Melbourne, Australia’s so-called second city is a veritable playground for those pursuing wellness in all its forms. It’s the southern hemisphere’s home of speciality coffee and avo toast, where a stroll down Fitzroy streets will more than likely involve a pattern of trendy functional training studio, hipster coffee joint, health food supermarket and ethical fashion boutique on repeat.
Then there’s its backpacker-thronged beach towns – Prahran, St Kilda, Brighton and beyond – where active lifestyles, eco-consciousness and plant-based diets aren’t only catered for, they’re the basis for all the city’s premier hangouts.
Here are our picks of the best that Melbourne has to offer.
Classes at Prahran’s most pristine yoga studio, Humming Puppy, are conducted to the tune of a hum to submerse your practice in a frequency that optimizes anything from grounding you to enhancing “gamma” brainwave activity.
The fitness franchise faster-growing than McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway may have started in Sydney, but F45‘s Melbourne studios are characteristically challenging, ultra-varied and popular. Hit up an early session in Fitzroy, and for an extra shot of energy, don’t neglect a life-changing espresso at Industry Beans, just around the corner.
Run the Tan Track
Melbourne’s Tan Track is a 4km lap given its name for its tan-coloured gravel, the tan-covered bark it was once covered in or the picturesque royal bo”tan”ical gardens it encircles, depending who you ask. It’s the city’s most popular running route, and for good reason. Try beat Craig Mottram’s 10 minute 8 second record.
At Happy Melon, you can embark on anything from massage and reflexology to meditation, reformer Pilates and boxing. Regardless of what you choose to practise there, the end goal is always holistic – benefits for body and brain leading to a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life.
All your plant-based shopping can be catered to at Vincent’s, where everything from doughnuts to dumplings are vegan. Situated on uber-trendy Brunswick Street, stop by for a snack and enjoy at its cosy on-site cafe or fill the pantry of your nearby loft-style Airbnb with the delights on its shelves, including plant-based whipped cream, honeycomb and condensed milk.
For the best vegan ramen you’ll taste in Melbourne – perhaps the whole of Australia – order the okonomiyaki at Neko Neko. Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “grilled” – in this case, eggless egg noodles are bound with cashew cream, which swim in 20-ingredient vegetable stock with miso eggplant and macadamia sushi.
Lentil as Anything
Lentil as Anything focuses on social fairness, recognising delicious vegan food not only as nourishment but also a way in which communities can thrive together. First arriving in St Kilda, this is one of Australia’s original social enterprises, with a contribution model whereby patrons are encouraged to donate either through labour or skill, plus its inclusive pay as you feel model.
Fill Your Keep Cup
Melbourne’s historic migration from the Mediterranean planted the bean for the city’s unparalleled artisanal coffee scene. Popular haunts such as Industry Beans, Merlo and Proud Mary roast their beans on-site, and you’ll be rewarded with money off your brew should you choose to have it served in your Huskee Coffee Cup (or any other refillable vessel, for that matter).
St Kilda Beach
Whether you’re getting your adrenaline kick from the world’s oldest continuously-operating roller coaster at Luna Park, strolling down the beachfront with a green juice or swimming in the sea, St Kilda epitomises the laid back Australian dream. Be sure to spend a day or two there.
Queen Victoria Market
Alongside didgeridoos, boomerangs and other fare targeted at tourists, Queen Vic Market is where Melbournians go for the best quality fruit and veg (and best value, too), plus delicacies from Australia and beyond. It operates daily but for Mondays and Wednesdays. Don’t leave without trying the vegan gelato at Geloso’s.
This aesthetically beautiful, carefully-curated wellness practice in Fitzroy offers all forms of healing under one roof. From nutrition consultation to Chinese and natural medicine, all the therapists and practitioners at Komyuniti work together to combine their experience for one uber-informed, holistic health goal.