Melbourne may be Australia’s “second city,” but it has first-rate options for food, fitness, and all things wellness. (Oz is the home of avocado toast, after all.)
Local Tamara Weston, founder of T-Form Pilates, says Melbourners are spoiled with choices. “Around every corner, you’ll discover a new studio or gym where you can find passionate instructors who love what they do,” she says. “With such a variety, it’s about discovering your style and finding the right fit for you.”
Plan your trip! From cool cafés to meditation studios, here’s a guide to healthy Melbourne.
It’s hard to find a bad cup of joe in Melbourne, which is famous for its coffee culture. Serious bean snobs will like Serotonin, a sustainability minded spot with an on-site garden. Similarly, the specialty roasts at Industry Beans are renowned, and its turmeric-and-beetroot bagel may well be on its way, too.
But for a spot that’s as Instagram-friendly as it is delicious, head to the bright and happy bayside cafe Combi. If it’s the middle of winter, try one of their hot creamy bowls of organic steel-cut oats, made with almond milk, cinnamon, banana, strawberries, and organic maple syrup. If it’s summertime, go for a peanut butter açai bowl. Need something for the road? Grab one of their raw salty caramel slices on the way out—life-changing!
When Happy Melon first opened its doors in late 2015, it was the first studio in Melbourne to blend mindfulness with movement. With its mantra being “get the mind right, the body will follow,” pop in for a meditation or yoga class, and you’ll leave in the right head space.
On that note, here’s an insider tip: Happy Melon’s co-founder, Masha, loves to zone out in a salt solution bath at one of Melbourne’s many flotation pods: “I think it’s the best meditation and sensory withdrawal,” she explains. Flotation pods can be found all over town, but Masha recommends Gravity Floatation Centre.
After a day of sightseeing, a sound bath at Universal Practice may be just what you need. A class for up to 12 people, the yin sound bath is a blend of yoga, mindfulness, and Chinese medicine. Gentle poses are held for prolonged periods, relaxing and surrendering the whole body in the present moment, while focusing on deep connective tissue, joints, and ligaments. And the best part? The class is accompanied with the healing vibrations of the Universal Practice gong and singing bowls.
Or for something more invigorating, take a class at the Australian Ballet. Held at The Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre Studios, there are four different types of ballet classes to choose from. All will tone your entire body while improving your balance, flexibility, and range of motion at the same time.
Komyuniti is a beautiful studio space and clinic with an incredibly gentle eco footprint (think reclaimed timber floor boards, recyclable PET furniture and fixtures, non-toxic VOC free paints, energy efficient lighting, eco-conscious yoga mats, and so on). Many people come here for acupuncture, but it also offers Chinese medicine, the Emmett technique, naturopathy and nutrition, and massage.
For a pretty souvenir, head to The Lab Organics, Australia’s leading organic and natural beauty store. Sandwiched between the charming shops of North Carlton’s leafy Rathdowne Street, this boutique sources and stock luxurious, quality products that deliver on their promises of environmentally friendly and sustainable ingredients. It’s the perfect afternoon stop, natch.
Stock up on health food at Terra Madre, whose narrow aisles are filled with fresh fruit and veggies, not to mention popular products from local and interstate suppliers. If you’re a chocolate lover (and who isn’t?) grab a raw, organic, locally made treat from Loving Earth or Pana. You won’t be disappointed. (If it’s natural therapies you are after, Terra Madre also has a wellness clinic onsite—for truly one-stop shopping!)
Consider a pilgrimage to the Tofu Shop, too. It might not be the hippest or most design-friendly cafe, but what it does, it does it well—and that’s fresh, healthy, whole foods including house-made tofu. Grab a seat at the bar in the window, or maybe a sunny outdoor table, and hand-pick what goes in your lunch (or dinner) bowl from the daily changing menu. It’s delicious food to sustain the mind, body and soul. Hot tip: There’s always brown rice under the counter, so make sure you ask if you can’t see it at first glance.
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