Get a real taste of Melbourne in vibrant street and food markets and then relax with a picnic in the grounds of a stately home.
By Ellie Schneider
Fashion-conscious South Yarra and Prahran are crammed with bars, eateries and designer boutiques. Shop till you drop down Chapel Street then refuel at its countless cafés tucked behind the main thoroughfare. Hit offbeat Greville Street for one-of-a-kind gems, taste all things delicious at Prahran Market, and stay on after dark for cocktails with a twist.
- Update your wardrobe on Chapel Street
- Dine at trendy cafés and restaurants
- Visit Australia’s oldest food market
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Top things to do in South Yarra and Prahran
Eat, drink and be merry
Start the day at Two Birds One Stone, a bright, airy café serving sophisticated breakfast and lunch fare such as twice cooked brioche French toast with banana, chocolate and macadamia nut praline, or pan seared salmon with potato rosti, truffled cauliflower purée and poached eggs. At dinner, siblings Hanoi Hannah, Saigon Sally and Tokyo Tina serve contemporary Asian fare worth queuing for. Then there’s buzzing Hawker Hall, which offers a menu of more than 50 dishes inspired by the hawker hubs found in Singapore and Malaysia – think satay, noodles, beef rendang and fried squid. The neighbourhood is also home to swanky cocktail bars, such as Two Wrongs, a lavish venue mixing knock out cocktails and clever bar snacks, while The Alps has become the go-to for its excellent wine selection.
Shop for designer or vintage threads…
Chapel Street’s door-to-door boutiques extend from South Yarra through Prahran and onward to Windsor, offering international brands and the best from young Australian designers. Sought-after Australian names including Zimmermann, Gorman and Life with Bird can all be found at the South Yarra end of Chapel Street, alongside cult Swedish denim label Nudie Jeans, Topshop and M.A.C cosmetics. Further along in Prahran you’ll find one of Melbourne’s longest running secondhand stores, Chapel Street Bazaar, which is divided into individual stalls selling everything from clothing and jewellery to ceramics and scented candles.
… And cool crafts down Greville Street
Wander down Greville Street and you’ll discover a string of small businesses selling handmade jewellery, fashion and art. The shopping strip, which runs between Chapel Street and Prahran railway station, has seen a major renewal over the past few years as locals seek high-quality products. An old gentlemen’s social club has been converted into a barbershop, offering hot towel shaves, quiffs and contours. Australian label Aesop is on hand for its luxury skincare range. And Lunar Store stocks some of the loveliest locally crafted ceramics in town. But it’s not all newcomers here. Greville Records is a stalwart on Melbourne’s music scene and since 1978 has been championing rare vinyl gems from independent labels.
Visit Prahran Market
Prahran Market is Australia’s oldest continuously running food market and has been in operation since 1864. Today the market prides itself on its high quality fruit and vegetables, its wide range of organic produce, fresh sustainable seafood and hard-to-find specialty goods. Visit on an empty stomach – you’ll want to eat everything, from Maker & Monger’s Swiss raclette to pomegranate Turkish delight with gold leaf and a huge range of homemade dips at Naheda’s Choice and spanakopita from Sweet Greek. Then there’s the coffee. Specialty roaster Market Lane Coffee offers a variety of single origins and brewing methods, as well as free public coffee tastings each Saturday.
Wander through beautifully manicured gardens
Built in 1847, Como House and Garden captures Melbourne’s past grandeur in a perfect time capsule. Here you can glimpse the lives of former residents the Armytage family in a mansion set on more than two hectares (five acres) of beautifully landscaped gardens. The gracious home remains furnished with the family’s exquisite heirlooms. The gardens are open to the public daily, and house tours run every Saturday and Sunday at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm. While you’re there be sure to visit The Stables of Como, a quaint café nestled within the estate’s former stables. Order a fancy high tea or pre-packed picnic basket to enjoy out in the garden.
How to get there
South Yarra lies four kilometres (2.5 miles) southeast of Melbourne’s city centre and can easily be reached by train from Flinders Street station. To travel the length of Chapel Street, hop on the 78 tram, which traverses the suburbs of South Yarra, Prahran and Windsor.