Breathe in, breathe out, and relax. After all, here in the idyllic bayside suburb of Black Rock, the hustle and bustle of the city really is a world away. Ever since the 1850s, when Charles Ebden built his beachside holiday house which gave the area its name, Black Rock has been a place for Melbourne’s elite to retreat.
Sheltered beneath the iconic backdrop of dramatic red cliffs, the poetically named Half Moon Bay offers a peaceful sanctuary to enjoy alone, with your canine or your kids. You could even sip on a coffee while you gaze out at the wrecked HMVS Cerberus that juts out from the still, glassy bay.
Black Rock House still stands in the heart of the suburb, its bluestone wall and stables protected by the impressive boughs of a fig tree. It’s just one of the local historic landmarks that add a touch of charm to the area. Nearby, the Black Rock Clock Tower stands as a beacon for lycra-clad cyclists powering their way along beach road on a Sunday morning, promising great coffee and healthy brunches.
Speaking of food, whether you’re into decadent pastries or modern tapas, Black Rock’s dining scene is sure to satisfy. The evocative sound of accordions transports you to Paris as you as you step into the cosy Flavours Patisserie Cafe. Here passionate pastry chef Christopher creates mouth-watering, flaky croissants by hand over three days using butter imported from Normandy.
Locals who like to try their hand in the kitchen have been sourcing their fresh pasta from The Pasta Eater for over two decades. Latest owner Julie has been churning out trays of everything from traditional spaghetti to soft pillows of roasted beetroot and caramelised onion ravioli since she left the corporate world to pursue her passion for pasta aged 50, and hasn’t looked back.
As the sun sets, locals wind down after the working week by sipping on wine and grazing on seafood and cheese plates at Black Drop, or tasting a local brew at converted garage True South, while sharing some Argentinian style tapas.
Black Rock may have a laidback vibe, but its beautiful surrounds entice most people to get active – and the options here are abundant. Hop on your bike for a cruise with a view, take a dip in the bracing waters of the bay, or fix your gaze on the actual horizon outside the windows of yoga studio Elevate Yoga as you perfect your tree pose. If golf is more your thing, step out onto the greens for a round at the exclusive Royal Melbourne Golf Club. There are also lawn bowls and tennis clubs nearby.
When it comes to shopping, locals are spoilt for choice. Independent boutiques overflow with luxurious homewares, clothes and accessories. There’s even a local flavour at shops like Kennedy Lane, with walls adorned by local art, and body products, clothes and accessories made right here in Melbourne.
Boasting two primary schools, and large family homes on quiet tree-lined streets, the village of Black Rock is perfectly suited to young families. Then again, with an array of properties available, from period homes and modern townhouses to affordable apartments, it’s a fabulous place to call home whatever your set up.