The leafy darling of Melbourne’s inner-east, Camberwell is a picturesque suburb with an exceptional cultural fabric. Emblems of its rich heritage fill the tree-lined streets, from long-standing dining institutions, iconic markets and the historic Rivoli Cinemas to luscious parks filled with century old trees. And yet, Camberwell is still a hub of innovation, playing host to a string of gleaming new bars and restaurants, trendy cafes and cutting-edge boutiques. A locale for leisure lovers and pleasure seekers, for foodies, shoppers and outdoor adventurers, the Camberwell lifestyle is positively unmatched.
The essence of Camberwell is best exemplified by its eclectic dining scene. Old-school institutions that have witnessed generations share the streets with edgy new cafes and sophisticated bars and restaurants – an effortless blending of old and new for which this suburb has become renowned. In the morning, coffee spots are abuzz with the sound of satisfied patrons, skilled baristas and sociable waiters. Hibiki on Toorak Road is the closest cafe to Fordham, doing Japanese-inspired brunch and speciality coffee with finesse. Just a stone’s throw from home, The Baker’s Wife is the culinary hero of middle Burke Road, serving up hearty brunch classics amid a rustic yet contemporary setting.
Within the junction, a host of avant-garde eateries is also at your beck and call – highlights include Light Years Cafe, Legacy and My Other Brother.
When the sun dips, a bevy of sought-after restaurants open their doors to the Camberwell community. Institutions like Elyros, Fiorelli and Italy 1 offer traditional, authentic fare with the European hospitality to match. If you’re in pursuit of somewhere contemporary, East End Wine Bar is a homey cellar and pantry boasting an impressive drinks menu and a gourmet selection of charcuterie boards, pizzas and tasty share plates.
In a city that does Japanese food almost as well as it does brunch, it was only natural that the two would find themselves intertwined eventually. Housed within a bright, contemporary space on Toorak Road, Hibiki is a trove of Japanese-inspired brunch creations, including (but not limited to) smashed avo with yuzu kosho and togarashi hair; fried egg and bacon rolls with kewpie mayo and sriracha; and eggs benedict with onigiri rice and Japanese dukkah. Top it off with coffee from Industry Beans and a ‘Japanese-funk’ soundtrack and you’ve got yourself a truly exceptional dining experience.
When people think of Camberwell, they think of its markets – both food and rotary – securing its reputation as one of Melbourne’s leading shopping destinations. The 85-year old Fresh Food Market is a haven of quality produce, premium meats, deli items, fresh fish, baked goods and more, making it easy to tick off all your groceries in one place. Every Sunday, the iconic Rotary Market can also be found on Market Place, where everything from vintage clothing to crockery is yours to peruse, set to the soundtrack of lively buskers.
In the retail realm, the junction abounds with coveted boutiques, including quintessential Aussie brands like Country Road, Seed, Trenery and Witchery.
If you’re looking to adorn your new home in high-end homewares and beautiful textiles, Abode Living is also located here,
a spacious, light-filled store that sells clothing too.
Camberwell is as much an entertainment epicentre as it is a shopping one, epitomised by the historic Rivoli Cinemas on Camberwell Road. Built in 1940 and refurbished in 2000, the building is a stunning example of Art-Deco architecture, and transforms a regular trip to the movies into a night of old-world glamour. The rooftop plays host to a vibrant cocktail bar for a pre or post-movie drink, boasting striking views over the surrounding streetscape.
Just 7-minute walk from your doorstep, Leo’s Fine Food is Melbourne’s favourite gourmet supermarket – and for good reason. Housing artisanal ingredients, pantry essentials, fresh produce and absolutely everything in between, visits to the plentiful store are bound to be a regular occurrence for residents of Fordham. Additions like an in-house sushi chef, a variety of ready-made meals and delicious taste testers throughout are the icing on the cake (which Leo’s stocks in abundance too).
Starting with its iconic, tree-lined streets, Camberwell is best known for its natural beauty, flanked in greenery from end-to-end. Here, you’re never more than a short stroll from some of the most sublime parks and gardens Melbourne has to offer – and with this abundance of greenery comes an inimitable aura of calm.
Fordham Gardens is within walking distance of home, an idyllic picnic spot for moments of outdoor repose and rejuvenation. Even closer is Back Creek Reserve, a shady expanse where magnificent birdlife can be seen at play in tall, leafy gums.
For resident bike riders, joggers, dog owners and lovers of leisurely strolls, the Anniversary Trail will undoubtedly become your go-to walking path. Meandering from Kew right down to Hughesdale, the Camberwell leg of the trail is just a 600m-walk from Fordham. Enjoy spectacular displays of native flora and fauna as you explore your picturesque milieu and factor in a workout. Anderson Park is also just a stone’s throw away, comprising a vast, green oval, a walking path and an array of sporting amenities. Boasting striking views out to the city skyline, the park is most beautiful at sunset.
The project takes its name from Fordham Gardens, a tranquil oasis just 450m from home. Veiled by established trees, admire an ornate duck pond, magnificent flowerbeds and lush, manicured grass as you stroll around the shaded walking path. Offering a playground for the little ones and a myriad of picnic amenities, park yourself under a tree for the day and bask in the utter serenity of this neighbourhood treasure.
When it comes to education in Melbourne, Camberwell sits at the vanguard, comprising some of the most prestigious schools in the state. For the little ones just starting out on their schooling journey, Camberwell Primary and Camberwell South Primary are both excellent, nurturing options within close proximity of Fordham. For older kids, Camberwell High is considered to be one of the best public schools in Melbourne. Providing world-class facilities and a progressive curriculum, living within the zone is a desirable attribute.
In the private sector, there’s Camberwell Grammar and Camberwell Girls' Grammar – two highly-regarded institutes with phenomenal VCE results – as well as Bialik, an esteemed Jewish school with a strong commitment to student wellbeing. And while you may have everything you could ever need in your convenient, culturally rich enclave, if ever you need to head out and about, Camberwell’s efficient public transport systems have you covered. The 75 tram stop is just a 5-minute walk from your doorstep, dropping passengers off at the junction before stopping in vibrant Richmond, elegant east Melbourne and the CBD. For a more streamline journey into the city, Hartwell Station is also just a 9-minute walk from Fordham, facilitating a 20-minute venture to Flinders Street station.
Ensuring you won’t need a car to get from A to B, Hartwell Station is just a 9-minute walk from Fordham. Sitting as part of the ever-efficient Alamein Line, a train from here links passengers to Camberwell, Hawthorn and Richmond before arriving in the CBD in under 25-minutes.