Bay walks, leafy charm and a beachside café culture characterise the laid-back suburb of Elwood in Melbourne's Bayside area. The sense of wellness that often accompanies sea-salted air infuses all aspects of the picturesque community—from the light, fresh and seasonal food offerings to the abundance of health spas and beachside promenades, along which well-clad joggers can be perenially seen exercising against a pristine bay backdrop.
Channelling the fresh, sun-soaked vibe of the suburb year-round is picturesque café Combi, known for its healthy raw food menu and Instagram-worthy smoothies. Although Vietnamese restaurant Dandelion has an informal vibe, its use of high-quality ingredients elevates it beyond your standard local. If you're around on the first Tuesday of the month, don't miss their Chilli Crab Nights. Meaning "cool" in Italian, Figo has you sorted for both decadent dinners feasting on Roman-style pizza, and lazy Sunday afternoons eating hand-churned gelato.
A local community fixture with a misleading name, The Grumpy Swimmer is a bookstore that combines a carefully curated range of books with beautiful homewares and design-forward kids' toys. In addition to their retail side, the store also hosts a book club and regular storytelling and poetry reading nights. Another treasure trove of hand-selected items, Mad About the Girl is a mixed bag of local and international fashion labels.
A visit to Elwood is one that will leave you feeling rejuvenated—a result of the fresh, salt-tinged air and the fact that it is an active hub for wellbeing-based businesses. This is Life is one such business, with spaces that are used to facilitate yoga classes, small group fitness, remedial massage, acupuncture and a variety of wellness workshops. No matter what you do, don't leave Elwood without going on a walk up to Point Ormond Lookout, where you'll find sweeping views over the water—you may even spot a dolphin swimming below.