The name Venus Bay was given to the bay by a French expedition under Nicholas Baudin. This was apparently after George Bass's trading ship the Venus. (The expedition traded with Bass in Sydney in around 1801.)
The town of Venus Bay is situated on a narrow peninsula of land located 180km south-east of Melbourne. Originally named Evergreen the town takes its name from the body of water on its western shore. On the eastern side of the peninsula is Anderson's Inlet, named after the settler Samuel Anderson.
Venus Bay has become a popular holiday retreat for people from Melbourne and is close to other popular South Gippsland tourist spots such as Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory. The permanent population hovers around the 500 mark, however this can swell into the thousands during holiday periods. The town is split into three 'estates'. The First Estate is home to the only shopping strip in Venus Bay, consisting of a general store, fishing and surfing store, take-away shops, real estate agents, caravan park and a restaurant. Three of Venus Bay's five surf beaches (Nos. 1, 2 and 3 beaches) are in the First Estate, with the Venus Bay Surf Livesaving Club located at the No. 1 Beach. This is the only patrolled beach, although during the busy summer period surf patrols regularly make their way up and down the beaches to just beyond No. 5 beach. The First Estate also has the Venus Bay Community Centre, which houses twighlight markets during the summer holidays and other community activities.
The Second Estate is home to Nos. 4 and 5 beaches as well as the popular fishing jetty on Anderson's Inlet. At the edge of the Second Estate is an elevated viewing platform that allows visitors to look out across Anderson's Inlet and view the many kangaroos that call the quiet eastern shores home.
The Third Estate is a sparsely populated and underdeveloped area leading to the tip of the peninsula (Point Smythe). This estate has the Doyle's Road foreshore reserve and the Point Smythe reservation, home to many wandering tracks that lead to secluded beaches on both shores of the peninsula and to the tip at the mouth of Anderson's Inlet.
In recent years the residents of Venus Bay and nearby Tarwin Lower (5km closer to Melbourne) have fought off developers seeking to drain the environmental wetlands and set up marina and resort developments. Today the fight appears to be strongly in the favour of the local residents.
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