For stunning beaches, swanky boutique shops and a fascinating cultural heritage, set your sights on Brighton.
There’s nothing in Melbourne quite like a stroll across the sands of Dendy Street Beach to visit the Brighton Bathing Boxes. Dating as far back as 1862, these 82 colourful Victorian-era huts, with their weatherboard frames and corrugated roofs, come with a remarkable history and attract sightseers, photographers and artists from near and far.
Just a 10-minute walk up the road is the Brighton Baths Health Club, another local landmark. Built in 1881, this now state-of-the-art health club, one of the few open-water bath pavilions left in Australia, also features indoor and outdoor gymnasiums, and spectacular views of Port Philip Bay and the CBD skyline. Next door, the Middle Brighton Baths Cafe and Bar dishes up modern Australian cuisine in front of its floor-to-ceiling windows.
All that fresh air is bound to leave you feeling peckish, and there are plenty of eateries to satiate your appetite. Check out Royal Brothers for the mouth-watering burger menu with all kinds of patties — beef, pulled pork, chicken, fish and pinto beans — served inside soft golden buns. Head to Irori, a cosy Japanese restaurant, for a delectable range of sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and teriyaki. If it’s health foods you’re after, Soul Press has you covered, with sushi burritos, superfood bowls and smoothies, pressed juices, herbal tea and coffee.
Looking for a family-friendly eatery? The Groove Train serves up a good range of breakfast dishes and an extensive menu of wood-fired pizzas, pastas and risottos, burgers, steaks and salads. There’s also the classic pub Half Moon, dishing up a seasonal menu of local and regional produce alongside an incredible selection of fine wines and craft beers from all around the world.
Relax in nature at the Brighton Beach Gardens, where towering pine trees frame the sweeping city views. From here you can take a walk along the Bay Trail, which runs along the Port Philip Bay coastline and is shared by walkers, joggers and cyclists.
Enjoy a cold beer in the relaxed atmosphere of lounge bar Mother’s Milk, where there’s an open fire place, leather lounges and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Another spot for a drink, tucked away in a Victorian heritage railway building from 1882, is House of Pan. Inspired by the Greek god of the same name, its quirky décor, ambient atmosphere, traditional rebetika music, home-style Greek meze platters and quirky cocktails are sure to impress.
Church Street is the main shopping precinct in Brighton and is bustling with trendy boutique shops. Husk offers bohemian and eclectic fashion and accessories from local and international designers, as well as handcrafted homewares. For a modern, playful range of clothing for women and kids of all ages, head to Seed Heritage.
Whether you’re a pro cyclist or it’s your first time on two wheels, The Freedom Machine is the place to get set up with gear. The store also offers a bike fitting service and, if you’re looking for that extra mile, coaching sessions.
Looking for something a little out of the ordinary? Pop into Brighton Antique Prints and Maps. You’ll find Melbourne’s largest selection of rare and original maps, prints and manuscripts from around the world dating back as far as the fifteenth century. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the gallery is located in what was once a nineteenth-century horse stable.