BRIGHTON BEACH BATHING BOXES

With a backdrop of the towering city skyline, the 82 colourful bathing boxes lining the foreshore at Brighton Beach represent one of the most recognisable and iconic vistas of Melbourne.

The boxes were built well over a century ago to preserve bather’s modesty in response to the notoriously strict Victorian code of morality and were a feature of beaches not only in Australia but also in England. The boxes are uniquely proportionate and uniform in scale and retain classic Victorian architectural features with timber framing, weatherboards, and corrugated iron roofs.  Each is painted in bright colours at the discretion of the owner

For several decades from the 1860’s Port Phillip Bay beaches and baths admitted the sexes at strictly different times.  By the 1890’s when the boxes were erected in earnest the scene on the open beach was mixed but still very prudish.  Historical photographs reveal women swimming in dresses and men wearing trousers and a waistcoat in the water.

It's hard to believe now, but in 1975 the famous bathing boxes were almost phased out.  Prone to vandalism and storm damage the boxes were derided as private structures on public land with the state government of the day directing that they be removed "wherever and whenever the opportunity arises". Today, they are protected by a Planning Scheme Heritage Overlay and are revered by international tourists and wedding photographers alike.  And the boxes have not been exempt from the massive residential boom that has swept Australia with one being sold in January 2016 for a record $285,000 ($215,000 USD).

To experience the beauty of the Brighton bathing boxes and capture that iconic vista of Melbourne, travel with Acacia on one of our private Melbourne tours.


MELBOURNE - A SPORTING CITY

It's a bit of a cliché to say a city is sports mad. But in Melbourne, the cliché fits. Melbourne’s not just sports mad, it measures its place in the world on the sporting field.  And her sporting venues are second to none.  Within a 10-minute walk from central Melbourne you find yourself in a sporting precinct the envy of every city in the world.

The jewel in the crown is the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), or simple known as “the G” to locals.  Established in 1853, less than 20 years after the founding of Melbourne, it holds a legendary position in sporting history.  The home of Australian Rules football since 1859 and the birthplace of Test cricket in 1877, the MCG was also the main stadium for the 1956 Olympic Games.  It is filled to capacity several times a year when 100,000 roaring fans attend signature events such as the Australian Football League Grand Final or the most important date in Aussie cricket, the Boxing Day Test.

If in Melbourne between March to September, we highly recommend any visiting sports enthusiast to get along to the MCG for a game of Aussie Rules.  Melbourne’s obsession with this home-grown code of football is often described as religious.  As kids we are typically bestowed our lifelong team colours by our parents or grandparents.

It is a lightning paced game of great spectacle that involves kicking a ball resembling an American pigskin through posts at either end of the ground. To be honest, you’re much better off not even trying to get a handle on the rules. Just head to a game with a local or befriend someone sitting nearby who can give you the lowdown on the fly. Grab a beer and a meat pie and settle in for a couple of hours of full-contact chaos starring fit men in tight shorts.

Come rain or shine, the big games of any weekend regularly attract over 60,000 punters.  The atmosphere is simply electric and there are few sounds more thrilling than the roar of the crowd in a closely contested match.  In his Australian travelogue titled Ïn a Sunburned Country”, the celebrated American author Bill Bryson wrote “I once spent three hours happily bewildered by an Australian Rules football match”. He described the sport as loosely contained mayhem.

Just next door, on the banks of the Yarra River is Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open tennis championship, which along with Wimbledon, the French and US Opens makes up tennis’ grand slam. For two weeks each January, the Australian Open attracts the world’s best tennis players and tens of thousands of spectators from all over the globe, for an event always renowned for its hospitality and often for its heat.

In addition to Aussie Rules, cricket, and tennis, Melbourne is also home to both the Australian Formula 1 and Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup horse race (for which Melburnians have a dedicated public holiday of course!), and a long list of other blockbusters from golf to rugby.  So it comes as no surprise that Melbourne won the Sport Business Ultimate Sport City of the Decade at the 10 Year Anniversary Awards in Switzerland last year, confirming our claim as the world’s best city for sport.

As enthusiastic sports lovers ourselves, it would be our absolute pleasure to design the perfect sporting day out for our guests.