One thing you should know about Australians, is that they couldn’t care less about equinoxes and solstices. The change of seasons for them happens on the 1st day of the month, because it’s just easier to remember.
Here’s a brief summary of Australian seasons, if you live on the other side of the world and are not familiar with it:
March – May
June – August
Sept. – Nov.
Dec. – Feb.
So when I decided to go to Australia for the last three weeks of November, I was just about to finish with spring and enter summer.
During my last week in Melbourne, after days of a not-so-nice spring, summer decided to pay us a visit. We had been having 15/16 degrees for the past two weeks, but then one day we woke up and, just like that, we had 38 degrees.
This weather change was a clear call to action for us: it was time to visit Melbourne’s beaches!
Ok, let’s be honest. While Melbourne is known for its quirky lanes and hipster night life, Sydney is the city to mention if you’re looking for sunny days at the beach. Nevertheless, even the state of Victoria offers pretty good beaches, Brighton Beach being the most famous one. Good news is you can get there in only 20 minutes from Melbourne City Centre! You can just catch a train from Flinders Street Station to Brighton Beach Railway Station and from there take the scenic 500-metre stroll down to the bathing boxes.
You see now the short walk itself is already something worth experiencing: since I first landed in Melbourne I thought that the Australian city was nothing but a sunny London, but when I arrived at Brighton Beach Railway Station I saw for the first time Australia as my mind had always imagined it to be. You will end up walking surrounded by huge beach houses and the weird thing is that even the population changes from the city centre: the closer you get to the beach, the blonder and taller Australians become. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me!
Once you get to the beach, 82 colourful bathing boxes will lay before you. Now I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid my family used to rent a small bathing hut for the summer season so that we could leave all our beach paraphernalia in there (loads of buckets and spades, water wings and volleyballs). Our bathing box, though, wasn’t even remotely as fancy as the ones in Brighton Beach.
My guess is, if you’re from Melbourne and go to the beach every weekend, you will spend your time in Brighton Beach just laying on the sand sunbathing. But if, like me, it’s your first time visiting the place, you’ll end up spending a lot of your time queuing! Especially since the instagram boom, these bathing boxes are like honey for the “influencers” and all those tourists looking for a memorable shot.
During my stay at Brighton Beach, I have chosen a few bathing boxes to snap and created my personal Bathing Box Series.
Leaving Australia be like:
When I realised I was dressed as the Netherlands flag:
The one I really liked but didn’t match my outfit:
When you finally get tired of taking photos of the bathing boxes, you can always immerse yourself in crystal clear water that, being in a bay rather than an ocean, will be calm and warm.
ST. KILDA BEACH
Close to Brighton Beach (and therefore easily reachable from Melbourne’s City Centre) you can find the most famous and touristic St. Kilda Beach. The beach is famous for a reason, or rather two: a spectacular foreshore and the iconic Luna Park, opened in 1912 and home to the second oldest operating roller coaster in the world.
St. Kilda foreshore is constantly full of people running, rollerblading or simply walking by, while surfers bring their boards to the water. If you want to spend a day by the beach, the best thing you could do is to stop in one of the numerous bars and enjoy a drink while watching the sun going down and giving the place that magical golden colour. The most famous bar there is called Republica and, despite being on the expensive side, it is absolutely worth it.
Right next to it stands the historic amusement park Luna Park, opened in 1912 and a great success since then.
Built by American showmen that decided to bring experts directly from the most famous Coney Island, the Luna Park is home to the Scenic Railway, the second oldest operating roller coaster in the world and one of the only three roller coasters that require a brakeman to stand in the middle of the train.
Now all of that would already be enough information to feed your curiosity and make you pay the Luna Park a visit, but there’s one more thing you should know about it: the entrance of the park is a huge scary mouth. YES, A MOUTH.
Caught your attention yet?
The entrance fee to the park is $5 (which is more or less £2.50) if you only want to have a stroll around and admire the rides. You can always upgrade your ticket to a single ride ticket or, if you want to try everything, get unlimited rides and you’re settled for the day.
As you can see, even Melbourne has plenty to offer for a day at the beach, you just have to know where to go!
Whether you want to relax on the beach, live an adventure at the amusement park or watch the sunset while sipping on a cocktail, Melbourne is there to give you an unforgettable day at the beach.