I am madly in love with beautiful Australia. When I go back home to visit, my first stop is Geelong and the Surf Coast where I grew up. Geelong has come along way in recent times, with Melbourne style cafes popping up all over the place, and little boutiques showing off the latest style trends.
Some of my favorite cafes to catch up with friends at are Winter’s Café (try their salads and smoothies - yum), King of the Castle (ultra cool space and decor), Cartel (a great little coffee shop), Freckleduck (serving tasty food and coffee) and The Backyard. *Note The Backyard café does epic salad nights every Friday.
My go to stores for some “treat myself” shopping are Boom Gallery (filled with treasures made by extremely talented and creative local artists), The Flower Dispensary (one of the most stunning flower stores I have seen), Seed (for affordable yet stylish clothing), Ampersand (chat with Patrizia the colorful owner and interior décor expert), Thule Trading (mother - daughter owned home wares store), and Frank & Dolly’s (bohemian bliss).
Check out the ultimate fashion and home wares store on the Surf Coast S&R (located in beautiful Barwon Heads and ultra cool Torquay). Also, not to be missed: Sukii in Queenscliff, and Florence & Threads in Ocean Grove. I also recently discovered two divine art galleries in historic Queenscliff: Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop and Salt Contemporary Art (be sure to enjoy a cocktail at the stunning bar filled with antique furniture above Salt Contemporary Art).
One thing about coming back home that makes me sad is that Organic food is STILL very expensive (check out the Australian Organic website for more helpful information about sourcing and buying). The best place to shop for high quality food is the local farmer’s market (fortunately there’s a great one near my family home on the 4th Saturday morning of each month 8am-1pm in Newtown - Cnr Shannon Avenue & West Fyans Streets). Here you can find over 20 specialist boutique stalls featuring season fruit, herbs, vegetables, deli-style foods, cheeses, fresh bread, wine, free-range eggs, meats, fresh flowers, plants and more (be sure to hunt down the girls at Earth Angel Pantry for some tasty treats). To get more super healthy food from trusted stores with knowledgeable staff that have a passion for nutrition and wellness, I love Mammoth Health in Highton, Organic Mojo on Pakington St in Newtown, and Organic Larder in Geelong city.
Some healthy treats on the Surf Coast include: the darling café The Kindness Co., The Bottle of Milk (gourmet grass-fed burgers), Surfcoast Wholefoods, and McGain’s Nursery, Café and Food Store (tucked away in Anglesea), The Farmer’s Place on Anglesea Road (Mt Duneed), Uncle Jack’s in Ocean Grove, and last but not least Mr Grubb Café at Oakdene Vineyards.
In Melbourne I enjoyed the salads at both Touchwood, Reunion & Co, and Little Somethin Somethin, as well as a tasty dinner at Kong BBQ (Korean) all in Richmond where my sister lives. You can read about my prior trip to South Fitzroy, another funky Melbourne neighborhood near the city, which I adore, here.
Next stop is ALWAYS Sydney on my way back home to SF to visit my gorgeous friend Nelly. In Manly, Sydney – you can check out my article from a previous visit here with ultra healthy “go to” options to nourish your body and soul.
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