Owning a Brighton Beach Box Elevates Your Status and here’s why

Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria

It was a very lovely Friday morning, and I am just about to sip my brewed morning coffee when Dada said:

“Would like to like to spend a weekend in Melbourne and check the famous beach?”

My face suddenly got that delighted smile, and I said “yes!”

Melbourne is just an hour away from the suburban town of Warragul, where I am currently staying, and it was a very lovely town. I like the fact that it is near the city, and we do not have to carry that city life stress.

After our breakfast, I packed our weekend bags and drove for an hour to Melbourne. We booked our hotel on the last minute, after all, if we change our mind, we can choose to drive back home.

Well, Dada’s driving not me.

One of the highlights of our Melbourne weekend is visiting the famous Brighton Beach. Located just half an hour away from Melbourne’s CBD city centre, Brighton is one of the most popular beach destinations in Victoria. With its scenic views, relaxing ambience and picturesque environment, Brighton shouldn’t be missed off your Melbourne itinerary.

When you reach Brighton, it is hard not to notice those vibrantly colourful beach bathing boxes along the stretch of Brighton Beach. These bathing boxes are one of the symbolic historical landmarks in Victoria State.

Just like a typical newbie here in Melbourne, I couldn’t control myself on taking photos of this gorgeous view. I mean, each of the boxes looks interesting and good feature on my social media pages. And after 15-minutes (or maybe more) of documenting my experience, my Dada said:

“Did you know that each of these boxes costs a lot of fortune to buy. And there’s a long waiting list.”

Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria

Oh, hang on.

"Don’t tell me that these boxes, which only measures 2 x 2 meters have a waiting list like buying a Hermes bag? "

“You can say that”, as Dada gives me that chuckle coz, he is always amazed how I interpret things to fashion.

I could not help wondering the real story behind these boxes.





History of Brighton Bathing Boxes

Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria

For many years in the late nineteenth century, Brighton was Melbourne's favourite seaside destination. Brighton is located in the City of Bayside, which has 17 km of foreshore to Port Phillip Bay. Nestled on Dendy Street Beach, the Brighton bathing boxes are a popular Bayside icon and cultural asset.


Above is what the swimwear look like in the early Victorian era.


Bathing boxes and boatsheds are intrinsic to Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. Much has been written about Victorian morality and its impact on how people went about bathing and enjoying the seashore. As a result of this morality, bathing boxes had their origins not only in Australia but concurrently on the beaches of England, France and Italy. European bathing boxes exist to this day.

The 82 Brighton bathing boxes are unique because of their uniform scale and proportion, building materials, sentry order alignment and a Planning Scheme Heritage Overlay on a beach owned by Bayside City Council. As simple structures, all retain classic Victorian architectural features with timber framing, weatherboards and corrugated iron roofs. They remain as they did over one hundred years ago, as licensed bathing boxes. No service amenities such as electricity or water are connected.
Although approximately 1,860 bathing boxes, boatsheds and similar structures are located around Port Phillip Bay and Western Port, the Brighton bathing boxes are the only remaining structures of their kind close to the Melbourne central business district. As a functional remnant of a bygone era, they provide a cultural and historical resource that is constantly being photographed, painted or drawn.

Licensees choose to differentiate their bathing boxes with minor structural, artistic and colour variations. When viewed together they turn the beachscape into a collective work of art that can change by the hour according to season, light and colours.





Brighton Beach Box Elevates Your Status Symbol

Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria

Originally built to preserve morality and dignity of swimmers during a time when bikinis and budgie smugglers weren’t the accepted form of swimwear, the boxes have survived heavy storms, disrepair and various attempts by Brighton council to have them removed.

Like Dada mentioned earlier, there is a long waiting list for buying these beach boxes, and typically costs a lot of fortune.

According to one of the real estate website Domain.com.au, one of the two Dendy Beach boxes was sold for a record of AUD$285,000 (that’s an equivalent estimate of Php) back in 2016.

