Once attracting only well-heeled residents who could afford a mansion overlooking the bay, the colorful suburb of St Kilda has changed dramatically over the last 50 years or so and is now a lively and buzzing area full of restaurants, cafes, a weekend market and of course: iconic Luna Park, the beach and the St Kilda Sea Baths.
Brighton on the other hand is still a gentrified suburb and its famous Brighton Baths have been in use since 1881. As the only place in Melbourne where you can swim in an enclosed Olympic-sized swimming area, the Baths attract a lot of visitors and run regular swim groups and meets.
If you are not keen for a dip yourself, you can always take a stroll on the private boardwalk that encloses the swimming area and watch the Brighton Sea Baths Icebergers, a die-hard group of swimmers who take a refreshing dip no matter the time of year!
The St Kilda Sea Baths on the other hand, has Melbourne’s only heated indoor seawater pool. So if you like the thought of an ocean dip and it’s the middle of the Melbourne winter, St Kilda Sea Baths is definitely the softer option!
Both Sea Baths offer a steam room, gym facilities, several dining options and are best visited as a half-day or a relaxing full day trip. At the St Kilda Sea Baths you can also treat yourself to a visit to Spa Dreamtime, a luxury spa retreat with panoramic views of Port Philip Bay.
St Kilda and Brighton are just 6km and 11km (3.7mi and 6.8mi) from Melbourne’s CBD and are easily accessible by tram, bus or car.
Don’t miss the colorful Victorian-era bathing boxes on Brighton Beach.