1-16 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067
Located a mere 4km from Melbourne’s CBD, Abbotsford Convent is the perfect spot for a sunny day. It is an ex-monastic site that is now home to over 100 studios, two galleries, cafes, a bandroom, an outdoor cinema, a radio station, a school, and an abundance of green open space.
Although we’ve just hit Autumn, yesterday sure still felt like Summer so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to head down to Abbotsford Convent. Given that it was 30 degrees C (but felt like 40 degrees), I wore a light, white lace-up playsuit. It’s sold out for anyone asking, but I’ve linked some other similar and super cute ones below!
It’s one of my favourite spots in Melbourne to spend a lazy afternoon.
If you’re up for it, grab (or hire) a bike, some friends, and cycle down to the convent – it’s a really popular spot for bike riding and you’ll find many tracks. Although it’s almost in the city, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the country with the wide open spaces and farm animals!
Eat + Drink
Once you’ve had a little wander around, you can choose to have a picnic (with of course lots of rosé) or head to one of the following spots all located in the convent.
The Convent Bakery: Breads, cakes and cafe food in a converted convent with wood-fired ovens and leafy outdoor seating. The lemon tarts are to. die for and you can balance it out with a delicious, light quinoa salad and smoothie!
Kappaya Japanese Soul Food Cafe: Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Japanese food. I’ll happily survive of sushi for the rest of my life. As well as doing incredible bento boxes, Kappaya also serve home-made sweets, organic coffee, imported Japanese tea, beer, sake and organic wine. Between the food and the light, colonial-feel setting, this place is just plain good for the soul.
Lentil As Anything: This vegetarian restaurant provides amazing vegan and gluten free meals with organic fruit and vegetables as much as possible. The cool thing about this place is that it is run by donations and goes by a pay-what-you-feel model. When your meal is over, you simply pay how much you think it deserves.
See + do
The farmers market. A great way to stock your pantry and spend a lovely morning. Expect lots of fresh food stalls – from organic seasonal veg & fruit, eggs, oils & meats to cheeses and preserves. Grab a coffee from Eureka Coffee and come sample all the delicious produce.
Runs the 4th Saturday of every month, 8am-1pm. For more info: mfm.com.au.
Shadow Electric Open-air Cinema. The cinema runs every November to March and it’s now in its 3rd season. There’s big releases, combined with cult classics. The movies are a big drawcard but that’s just the start – there’s also a bandroom, food trucks and a bar.
Cycle around. Bring or hire a bike and cycle around the grounds with a stop for ice-cream or sweet pastry at the bakery!
St Heliers Street Gallery. Established in 2009, St Heliers Street Gallery is an Abbotsford Convent Foundation initiative showcasing the diverse artistic talent of the tenant community on site.
Join a tour. From social history to art, and even one in French. These tours will teach you everything you need to know about the history of the Convent, whilst exploring it yourself.
The site also holds many festivals, exhibitions, and other events. It’s a real arts and cultural hub. For all upcoming events, head on over to their website.
You’ll probably find me spending any remaining warm nights at their outdoor cinema.
It’s so nice to rediscover local gems.