In 2018 another iconic beach box dubbed as the “ultimate Australian icon” the Bathing Box 89 was sold for AUD$337,000

OMG for this 2 x 2 metres box that you can’t even store a boat?!

Yup, you read it loud and clear.

Owning a beach box in Brighton will elevate your status, and your family and your next generation. Owning a beach box is considered an asset that increases its value over the years, and apparently, there is no record of depreciation of its value. Over the years, the Bayside City Council and the Brighton Bathing Box Association manages the licensee of these beach boxes and owners should abide on the council’s regulation. Typically, you can’t easily sell your unit (the same way you sell your car or condo unit), coz beach boxes are registered in the historical registry.

Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria
Beach boxes don’t often have running water, electricity and you cannot live in them or rent them out. However, they offer a great place to relax beachside, take refuge from the sun and store and prepare food and drinks to enjoy during your time at the beach.

Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria
However, living in Melbourne where everything is expensive nothing is more satisfying in life than having the capacity to enjoy the beach life near your home, enjoy the sunrise and sunsets while sipping your favourite champagne. For most retirees, this kind of box lifestyle is a dream!





Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria

Can I rent a Brighton Bathing Box?
No, Brighton Bathing Boxes are not allowed to be rented under the conditions imposed on bathing box owners under the license conditions of the Bayside City Council.

Within Port Phillip Bay and Western Port, how many bathing boxes, boatsheds and similar structures are there?
Approximately 1,860 with 1,315 located on the Mornington Peninsula as of 1 July 2005.

Are any listed on the Victorian Heritage Register?
Yes. H1191. Ilyuka Lime Kiln/Bathing Box (1880, 1930). 2-16 Point King Rd. Portsea.

Are there architectural or construction guidelines?
Yes. Kong, A. & Yttrup, P. Draft Standards for Bathing Box & Boatshed Construction. November 1996. DSE.

Who use the Brighton bathing boxes?
Bayside City Council issue annual licences to Bayside residents for personal use normally change facilities and storage of personal and other accessories. Other beach users share bay vistas, shade, the occasional step and an iconic photographic backdrop.

Can licensees paint their bathing box any colour they like?
No. Bayside City Council and the Brighton Bathing Box Association
provide guidelines.

Who is responsible for beach infrastructure, user-pay car parking, cleaning, rubbish removal, lighting and dog regulation enforcement throughout the year?
Bayside City Council.

Do people wishing to hold a wedding ceremony or advertising industry and
film user groups need a permit to use Dendy Street Beach?

Yes. Bayside City Council.





Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria

Getting there

Dendy Street Beach, Brighton is the home of the Brighton bathing boxes, a popular Bayside icon and cultural asset. It is approximately 13 km south of the City of Melbourne and is accessible by road, rail, bus and sea.

The nearest road intersection is Dendy Street and the Esplanade, Brighton (Melway Greater Melbourne map reference 67 C12/76 C1). Bayside City Council provides a user-pay car park.
If undertaking a scenic 500 m walk via Green Point from Brighton Beach Railway Station, which is the end of Zone 1 (from City) on the Sandringham line or user-pay car park, visitors may view part of the Bayside Coastal Art Trail where signboards compare actual with notable Australian artists' paintings, the Brighton bathing boxes, Brighton dunes and the Melbourne skyline.

Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria
Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria
Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria
Brighton Bathing Beach Box in Melbourne, Victoria

As we walk hand-in-hand along the Brighton beach, I casually ask Dada:

Me: “Can we buy our own beach box?”
Dada: “We can. But not here in Melbourne or in any part of Australia. If you want, we can always look for a great spot in the Philippines, then we build your own beach box. How’s that sound?”
Me: “I think it will be amazing!”

And as I ended this blog post, I am simultaneously checking Pinterest for beach box décor.




Disclaimer: We visited on the first week of March before the VIC lockdown.



