During the period up to World War II, there was very little development in Rye, but as roads were built day trippers and holiday makers came further south to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

The paddle steamers could not stop at Rye because its jetty was too small. A few guesthouses operated in Rye at this time, but visitors had to take a steamer to Sorrento and then a carriage to Rye, or the train to Mornington and coach to Rye.

So it was the emergence of the private motor car that sparked the beginning of Rye’s role as a popular seaside resort, that continues today. Motor cars allowed families to take the trip down, take a dip, and return home in one day. Or they could bring their camping gear and stay along the foreshore for the summer.

Families with children enjoyed the freedom of swimming in the bay and playing on the sandy beaches, collecting shells and building sand castles. The tourism industry, which had such humble beginnings as far back as the 1880s, had become the mainstay of Rye by the 1960s.