locals like us who sit day after day listening to the sirens of ambulances having to rescue stupid tourists who have hurt themselves whilst jumping during low tide or on dangerous choppy days.”

“Thanks for wrecking a once good thing!”

Another claimed: “This place is a nightmare. It’s filthy and full of people who are ruining it more. It is fenced, police will arrest you if you go there and there is nowhere to park. People walk on the road and put their lives in danger. It is idiotic to come here and stand on the road. There is nowhere safe to access it. A fence is there to keep spoilers out. This is everything that is wrong with humans and local government not caring about the environment.”

“There is litter everywhere. If you bring children here you should be arrested, because it’s not safe for them. This is a shocking state of decay. A disgrace. Plan anything else but here.”

Others have claimed such remarks may have an agenda and as such are exaggerated.

Another hit back in January 2020, for instance, writing: “The Pillars are well and truly back. Don’t worry about those trying to discourage others by writing bad posts, there was a concerted effort to stop others enjoying the area but it belongs to everyone so so go have a fantastic time it is well worth a visit. Just please take any rubbish away and act responsibly.”

Interest piqued? Check out a video of The Pillars below by The Wanderlust Times.

@thewanderlusttimesOne of the most beautiful spots in Melbourne 😁 ##melbournetodo ##melbourneaus ##travelaustralia ##summerinaus ##foryoupage ##oceanweek♬ The Nights – Avicii

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