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140 comments :

  1. I always see a lot of photos from these beach boxes from Brighton. It is a popular instagram photo hotspot lol! I have been dreaming of surfing in Australia and i have heard that Beighton has decent waves all year round. Hope to visit is soon

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    1. Yes the waves are decent, but I can't deny the fact the water is too cold for me :D

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  2. hi
    So lucky that you are staying at Warragul, just in the vicinity of Melbourne, it is like having best of both worlds. Brighton Beach has attained cult status as can be seen with those owning those vibrantly colourful beach bathing boxes. Brighton bathing boxes are a popular Bayside icon and cultural asset as is so evident by your post and indeed was amazed to see the cost of owning one of them. As rightly said, over the years, their value in terms of being antique and something delicate over time has increased, and now they are coveted by one and all.

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    1. That's true! It is a status symbol here in Melbourne. I won't be buying this sort of boxes coz my money will be a good use for other plans. But if you are a filthy rich, retiree who loves to be next to the beach then this is for you.

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  3. These colorful beach boxes are certainly beautiful and eye-catching. There is nothing more I have ever wanted than a house by the beach but haha looks like I can't even afford a 2x2 beach box :( haha. Such an insane price, but good for those who own them and the fact that these have survived storms speaks volume about their durability and construction.

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    1. Some survived storms others not and been renovated with the guidance of the council.

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  4. This is so cool, I didn't even know these existed.

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    1. I am actually thinking of building my own bathing box right next to my Mom's house in the Philippines. Her house is located next to the beach!

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  5. I want to have one of those! Where do I sign?

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  6. The history of Brighton Bathing Boxes is so great. I had no idea that is a result of Victorian morality.
    They are so colorful and photographic. It must be a pleasure to rest on this beach. It is a pity that it not possible to rent it, but it is excellent if you can take so many great pictures.

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    1. Taking lots of pictures are totally okay. After all this place is now a famous tourist attraction.

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  7. Wow this is so interesting i never even knew about these but super cool. would love to own of these!

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    1. You can build your own in other beach near you!

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  8. true!! it's a dream really to just enjoy facing the beach and sipping some cold drinks! what a privilege...

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    1. I know right! But we can still hangout the beach and having these colorful boxes as photo backdrop.

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  9. Brighton certainly is a beach I keep hearing about through posts and pictures on Instagram and you are so lucky to be staying not too far away. Certainly a lovely way to spend your day. The beach bath boxes are so nice and cute and lucky those who can own one. They have certainly made it big in life. For me though it was refreshing visit to the sea and knowing more about these bath boxes.

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    1. Yeah, these owners are very lucky. Australia never experience typhoon or tsunami just like in many parts of Asia, that's why these boxes are safe.

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  10. oh these are so cute!!! I had no idea you can own or rent these beach boxes, they're amazing!!! I would love to buy one.

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    1. If you can wait for years, and is filthy reach this could be yours. The waiting is a true challenge!

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  11. Those boxes look ao cute. Nice post.

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  12. I have been to Brighton beach and I agree it’s very pretty and insta famous. I love those colourful shacks, they are really cool. I really like your guide as often we see these pretty places but there is very little information on how to get there and what to expect.

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    1. Brighton Beach is an amazing place. I recommend renting a car so it is easy to travel around. Though you can commute using the bus.

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  13. It's so far from my country but I love to visit Melburn
    Thnx for sharing

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    1. Soon you can, we Australia reopen to the world!

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  14. Loving it. I would love to be in one of those and it is at the beach. This is no brainer for me!!!🤗

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    1. Now my mission is to meet a new Melbournian friend who owns one of these!

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  15. Great post. I remember seeing the beach huts when I was in Melbourne. Your photos are great. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Next summer, I will definitely laid my beach mat and enjoy this beach.. but not now. The water is freaking cold for me!

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  16. Oh I would love own it someday! And after reading what you have said this one's on bucket list!

