#1: The burbs – Fitzroy, Victoria With its eclectic, bohemian personality, this inner-city Melbourne suburb is a riot of street art, cafes and shopping. The best place to start any exploration of these parts is on Gertrude Street, off the main drag of Brunswick Street. Breakfast: Find a table at South American diner Sonido ( No. 69) and order an arepa, a round patty made from maize, and topped with everything from cheese, eggs, beef or chorizo. Time to shop Cottage Industry (No. 67) is a small boutique filled with fashion and homeware pieces that have been designed and made in Fitzroy or sourced from around the world; Pickings & Parry (No. 166) has menswear and accessories imbibed with quality and craftsmanship. Lunch: As the name implies, Archie’s All Day (No. 189) serves from early to late, with the lunch menu of burgers and comfort food kicking into action at 10am so there is no pause in proceedings. Time to shop some more Obus (No. 226) is the work of fashion designer Kylie Zebst, whose wearable designs are influenced by her travels; Little Salon (No. 71) has girly frocks, accessories, homewares and Lovehate jewellery. Dinner: Chef Andrew McConnell’s Cutler & Co (No. 55-57) is a local institution housed in an old metal works.
#2: The burbs – Burleigh Heads, Queensland “I escape to Burleigh at any opportunity I can get. To me, it is the capital of the new-era Gold Coast. It has such a positive pull, a real sense of community and a very relaxed atmosphere. Burleigh has been revitalised into a dynamic and contemporary destination, whilst effortlessly paying tribute to its glittering 1960s surf town history.” -Kara Rosenlund, travel, documentary and lifestyle photographer
#3: The burbs – North Hobart, Tasmania You don’t really know North Hobart unless you know to (cheekily) call it NoHo. Alliterations aside, this suburb has seen a mini boom over the last few years as rental returns in our southernmost state climbed and climbed, and ‘mainlanders’ started discovering the allure of a more Tasmanian pace of life. Suddenly its slightly pedestrian main street, Elizabeth Street, located up the hill from the more sparkly waterfront of Salamanca Place, was transformed into a funky collection of cafes, eateries, shops and galleries retro-fitted into the area’s charming historic buildings, many of which date back over 100 years. So now NoHo is des-res in the extreme.
#4: The burbs – Manly, New South Wales From beachside beauty spots where art and surf coexist to inner city enclaves dedicated to the pursuit of living well, these local haunts have all your desires covered. Learning to surf is almost a rite of passage for Australians given our land is girt by sea, and a favourite place to learn some board basics is on the sands of the celebrated northern Sydney beachside suburb of Manly. Lessons at Manly Surf School are stacks of fun, with adult and kids’ lessons throughout the year. Then dry off and head to one of the many cafes serving up serious coffee and beachside cool: the lovely Boathouse at Shelly Beach with its Instagram-worthy interiors; the Nordic cool of Fika Swedish Kitchen; or Barefoot Coffee Traders and Showbox Coffee Brewers, always packed with locals.
#5: The burbs – Parramatta, New South Wales Eat: Parramatta, and neighbouring Harris Park, have a lock on some of the best Indian food in Sydney, from dosa to biryani; try Ginger Indian Restaurant for delicious North Indian curries. Drink: There is no signage at Uncle Kurt’s; it’s hidden below a car park (Horwood Place). If you do manage to locate it, you will find a graffiti-daubed space serving up serious cocktails and NY deli fare. Play: What with a revamped Tropfest film festival that took place in Parramatta Park this year; the Sydney Festival program getting bigger and better here each year (including the ever popular Spiegeltent); the Riverside Theatre attracting artists and performers from all over the world; and the colourful Parramasala festival, a three-day celebration of the diverse cultures that thrive in the greater Sydney area, there’s never a dull moment in Parramatta, literally!
#6: The burbs – Cottesloe, Western Australia A Indian Ocean alternative to its Bondi big sister, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe is staged on the beach here each March. Founding director David Handley explains why you should visit this Perth suburb for longer:
- Cottesloe is one of Australia’s most stunning beaches with views to the horizon that seem to stretch forever – and Perth has arguably the best sunsets of any major city in the world. The amphitheatre looking onto the beach from under the shade of the pine trees gives you a different perspective of the walk to compare with when you walk along the sand.
