The iconic and much-loved Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes are a highlight of any trip to Melbourne.
These eighty-two (82) unique, brightly painted wooden beach huts which line the water’s edge of one of Melbourne’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. Today, they are one of Melbourne’s most popular photography spots, but how did they come to be there?
Stepping back into Melbourne’s history
The Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes have a lot of history behind them.
While today we may come to the beach in our swimsuit, more than 100 years ago this was not the norm. The modest ladies and gents popped into these beach huts for privacy when changing into and out of their swimwear.
Today, they function as beachside huts filled with mod cons like couches – like an extension of the owners home but with beachfront views – or as a place to store beach toys, like kayaks.
While the local council, Bayside council, periodically build and sell new beach boxes, it’s rare to existing beach huts to hit the market. They are highly sought after and often passed down through generations.
If you think you’d like to own one of the Brighton Beach Boxes, there are a few things to consider.
The beach boxes can only be sold to those living in the Bayside area, and there are strict rules outlining what the boxes can and cannot be used for.
Even today, the boxes don’t have running water or electricity, keeping with their 1800’s style.
Despite their lack of mod-cons, basic structures made from timber frames, weatherboard sidings and corrugated iron roofing and laws against camping in them, what the Brighton Bathing Boxes lack in amenities, they make up for in views.
That view comes with a price tag. A Brighton Bathing Box sold for well over $326,000 in 2017 to a local resident…. jaw-dropping, I know!
Each of the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes has its own unique characteristics. I’m a big fan of taking my airbnb guests to get photos at the Australian Flag and Boxing Kangaroo beach boxes. And, there are often lines of people – both local and international – lining up to take photos of the Katsushika Hokusai-inspired blue-and-white wave box.
There’s more you may like: a space invader, pastel-painted gems, a VW van with its license plate saying ‘Life’s a Beach’ and a cute, colourful crab!
How to get to the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes:
Want to see these colourful beach boxes? This is how to get to the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes from your hotel in Melbourne:
How to get to the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes by car
The Brighton Bathing Boxes are located on the Esplanade in Middle Brighton, between Wellington Street and Dendy Street.
For ease, put ‘Brighton Life Saving Club’ into your GPS to get there.
Alternatively, follow the Esplanade road around from St Kilda. When you spot the Brighton Savoy (hotel) on the corner of Esplanade and Wellington Street, you’ll need to turn your indicator on because the spot to pull into the car park is less than 250 metres away.
Don’t forget to buy a ticket before heading down to the beach boxes!
How to get to the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes by public transport
It’s a little more difficult to travel by public transport, but it is still possible to get there!
The easiest way to get there is to take a train to Middle Brighton station on the Sandringham line. Though it doesn’t stop at the beach, it is closer to the Brighton Bathing Boxes than the Brighton Beach station.
From the station, it’s about a 1.2km walk to the beach – or about 15minutes – and there are shops along the way to guide you. Look out for the blue plaques with the beach boxes on them guiding your way as well!
If you miss the Middle Brighton stop, or fancy a walk along the beach, you can also get to the Brighton Bathing Boxes from Brighton Station.
After arriving at the train station, take a right turn after exiting the station. Walk along the beach for 1.3 km and you’ll see the colourful boxes!
There aren’t really a lot of markers along this route. Follow the beach will get your there and you’ll enjoy some beautiful beachside views for your troubles!
Use the Public Transport for Victoria (PTV) journey planner to plan your exact journey.
Travelling to Melbourne soon? Check out these must-see sights!
Is there parking at the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes?
Yes! If you drive to the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes there is paid parking available in the car park outside the lifesaving club.
Can you swim at the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes?
Yes, you can swim at Brighton Beach! With the Brighton Beach Life Club facilities being upgraded, it’s a good time to visit.
There are some rocky outcrops, so be extra careful of rips and tides to avoid an unwanted reminder of your trip.
Even if you are a strong swimmer, please be smart and only swim between the red-and-yellow surf life-saving flags. The beach patrol is there to protect you!
For those wanting more regularly patrolled beaches, I would recommend swimming at St Kilda, Brighton, Elwood and South Melbourne beaches instead.