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  17. Such a cool, photogenic concept. I wasn't familiar with these before reading this.

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  18. I've always wanted to go to Brighton and I love the look of the boxes! Great post and I love your photos!

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  19. This is clearly the most interesting read of my day! These boxes seem to be of cultural importance and I can see why they would be that expensive. I would have loved to see whats inside.

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    1. Usually, the owners stores their swimming gears, some picnic baskets and blankets, etc. But since there is no water supply or electricity, they have to bring their ice box for their drink and chill.

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  20. What a cool and unique place to visit! I love all the bright colors on the little boxes. So cute!

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    1. so true! But as a owner, they can't decide on their own on what design and colors they want for their beach boxes. They need to seek the council's approval first.

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  21. definitely one of the icons in melbourne.I love to have coffee and watch the beach from those boxes. a great day spent here is so relaxing!

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    1. That's right! I would love to spend time enjoying the sun, and check the lovely view!

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  22. Gotta love to visit that place someday. I want once of those too!

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    1. Same here! But I will build my own bathing box in Bicol, para mas mura :D

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  23. Those are really bright and beautiful. But, what is inside? Are they already furnished or do you have to do it yourself?

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    1. When you bought this box, either it is fully renovated or you will rehabilitate it by yourself with the guidance of the council. Think about a storage room, but facing the beach.

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  24. Wow this is such an original idea and it makes the beach look so colorful. I like the one with the space invader painted on the front door.

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    1. Owners doesn't have the full control on what paint and design they want to for these boxes. So it is safe to say that political and religious designs, are not permitted. All designs should be modest but fun.

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  25. i loved the victorian swimming suits. and those bathing boxes sound like a great summer adventure. can you rent it seasonally?

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    1. No. No one can rent it seasonally. Only for the use of its owners.

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  26. I've always love seeing those tiny colorful 'houses'. It adds ambience in the beach.

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  27. These boxes are so beautiful and definitely love to see these things in person. I always see these boxes in a different social media platform and I wish to visit Brighton in the future.

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    1. There are also other beach boxes around Victoria, and other parts of Australia's beach but the Brighton beach boxes are the most popular.

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  28. Those are beautiful beach boxes. I wish we can have that here in the Subic, and also we can all go out again and enjoy the sun.

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    1. If someone will propose to the Subic local government, this will be an awesome addition for tourism.

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  29. Although I am familiar with Brighton Beach, I had never heard of these boxes. That is a crazy story! But it would be awesome to have a place for all of our stuff for the beach. I have a large family and hate carrying all of our stuff back and forth. I doubt I would want to pay tons of money for it, though! Like you said, maybe if I was filthy rich.

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    1. Good thing there is a spacious parking area, so you can bring your car!

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  30. Wow! With that kind of money you could buy a house. But you are right, they are fabulous as backdrops. Love the photos.

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    1. I know right! At least they don't charge us tourists for admission fee, and photography, lol

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  31. Ha, I love your dad having compared the price to a designer bag. I'm surprised they can't be sold easily, that's something that should be address by the council, historical significance or not.

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    1. I think the council have that special policy, so that this historical place won't be commercialized for greedy interests.

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  32. I've heard a lot of thing about Brighton beach and its pretty wondrous. The fact that how beautiful those beach boxes are. That place is really picturesque.

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    1. Yes, and I want to have my own box! So I decided to paint our backyard shed just like these beach boxes. :D

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  33. Wow! it looks like you really had a wonderful time there with your dad. I love seeing all those beautiful and inviting pictures you have.

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  34. The place sounds amazing! I would love to go there for vacation :)

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  35. Oh my goodness, these are adorable! I have never seen them before, but I totally wish I could own one!

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    1. Same here! I am thinking of building my own beach box near to my Mom's house (coz her property is near the beach!).

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  36. I hadn't heard of these before! I like them though. I like all the different colors.