- Over 200,000 people come from all across Perth and south-west Western Australia to see the exhibition. Each Friday to Sunday evening Cottesloe Beach becomes Perth’s giant passeggiata with thousands of people wandering among the sculptures on the beach as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. It is the most extraordinary relaxed community vibe.
- Most people say you should visit two or three times as the sculptures and the atmosphere change at different times of day. My favourite times are to beat the crowds with an early morning wander around the sculptures followed by a swim and then breakfast at John Street Café. Or arrive around 5pm to soak up the atmosphere of the sunset crowds on the sand before heading to Il Lido for drinks and dinner. Make sure you drop into ‘Sculpture Inside’, our exhibition of small indoor works in a large walk-in marquee on the Sea View Golf course across the road from the beach. I am jealous of everyone eating fish and chips under the trees watching the sunset before or after a beer at the Cottesloe Beach Hotel.
#7: The burbs – Cabramatta, New South Wales The south-western Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, located roughly 30 kilometres from the city, serves up a cultural melting pot of ethnicities, cuisine and culture. Here, five spots to sample on your next visit:
- While the rest of Sydney prides itself on its coffee culture, tea is hero here. Teabags T-shop serves sweet, refreshing fruit teas served in easy to carry zip-lock bags.
- Get hands on with the local cuisine by ordering the DIY rice paper rolls option at various eateries in and around John Street; Phu Quoc is a favourite with locals.
- If the size of the crowd waiting for tables is your metric of how good a restaurant is, Pho Ann might be the best around, with locals milling patiently at the entrance watching those inside slurp up bowls of the delicate broth.
- Eastland Supermarket Sieu Thi Dong Khanh has aisle after aisle of Asian staples, from fresh noodles to spices to gleaming woks.
- Fabric shops are another specialty, festooned with colourful bolts of fabric outside, with everything from zippers to thread spools inside.
#8: The burbs – Balaclava, Victoria Never heard of the south-east Melbourne suburb of Balaclava? Well, here are a few facts to enlighten you on the subject:
- It is considered by many to be St Kilda’s slightly cooler cousin given it is bordered by the eternally hip bay-side suburb, but remains largely undiscovered by the weekend hordes.
- There is a huge Jewish Orthodox community here, reflected in the presence of stores like Glick’s, a local institution, opened in 1969 by Mendel Glick, and still producing chewy bagels and all manner of breads and bakes.
- The local coffee scene is concentrated along Carlisle Street and nearby Inkerman and William Streets, while a cold beer on a hot day can be had at The Local Taphouse.
#9: The burbs – Semaphore, South Australia This charming beachside suburb 14 kilometres from the centre of Adelaide has something going on all year round. Semaphore Summer Carnival: This event takes place from mid-December to the last Sunday in January, with fireworks on New Year’s Eve and Australia Day. Semaphore Greek Cultural Festival: Held in mid-January, this iconic celebration will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019. Adelaide International Kite Festival: Look forward t0 a riot of colour on the beach – and in the skies – over the Easter long weekend. Semaphore Music Festival: Held on the Labour Day long weekend in October, it features performers, food trucks, rides and craft beers. Semaphore Street Fair: Prepare for a day of family fun taking place along Semaphore Street on the last Sunday in November.
#10: The burbs – Kalamunda, Western Australia If the worth of a suburb is measured by the talent and passion of the people who choose to be there, then Kalamunda’s cachet is on the up and up. Located in the eastern suburbs of Perth, at the very edge of the metropolitan area, the location saw significant development in the post-war era, especially during the ’60s and ’70s, and now boasts a population of over 62,000 people, including a few significant transplants from the CBD: two of the headlining eateries here, Mason & Bird and Chatford & Co Cafe, are helmed by ex-Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth alumni. At Chatford & Co Cafe it’s ex-head pastry chef, Gavin Chater, while over at Mason & Bird, former Rockpool managers Matt Nguyen and Jaclyn Noel have teamed up with Brad Johnston.