Discovering the Bright Charm of the Brighton Bathing Boxes

You’ve probably seen the vibrant, multi-coloured beach huts in Brighton that line the shore. This trendy beach is located in Melbourne City, where fashion and art are keywords of the moment. Nestled in an affluent suburb of Melbourne, these bathing boxes date as far back as the 1860s however their location was further up on Bay Street at the time. After the tramline from St Kilda to Brighton was constructed, many more residents began asking for permits to build their own bathing boxes and it’s recorded that before the Great Depression, there were between 100 to 200 boxes on record.

Brighton Beach is the most recognised of Melbourne’s beaches, and it is the rainbow huts that make it so memorable. Not only is it the most popular seaside segment of the city, but it is also the wealthiest, where a bathing box will cost you a jaw-dropping $200,000. However, you have to be a bayside resident to even consider making a purchase (and even then, they’re thought of as lifestyle purchases).  For those that are lucky enough to own one of these boxes, they are a prized possession that is usually passed down through the family.

History of the Bathing Boxes

The boxes themselves aren’t a new phenomenon. In fact, they were built more than 100 years ago in answer to Victorian notions of morality when it came to seaside bathing.

Colourful huts were set up so ladies could change into their swimwear in privacy, and they still retain their charm and classic architectural features to this very day. Made out of timber, weatherboards, and with corrugated iron roofs, they are a pretty edition to the sea views. In keeping with their century-old history, the boxes don’t have running water or electricity, keeping them a part of the city’s past. Along with this, those who own the boxes must follow a list of regulations to maintain the heritage of the box. These include not being able to sleep in them or use them for advertising purposes. They are also not to be rented out to others, which means that the bathing boxes stayed in the confines of those who purchased them.

However, despite the lack of amenities, the bathing boxes offer incredible views – an element that attracts visitors from all over the world. The bright line of huts offers a eye-popping contrast to the turquoise waters of the ocean, and the panoramic views out across Port Phillip Bay are second to none.

The 82 bathing boxes that line the sand are an easily recognisable attraction making it the perfect photo opportunity for travellers. What makes these bathing boxes special is that they haven’t been changed from their original design when they were built in the early 1900s making them an ever-distinctive attraction that perfectly aligns with the Australian beach culture. From the bathing boxes, you can marvel at views of Melbourne’s city skyline which is just 13km away.

Brighton Bathing Boxes

Things to do around the Brighton Bathing Boxes

Though this might be an obvious one, be sure to enjoy the beach! Tjos beach is actually called Dendy Street Beach and runs across the shoreline for 500 metres of uninterrupted golden sand. If you visit on a day when the water is a bit rough do pick up, sit back and watch the expert kite surfers riding the ideal waves.

When you’re starting to feel a little peckish and have taken as many photos of the bathing boxes as possible, it’s time to explore the rest of lovely Brighton. It’s a laidback coastal suburb while still being prestigious thanks to its east side location. Thanks to this combination, there are a lot of things to do in the area that is sure to strike everyone’ interest. Brighton is filled to the brim with local op shops, where you’ll discover trinkets and the occasional treasure of objects waiting to find their second home.

If you’re wanting a taste of the Brighton flair, head to the Billilla Mansion. Originally built in Edwardian fashion, this mansion was transformed into a classic art nouveau house that is currently on display, where it has been for over a century. It was first built by Robert Wright in 1878 and remains an iconic landmark in the suburb. It’s now used as a backdrop for wedding ceremonies by couples who appreciate the unusual design of this single storey mansion.

What you’ll love about Brighton is its amazing cafes that you’ll find just around every corner. You’ve got a multitude of options to choose from such as the much loved Brighton Soul or Little Tommy Tucker Café. But if you’re looking for something a little less healthy, and a whole lot greasier make a stop at the Fish Tank Fish and Chippery- it’s a beach day after all! For those with a healthier outlook in mind, the salads at the fish and chippery is Heart Foundation approved.

Getting to the Brighton Bathing Boxes

If you’re travelling by train, you can hop on the Sandringham line from the central Flinders Street Station. The journey takes around 20 minutes, and you alight at the Brighton Beach Railway Station. From there, it is just a 500m walk through pretty scenery to the bathing boxes.

If you’re travelling by car, you can park close to the beach. The drive is again around 20 minutes from the centre of Melbourne.

For those travelling by bus, you’ll need to catch the 216 or the 219 bus from Melbourne’s Central Business District.

When you arrive at Brighton Beach, you can kick back and relax, soaking up the incredible views, tuck into a picnic, or snap some memorable photos of the eye-catching Bathing Boxes that have made the area so famous.

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