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  37. This is something Interesting. I came to know about such thing for the 1st time. Nice information!!!

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  38. This was such a fun read. I knew nothing about bathing boxes until today and now I WANT ONE!!! lol

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    1. E can always build on our own places. But owning it in Brighton needs time and tons of money.

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  39. That is insane! Who in their right mind would pay such an amount for a glorified storage unit? Hahaha, I'm glad they keep them so pretty, though.

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    1. Apparently, there are many wants it! Some takes years waiting :D

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  40. The colors are so happy! who would not want to have one, plus its beach-front located? come one?

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    1. Hahaha true! Plus there is NO typhoon here, perfect location!

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  41. Those colorful Brighton Bathing Boxes are so perfect for Instagram. Too bad, they don't have electricity and water supply.

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    1. It isn't much an issue coz the owners usually lived nearby, or have their cars.

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  42. I love the colors they are painted in. Since they are so expensive and that much of a status symbol, I wonder if people copied this on other beaches?

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    1. There are other beach boxes around Victoria, but they might have the same recognition like those in Brighton.

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  43. I went here last 2018 and I had so many photos at each bathing boxes! It actually costs a lot to have one! It's so cool owning one.

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    1. Yes it is so cool! Imagine enjoying the perfect view with your own bathing box, chilling with cold beer with your friends.

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  44. These beach boxes in Melbourne are very well-know and probably one of the most photographed Melbourne on Instagram?
    Thanks for showing it and sharing some awesome photos! - Knycx Journeying

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  45. These boxes are just so pretty. Ideal for social distancing and perfect for an introvert like me who'd want to sit with coffee and a book while watching the world go by.

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  46. I didn't know that one could own such beach houses. This is so cool!

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    1. Someone could, with a lot of patience waiting, and money!

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  47. I love beach huts so much! They're iconic in the UK and there are also huge waiting lists if you want to get one! I know a couple of people who have got lucky (mostly because their parents signed up decades ago!) and it's so lovely being able to hang out at the beach all day and have a spot to rest from the sun, make tea and just chill.

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    1. yeah, lucky those who owned this for generations and got for a minimal costs.

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  48. Lovely photos! I admire these colourful beach boxes. After the lockdown, I'll need some sea breeze... a visit to the beach.

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  49. This is such a fascinating article. I would have had no idea these little boxes could be so expensive!

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    1. That's true! And I still can't believe that many are persistent to own one.

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  50. OMG! they looks so awesome and gorgeous..i just love the view of place with these colorful boxes..they makes it look more unique of all..love your photography...(World in Eyes)

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  51. I love anything colorful next to the ocean. Thank you for the tips on how to get there. This is a spot my husband and I have to put on our bucket list

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    1. Wonderful! Beach access is free, just bring your cooler and foods.

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  52. These beach boxes look so good and classy. I really wish if I could own one.

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    1. Maybe you can use these boxes as inspiration for your future backyard storage.

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  53. Okay, confession time, I never heard about these boxes at all. I am wondering why they cost so much money as well. I guess I need to see them in action during peak season to really grasp their value.

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    1. Anything that has historical marks costs a lot in Australia. You can't cheapen history. :)

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  54. We have these in England as well, we call them beach huts. And yes, they are very expensive, but people do rent them out for the day or for the week.

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    1. Oh that is cool, contrary here in Brighton which they can't.

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  55. I saw a video of a beach box makeover once. I had no idea they existed! They're so cute, and I can just imagine how fun it would be to decorate!

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    1. Yes it is! It made me inspire to repaint our storage room!

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  56. We have a Brighton Beach costs town in the UK. Beach huts are a great way to chill out for sure x

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    1. That's true! And a nice way to stash your beach items, etc.

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  57. I want one! These are so cute and amazing!

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  58. WOw what a cute box out there! I would love to have one and paint it in rainbow colors. I was wondering, if the boxes are so close to each other, and the walls probably thin, aren't you hearing everything what neighbours do?

