Trying to work out how to get to the Melbourne beach boxes? I have been to Melbourne many times over the years, but I had never been down to Brighton Beach to see the iconic Melbourne bathing boxes.
There are 82 of these colourful little huts all lined up on the beach, overlooking Port Phillip Bay. Mostly they are used as storage spaces or change rooms. Some are incredibly well kitted out, others are simply a hut. If you wanted to purchase one of these little beach shacks, they can cost as much as buying a small apartment, but you would need luck too – they rarely go on sale.
I had a couple of hours to spare on a recent trip so decided it was time to go and have a look at these Melbourne beach boxes for myself. Here’s my experience, and some advice on how to do it better.
My preparation before arriving in Melbourne consisted of a quick look at the Public Transport Victoria website. I have used this many times before to plan out a trip in Melbourne using public transport. It has a journey planner, so it’s really easy to stick in where you are travelling from and to, and it will give you all the available options and how long each will take. I stuck Brighton Beach into the “To” field, and discovered there was a train straight there, so kept in my mind I needed to get on the Sandringham train. It would take about 30 minutes on the train. I was confident I knew how to get to Brighton Beach.
How to Get To the Melbourne Beach Boxes in Brighton
Once in Melbourne, we made our way to Flinders Street Station (but could have gone to any of the CBD stations) and waited for the next Sandringham train. While waiting, the notification board above our head scrolled through all the stations the train would stop at. I always take note of the station before the one I need so that I am prepared to get off. There were three Brighton stations – North Brighton, Middle Brighton and Brighton Beach. Clearly I needed to get off at Brighton Beach, because, well, that one was the beach!
We get off the train and immediately smell the sea air. We follow the rest of the crowds towards the water. As we cross the road and come to the top of the stairs leading down to the sand we stop dead! There are no beach boxes to be seen in either direction as the beach curves off to the left and the right. Oh boy! This is what happens when I just assume I know where I am going and don’t do more research on the day I visit. The Brighton Beach Boxes are clearly not on Brighton Beach!
I noticed that most of the crowd turned towards the right, so we also headed in that direction to the end of the beach. We walked up over a headland, and we were about to descend down into the next bay. There in the distance, past yet another headland, were the beach boxes! We now knew we were going in the right direction.
It took us about twenty-five minutes to walk along the beachfront to reach the beach boxes. The day we were there it was sunny but also very windy. There were only a few people on the beach, so no crowds. A lot of people were doing what we were doing, walking along photographing the beach boxes.
The boxes are so bright and colourful and taking this excursion is a great way to spend an hour or two.
What We Should Have Done
As it was time to leave, I finally did what I should have done in the first place. I used Google Maps to find the nearest train station. First I learned that while these are referred to as the Brighton beach boxes, that refers to the suburb not the beach, as they actually are on Dendy Street Beach. The closest train station, Middle Brighton station, was about 1.2km or a 15 minute walk from the northern end of the beach boxes – much closer than the Brighton Beach station. It’s not a straight walk, and if visiting you will need to have some sort of directions. Either use Google Maps as I have done below, or get directions before you catch the train.
Catching Public Transport in Melbourne
I couldn’t write this without a quick mention of Melbourne’s slightly quirky public transport system. You must buy a myki card to be able to travel on the trains, trams and buses. There is no way to pay cash for a single trip. I bought my myki card when I arrived at the airport at the Skybus ticket office. They offer a $15 (adult) tourist myki card that is pre-loaded with $9 worth of credit and also includes some tourist maps and discount vouchers. It’s then really easy to top up the card at many locations across the city. I usually look out for a 7Eleven and top it up there. You can find out more about myki here.
Don’t Want to Catch the Train?
The next best option to get to the Melbourne beach huts is to catch a Taxi or Uber. I personally recommend using an Uber while in Melbourne. UberX from Flinders Street Station in the city centre to the Brighton bathing boxes point on the map above will cost around $31AUD ($21USD/€19).
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.