Stonnington is an area and municipality in Melbourne, just southeast of the CBD. It includes the main centres of South Yarra, Prahran and Toorak. The area is regarded among Melbournians as one of the most desirable and expensive places to live. It is very popular for its high-end shopping and exquisite dining, especially along Toorak Road in South Yarra, and Chapel Street in Prahran.
Stonnington lies just south-east of the CBBD and can be easily reached by car, tram and suburban train.
Tram 58 runs along Swanston Street in the CBD to South Yarra and Toorak along Domain Road and then Toorak Road, terminating at the junction of Toorak and Glenferrie Roads. From the CBD, South Yarra is about 15 to 20 minutes away. Toorak is another 5 to 10 minutes away. Prahran is best reached from the CBD by Tram 6 (towards Glen Iris).
Many train lines run through the Stonnington region, accordingly serviced by several stations. Some of these stations have unusual characteristics that make them worthy of special attention and may surprise travellers.
The busiest station in Stonnington is South Yarra railway station, which is serviced by four separate lines: Pakenham, Cranbourne, Frankston, and Sandringham. The Pakenham and Cranbourne lines are indistinguishable for much of their length, and accordingly usually described in the same breath. This is a busy station, particularly at peak hour, and you're unlikely to find a seat if you're boarding here in peak direction. Nonetheless, you can get more or less anywhere in the southeastern suburbs — and since the fusion of the Frankston and Williamstown/Werribee lines, many places in the west — from here.
Malvern, Armadale, Toorak, and Hawksburn — the MATH stations — are unusual and may easily trick the unsuspecting traveller. These stations are served only by the Frankston line, despite being positioned in a way that implies the Pakenham/Cranbourne lines may serve them. However, all Pakenham/Cranbourne line trains run express between Caulfield and South Yarra. Formerly a very limited number of Pakenham/Cranbourne services stopped at these stations, but they have since ended entirely. The biggest consequence of this for travellers is that the City Loop stations are inaccessible from MATH, as the Frankston line runs direct to Flinders Street; passengers hoping to disembark at Flagstaff, Parliament, Melbourne Central, or Southern Cross will need to change at Richmond.
The Sandringham line is another line easily accessible from Stonnington, via Prahran railway station and Windsor railway station. This line is a gem for tourists, running to some of the best beaches in the southeast. Sandringham line trains do not run through the City Loop.
Finally, the Glen Waverley line is Stonnington's link to the eastern suburbs and well-represented, with Heyington, Kooyong, Tooronga, Gardiner, and Glen Iris stations. These stations are more suburban than most in the region and may be outside a tourist's itinerary, but provide convenient access to some of the hotspots of Melbourne's Chinese culture. Special consideration needs to be given to Heyington station, which is unique amongst Melbourne's train stations — and not for a good reason. Heyington is the only railway station in Melbourne to lack ramp or elevator access, making it inaccessible to travellers with mobility impairments. (Note that this doesn't work out to every other station being fully accessible; some ramps have grades that violate current disability legislation.) As an out-of-the-way station primarily serving a local school, relatively few travellers will use Heyington, but those who do are cautioned about its accessibility issues.
The main thoroughfare in South Yarra and Toorak is Toorak Road. Chapel Street forms a major thoroughfare between South Yarra and Prahran. The best access from the CBD is via St Kilda Road, turning left at Toorak Rd, Commercial Rd or High St. The areas of Stonnington closest to the CBD have heavy traffic, and even further out will be congested at peak hour; considering the strong public transit links of the region, travellers who aren't going further out (such as to Chadstone) may prefer not to drive.
- 1 Como House. Gardens: M-Sa 9AM–5PM, Su 10AM–5PM; House only on pre-booked tours on Sa Su. House built in 1847 and gardens, run by the National Trust. House tour $15.
- 1 Fawkner Park. Soccer, tennis, softball, and cricket in the summer. Local school Aussie Rules Football in winter. Popular dog walking area. Two large children's playgrounds and a BBQ area.
- Bike tracks everywhere.
- The Yarra River, DIY BBQs; get there early on Australia Day and sporting events.
The Chapel Street shopping district in Prahran is often called the 'longest catwalk in the Southern Hemisphere'. It begins in Windsor in the south and runs to the Toorak Road intersection. The shopping strip is full of hundreds of local designer boutiques, big name fashion stores and denim specialists. Vintage and second hand clothing stores are found towards the Windsor end of the street. It's also a great place to experience Melbourne's world-renowned café culture. Greville Street is a must-visit, lined with quirky boutiques and eateries.
