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Southbank: The small yet sophisticated suburb’ where residents live the high life

By Georgina Shanahan

Much was said in recent years about urbanites fleeing the cities for a tree or sea change, but as Australia inches closer to a new normal, a craving for the city’s vibrant cultural and social scenes seems to be making a comeback.

This is particularly true for well-rounded neighbourhoods like Melbourne’s Southbank, a small yet sophisticated suburb along the Yarra River. With the vast majority of its residents living in high-rise apartments, fantastic views across city streets and people on the move serve as daily reminders of the excitement and action afforded by this world-class cultural hub.

Moving to Melbourne 11 years ago and choosing Southbank as the place to call home proved to be “the best decision”, says Michael Pastrikos of Ray White Southbank, with the inner-city suburb linking you to all of Melbourne’s best lifestyle precincts while still having a unique atmosphere and lifestyle to enjoy.

Southbank and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centres as seen from the Seafarers pedestrian bridge. Photo: Rob Blackburn

“When you step out from your building, you’re not going to find a quiet suburban street, but you won’t find the constant hive of activity that you will in Melbourne city either,” says Pastrikos. “There are pockets of Southbank where you will find quiet leafy streets and others that are buzzing with people and activity — generally, it’s a balanced blend of the two.”

Pastrikos has witnessed firsthand how energy and life have zealously been restored in Melbourne, along with people returning to work in the office, resulting in buyer demand and activity increasing once again.

“Southbank attracts inner-city professionals who want to be close to work, as well as those who enjoy having endless options of urban-focused activities,” says Pastrikos. “There’s a reason why Melbourne is highly regarded as one of the most livable cities in the world, and Southbank allows you to experience this with daily ease.”

Teatro is one of the suburb’s many restaurants and cafes along the Yarra River. Photo: Josie Withers

Offering slices of serenity in Southbank, Shane and Bridget Fernando run two local ventures that aim to strengthen the area’s sense of community. The cafe and share library Frankie Walter Peta opened in 2017, followed by the cafe and yoga studio Nadi Studios, which opened in 2021.

“Bridget and I have both lived in the area for eight years; it’s where we have worked, raised kids, and grown our businesses,” says Shane. “It’s great to watch the corporate crowd come in during the week who enjoy having their favourite coffee shops at their office doorstep. But even more rewarding is seeing residents get to know each other and build genuine bonds, just like they would in a suburban community.”

Aside from the daily task of getting the kids out of the apartment and stopping by both businesses to nourish happy teams and customers, Shane shares the routines to best relish the Southbank lifestyle.

“We love popping into the Boyd library and playground, heading to an art gallery to be inspired by the latest exhibition, and ducking over to the South Melbourne Market during the weekends,” shares Shane. “Even nearby parks are in excess, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Alexandra Gardens, and Birrarung Marr, just to name a few.”


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