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    1. Yeah maybe yes! But whatever they are doing, they are in each boxes so there's still privacy. And Melbournian people are known for minding their own business.

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  59. Wow! I have seen similar things in movies, but I did not know they were real! I always think it's fascinating when something from a by gone era survives in present day. It gives you a major glimpse into the past! I love how they are decorated also. Great post!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Candance! My shed at our backyard will be painted like these!

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  60. I truly loved reading this story. What incredible history and it makes for beautiful art.

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  61. Wow! I absolutely loved your post and those colourful Brighton Beach boxes. The price for this 2* 2 box is really insane. They are really solid as they are intact since so long. I liked that they are registered and your generations will be proud of it. Your dad is right. It is good to build a similar one in Philippines.

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    1. In the Philippines, can build like this but liveable! May koryente at tubig, pwede mag saing!

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  62. Those beach boxes are so colorful and have great designs. If you can afford one, why not have one db. I assume those are cheaper here in PH, so I can agree with your Dada to have it done here in PH.

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    1. Yup mas mura magpagawa ng ganito sa Pinas, sure na hindi aabutin ng milyones!

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  63. Correct me if I'm wrong pero Australia nga ba yung pinakaraming beaches sa buong mundo? Hehe super cute dito. Very bright at nakaka-enjoy mag-beach pag ganito yung accommodation!

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    1. Yup they have tons of beaches at konti palang yung napuntahan namin. Mahirap mag swim ngayon, sobrang malamig!

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  64. I always see this in photos and never knew the story behind it. Did you ever see one being used by their owner during your visit? I'm curious since it doesn't have running water and electricity. I suppose a nearby public restroom is big and clean.

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    1. Yup, when we visited there are two boxes that are open and owners are there, chilling! Yup walang koryente at tubig, but there is a nearby public toilet naman na sobrang linis rin. Sleeping here overnight is not allowed too, even you own the box. Wala, pang sosyalan lang and just to chill :)

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  65. That staggering 6digit skyhigh prices is indeed jaw dropping. But I agree, that it is a status symbol to own a bathhouse there, understanding the cultural and historical value it bears.

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    1. That is true! Kaya yung ownership nito pang-matagalan at make sure na may tagapagmana. Kung wala at na-dead yung owner, the council will take-over.

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  66. ive seen these in a couple of tourist pics of my friends and family!!! and ive been eyeing it since then. i bet we've gotta take an awesome OOTD shot there. especially for coco! but i enjoyed reading the background of the brighton beach boxes that you wrote here! didnt really know about it until now.

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    1. There are other bathing boxes around many Victoria's beaches which I've been meaning to visit very soon!

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  67. Wah. If Italy and other countries have their designer bags for luxury, Australia has their beach boxes! I've only been to brisbane once but if ever I get the chance, I am so getting my photos taken here too! Thank you for showing me more of melbourne. :D

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    1. I know right! The value keeps on increasing and not affected by COVID.

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  68. Oh! That is what Brighton Beach boxes are for. I remember going there just for photos. haha And the price is shocking! If it's that expensive back in 2018, I wonder how much the cost is now.

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    1. Oh dear, this upscale property is not affected by the pandemic! It gets higher and higher, nakakahilo! Buti na lang at libre mag-picture :)

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  69. Reminds me of those colorful houses in Baguio, or is it Sagada? Anyway, I see those houses in a lot of travel blogs but it did not occur to me that they were expensive.

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    1. Super expensive and never been affected by recession. We are just lucky that taking photos and videos are OK and free!

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  70. These beach boxes are really popular! Saw a lot of photos from friends already. I am already aware that real estate in Australia is quite pricey, but I have never imagined that these beach boxes would actually cost that much!

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    Replies
    1. That is true! Like they say, location, location. Very fortunate who does who live nearby even you are not rich coz definitely your property will be expensive too.

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