Quieter than touristy St Kilda but with much more character than posh Brighton; Elwood is a beach-side suburb which provides the best of both world’s, just 8km’s outside of Melbourne’s city centre.
Once a thriving area for nightlife and cabaretareas, Elwood’s artistic bourgeoisie feeling remains (many of the streets are named after famous anglo writers, essayists and poets) despite it becoming increasingly gentrified. Gentrification adds to its charm, as an eclectic mix of residents now call it home – young families, students, professionals, gay couples – each bringing it with its own quirks and needs but all seeking a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Locals can be found enjoying the bayside, partaking in cycling, windsurfing, cricket or walking; and the suburbs buildings mix Edwardian or Art Deco charmers alongside stark modern design.
There’s also a strong cafe movement happening that’s well worth enjoying, particularly on a table outside beneath the trees on a sunny day!
These are my 5 favourite things to do in Elwood
Life’s a Beach
If you ask most people what to do in Elwood, they’ll respond with “go to the beach!”
While popular with locals, it is a little harder to access by public transport than St Kilda and South Melbourne, so you’ll likely be able to find a comfy spot for you to lay your beach towel.
A number of cool cafes have been popping up in Elwood Village and the surrounding area. These are my five faves:
- Plain Sailing – come for the Eggs Benedict, stay for the delicious coffee and people watching!
- Jerry’s Milk Bar – Hearty brekkie classics dished up in an Elwood icon.
- The Turtle Elwood – Come for the Instagrammable food, stay for the perfect place to catch up with friends.
- Mr Tuppy – Classic cafe dishes with a Cambodian twist!
- Little Sunflower Cafe – Come here if you seek nutrition, health and vitality.
Shop in Elwood
You won’t find many chain stores in Elwood. Instead, you’ll find bodegas or deli’s, or small boutiques and local businesses throughout Elwood. Here are a couple of the places I think are must visits:
- If you are looking for something new to read beachside, or the perfect quirky gift, The Grumpy Swimmer is the place you need to go.
- Looking for something new to wear? Obdressed has you covered. They have a great range of footwear available, many by local Victorian brands.
- Stocking the dreamy, beachy, bohemian clothing that you’ll spot the locals wearing, Significant Other is another of my favourite places to look for a new signature piece.
- I’ve bought a couple of prints for my apartment from Indigo Framing. A great momento to bring home to hang in your house.
- Kahaani Collective is best known for their bone in-lay furniture, but I go there for the other assortment of local and international gifts. From candles to jewellery, beautiful rugs, pillows and more!
For more shopping in Elwood, you’ll find most of the shops listed, and many other great boutiques, on Ormond Road, Elwood. There is a smaller selection of stores around the corner on Glen Huntly Road.
Picnics and Farmers Markets
Don’t be fooled by the name: the St Kilda Botanical Gardens are actually in Dickens St, Elwood.
The Saint Kilda Botanical Gardens are a hidden gem in the back streets of Saint Kilda. The gardens are open seven days a week and have beautiful botanic grounds including many native Australian trees – each labelled with their scientific name. There is also a beautiful rose garden and conservatory where you might spot a wedding. In addition, there is a playground, duck pond, community garden and plenty of picnic tables. I recommend bringing a picnic blanket and meeting friends with food or even just kicking back by yourself with a good book. I love these gardens because they have a wonderful atmosphere and plenty of room for everyone – from sunbathing backpackers to people walking their dogs to people with young children. The surrounding streets have free parking and the park has wheelchair access. This is one of my favourite spots in Saint Kilda.
If local produce is more your style, check out the Elwood Farmers Market. Held on the second Saturday of each month at Elwood College, the market is bursting with locally sourced produce and products to pick-up and take home – or to the beach! – for an easy gourmet meal.
If you are wondering what to do in Elwood, I say do what the locals do; this bunch like to get active!
You’ll find locals walking, running, and cycling along the beachside paths often ending with a coffee or brunch in one of the friendly cafes.
If you want to get on your bike, or venture by foot, consider taking either the Bay Trail – following the coastline between Melbourne’s beachside suburbs – or make your way to Point Ormond Hill – a gorgeous lookout spot with quite an interesting history.
What to know before you go:
How to get to Elwood:
Elwood is currently served only by three main bus routes, including running to Monash University Clayton.
A short walk away you can find Tram route 67 that runs along Brighton Road/Nepean Highway.
The nearest railway station is at Elsternwick or Ripponlea (both on the other side of the Nepean Highway/Brighton Road boundary).
The best way to plan how to get to Elwood is by using the Public Transport for Victoria (PTV) App available online and to download on Apple and Android.
Where to stay in Elwood:
While Elwood is a beautiful place to stay and live, it is a very local neighbourhood meaning there are no hotels.
If you’d like to stay in Elwood, I recommend checking Airbnb for available properties.
If you sign up using this link,
you’ll get up to $50 off your first stay!
If you are looking for a Melbourne beachside suburb with hotels, I recommend you check accommodation options in vibrant St Kilda.
The comfortable, well-appointed Cosmopolitan Hotel is seconds from bustling Acland Street. Better still the tram running into the city stops out the front and the SkyBus that connects travellers with Melbourne International Airport (MEL) is opposite the hotel.
If you want something a little further from the action, but within walking distance, the Quest St Kilda Bayside is another great pick. They offer apartment hotels so you have all the conveniences of home but also within minutes of the fantastic bars and restaurants of St Kilda.
Melbourne has a great transportation system and accommodation at every price point. To get the most out of your stay I recommend you stay in the city at a property like QT Melbourne, Notel Melbourne, or one of these funky Melbourne boutique hotels.
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