First, there’s the view. You can glimpse it from various places across this five-bedroom, three-level beach house, but it’s never better than from the main suite on the top floor. The scene outside the expansive window is split into blocks of technicoloured nature: a wild garden hiding a peek of golden sand; the churning grey-blue water of Port Philip Bay; and finally the sky, a constantly moving spectrum of colour and cloud. It’s a stunner.

There’s endless activity out there, too, as a procession of giant boats drift past on the way to and from the city. Perhaps a gaudy cruise liner called The Coral Princess, or a grubby oil tanker, or a giant Norwegian barge carrying hundreds of new cars. Plus, there are smaller vessels: sailboats, speedboats, fishing trawlers, pleasure cruisers and surfers, along with swimmers and so many birds. You could stand here all day and watch the view like Netflix.

Sagres is a sleek holiday rental named after a town on the south-western tip of Portugal, but is actually 100 minutes outside of Melbourne on the Bellarine Peninsula in the sleepy village of Queenscliff. The all-white, sharp-roofed house was designed by late architect Wayne Gillespie in 1991 for Lady Susannah Clarke and Sir Rupert Clarke, and was extensively renovated by their daughter Jo Youl in 2022. It’s the ultimate slice of luxurious Australian holiday life: elegant, expensive and casually stylish, but ultimately sturdy and unfussy.

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The striking building sits at the end of a long, narrow block well back from the road; the front garden is dotted with olive trees and a just-built swimming pool is surrounded by sunlounges. On the ground floor are three double bedrooms with queen-sized beds; a lush, shared bathroom and laundry leading to an outdoor shower and bath; and a kid-friendly rumpus room lined with old books and stacks of retro games.

A feature stairway with a lacquered balustrade leads to the middle floor, past a washed-out romantic mural into a light-filled entertainment zone with flash kitchen, formal living room, long dining table and a concealed bar, flanked by two solid terrace balconies. One faces the pool and garden, the other faces Nuns Beach – and that view – with a barbeque and outdoor setting for watching the world go by.

Continue up to the top floor to discover two suites with king-sized beds and ensuite bathrooms stocked with luxe products from Aussie brand Leif. Interior designer Emily Fitzgerald worked with Youl to achieve a chic modern-Mediterranean vibe throughout, showcasing the pair’s other business, a textile brand called Quoin the Label, offering gorgeous Turkish towels and French linen.

The place sleeps up to 10 guests and is the ideal location for a The Big Chill-inspired group getaway. The kitchen is stocked with ready-made meals if you don’t fancy cooking, but it’s also decked out with every conceivable gadget (including a La Marzocco espresso machine and a Thermomix) which means catering for a crowd is no sweat. Need some air? Follow the narrow private path under tea tree branches at the back directly onto the sand where you can read a trashy book, smash a jug of punch, catch a wave or play beach cricket.

While there are plenty of activities to discover on the surrounding Bellarine Peninsula (including a ferry to Sorrento over the ditch), odds are you’ll find it very difficult to leave the property. Sagres is a dreamy escape from the real world where everything is on holiday time, and you’ll never tire of the view.

From $1400 a night; two-night minimum stay. Visit


The writer was a guest of Sagres Queenscliff.