A half hour away from Melbourne’s CBD is Brighton, one of the most popular beach destinations in Victoria. In addition to the beach, the city has an excellent range of shops, places to eat and even historic sites.
With its scenic views, relaxing ambience and picturesque environment, Brighton should be on your Melbourne itinerary. Culture Trip has done the hard work for you and picked out the best things to do in the area, from barbecuing at Dendy Park to taking in the art on a coastal trail walk.
Walk along Brighton Beach
Brighton’s long, curved bay is also home to its most popular destination, Brighton Beach. As if its white sand and sparkling water weren’t pretty enough, Brighton also boasts a line of 82 bathing boxes that date back to the 1900s. They provide a striking, colourful backdrop to the shoreline, creating a well-photographed spot. You can swim here, so join the families making sandcastles or simply stroll along the length of the beach while taking in the views.
Play a round at Brighton Public Golf Course
The Brighton Public Golf Course, around 20 minutes from the CBD, is an 18-hole, par-67 course in the Bayside Sandbelt. What makes it special is the spectacular scenery that surrounds the sloping greens. It’s also suitable for both beginners and more advanced players, as there’s a multitude of different levels, and lessons are available for those wishing to improve their game. It has even hosted national and international competitions in the past.
Uncover some new threads at Brighton’s opportunity shops
From clothes and toys to books and antiques, Brighton is filled with opportunity shops, making it a great place for those who love sourcing second-hand items and sniffing out bargains. Most opportunity shops in Brighton are so packed with knick-knacks that you may find it hard to leave empty-handed. A particularly popular business is Biccy’s Op Shop. Its friendly staff can help you pick something out, and there’s often retro tunes playing in the background. St Andrew’s Opportunity Shop and St Stephen’s Op Shop are also well worth a look.
Follow the Bayside Coastal Arts Trail
The Bayside Coastal Arts Trail is a 17km (11mi) walk along the coastline adjacent to Beach Road between Brighton and Beaumaris. Along the way, viewing signs hold artworks made by Australian artists who have painted the Bayside coast in the past. The route maps an important part of the area’s cultural heritage, and the beautiful surroundings don’t hurt either.
Catch a film at Palace Dendy Brighton
A truly luxurious cinema, Palace Dendy Brighton has been a popular spot for viewing films since the 1940s. The elegant cinema on Church Street is arguably Melbourne’s classiest, complete with a fully licensed café and bar for a pre- or post-drink or meal.
Browse the shops on Church Street
For an uninterrupted spell of urban rambling, head to Brighton’s Church Street. With its clothes shops and homeware stores, you could easily spend a day here browsing and stopping at the many excellent bakeries, cafés, restaurants and bars. Recommended places for a bite to eat include Fish Tank for fish and chips, Dendy Deli for casual dining and White Rabbit for Mediterranean grub.
Relax at Endota Spa Brighton
This private spa offers five rooms – four singles and one double – individually suited to customers’ needs, providing the ultimate in relaxation and personalised treatments. Book yourself in for a calming day of me time, or make an event of it and go with a group of friends. Endota Spa offers expert therapists that specialise in relaxation, remedial, deep-tissue, pregnancy and hot-rock massages, organic and advanced facials, body wraps, scrubs, beauty treatments and more.
Visit historic Billilla Mansion
For a glimpse into Brighton’s past, Billilla Mansion is the place to go. With formal gardens and an elegant façade, it’s one of the city’s most recognisable sights. Robert Wright, a successful miner, built the property in 1878 in the Edwardian style. In 1888, the new owners remodelled the house in the Art Nouveau style. Today, the council owns the property but leases it to Xavier College; however, it’s open to the public for viewing.
Enjoy a locally sourced meal at Brighton Schoolhouse
The food at Brighton Schoolhouse is healthy and organic, using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. It offers an all-day breakfast menu, with free-range eggs cooked any way you want, along with superfood smoothies, waffles, quinoa salads and even fresh fish, with plenty of vegetarian and lactose- and gluten-free options too. The family-friendly restaurant even has a kids’ corner and a playground to keep little ones entertained. As it’s pack during the weekend, make sure to book ahead.
Take a stroll through Dendy Park
Brighton Beach isn’t the only place in the city to enjoy the great outdoors. The seaside suburb is also home to Dendy Park, a huge parkland reserve. Alongside space to run, walk and relax, there are two playgrounds and tennis courts, while dogs are allowed to roam off-leash. So, pack a picnic and wander the park before grilling your lunch in the barbecue area.
To explore more of the Australian coastline, take a look at the best beach hotels in Australia – book with Culture Trip.2
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