This year I spent Christmas in Melbourne where I got to spend five days playing tourist. Having never visited the city in summer before, I packed my usual staples that involved half a suitcase of denim cut-offs. But for the first time in holiday history, they didn’t make it out of my suitcase.
Melbourne is famously known as Australia’s cultural hub, where everything, including the fashion, is a little more sophisticated. This vibe isn’t just confined to the boutique shopping strips, cool café scene and hidden laneway bars of the city. Head out to Melbourne’s coastline and you’ll discover a beach reminiscent of a summer in Europe, where locals are far too classy to do a stealth bikini change under their towel on the carpark.
Brighton Beach is Melbourne’s most iconic beach. Famous for its strip of rainbow-coloured bathing boxes, the beachside suburb is one of the wealthiest areas in Melbourne. A cute little bathing box will set you back around $200,000, with one setting the sales record in 2011 at $260,000! They are only for sale to local bayside residents who view the historic boxes as a lifestyle investment.
Originally used as ladies changing sheds in the 1800s, the colourful bathing boxes reflect a bygone era where private changing facilities were a must. They’ve retained their Victorian architecture of timber frames, weatherboard sidings and corrugated iron roofs, and in keeping with history, there’s no electricity of running water.
What the bathing boxes lack in amenities, they make up for in views. The beachfront features a vista out across Port Phillip Bay where you can see views of the Melbourne city skyline, which is only 13kms away.
We weren’t too impressed with the menu and the service at The Baths Café, which is the closest source of food and hydration to Brighton Beach. We headed up to the lively shopping and café strip and found Brighton Schoolhouse – an awesome outdoor café that had cool tunes, cold coconuts and a deliciously fresh superfood-laden menu.
WHERE TO GO:
Brighton Beach (also known as Dendy Street Beach)
Dendy Street and the Esplanade
HOW TO GET THERE:
By train: A train from the city will take around 20 minutes on the Sandringham line. Catch it from Flinders Street Station to Brighton Beach Railway Station and take the scenic 500-metre stroll down to the bathing boxes.
By car: Driving from the city to Brighton takes around 20 minutes depending on the traffic. There is council parking close to the beach once you get there.
By bus: Catch the 216 or 219 bus from Melbourne CBD.
More information at Public Transport Victoria.