Toorak Road runs through the centre of South Yarra through to Toorak. Like Chapel Street, it is filled to the brim with brand-name stores and local boutiques.
Slightly further into the suburbs, High Street is another of Stonnington's major retail districts. The Armadale section in particular is known for its bridal boutiques, as well as other high-end fashion.
- 1 Chapel Bazaar, 217-223 Chapel St, Prahran, ☏ . Retro reigns supreme at this undercover market where stallholders sell off their trinkets and treasures.
- 2 Greville Records, 152 Greville St, Prahran, ☏ . Music lovers haven for specialised titles, tickets for concerts and great advice on the next big thing in music.
- 3 Prahran Market. is the small version of the Victoria Market. Locals love it and shop for fresh veggies, organic food, fish and delicatessen.
- 4 The Jam Factory Shopping Centre (South Yarra). Another trendy place to shop, set in a historic building with an interesting history. Along with clothes, there is also a cinema complex.
- 1 Bacash, Domain Road, South Yarra, ☏ . Serves excellent seafood. It is located next to the Botanical Gardens and offers excellent service and a fine wine list.
- 2 Hoo Haa, 105 Chapel St, Windsor, ☏ . Although hard to find, Hoo Haa makes up for it by showcasing a whimsical and eclectic decor that caters favourably to its clientele of swish and swank 20- and 30-somethings.
- France Soir, 11 Toorak Rd South Yarra, ☏ . France Soir, as its name suggests, serves food that is as French as it gets. Owner and sommelier Jean-Paul Prunetti has more than 1,500 European and Australian wines on offer. Definitely a treat.
- Fritz Gelato and Donuts, Prahran Market, Stall 120 Elizabeth Street South Yarra, ☏ . Tu 7:30AM–5:30PM Th 7:30AM–5:30PM F 7:30AM–6PM, Sa 7AM–5:30PM, Su 10AM–4PM (closed Mondays and Wednesdays). Italian style ice cream store.
- 3 Jacks House (Jack's Burger Paradise), 1398 High St, Malvern, ☏ . M-F 7AM-4PM, Sa 7:30AM-4PM, Su 8AM-4PM. Cozy, regulars-focused cafe on one of Malvern's major thoroughfares, with indoor and outdoor seating. A good breakfast and lunch spot with friendly service.
- 4 Fortunes Asian Cuisine, 249 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern, ☏ . M-F 11:30AM-9PM, Sa Su noon-9PM. Chinese and Malaysian cuisine with mostly Westernised options. The dumplings and laksa receive particularly positive reviews.
Chapel Street and Toorak Road has some of the best nightlife in Australia, with most clubs open 24 hours!
- Lyall Champagne Bar, 14 Murphy St,South Yarra, ☏ . Enjoy the finest fizz in this opulent but laidback setting that has a glamorous feel.
- Red Orange Bar, 194 Commercial Road,South Yarra, ☏ . Great spot for after work drinks or a tipple on the weekend. Has an all weather courtyard that is enjoyable throughout all seasons.
- LOST, 30 Bray Street, South Yarra, ☏ . 7AM-1AM. Award winning gourmet pizzas and cocktails with a modern Italian cuisine.
- Borsch, Vodka and Tears, 173 Chapel Street, Prahan, ☏ . Borsch, Vodka and Tears is a Polish vodka bar, serving quite a number of genuine Polish vodkas, a number of other vodkas and a reasonable amount of decidedly non-Polish absinthe. Ordering vodka in the slightly smaller tasting glasses is a comparatively economical way to drink.
- BlueBar, 330 Chapel Street, Prahran, ☏ . With a hip, almost too cool for school clientele, BlueBar draws in its punters with a relaxed, chilled out vibe and a consisently busy crowd.
- Electric Ladyland, 265 Chapel Street, Prahran, ☏ . Electric Ladyland has found its niche with a luxurious décor and an impressive selection of cocktails.
- The Cullen - An Art Series Hotel, 164 Commercial Road Prahran 3181 VIC. A unique and daring boutique hotel inspired by the artwork of Adam Cullen. Opening in 2009, it was the first Art Series Hotel in Melbourne to open its doors.
- Nomads Chapel St Backpackers:, 22 Chapel St (just north of Dandenong Rd), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Windsor. Jan-Apr dorm beds $20-26, twin $29 pp, double $75.
- 1 Claremont Guesthouse. In an historic 1886 building. Rated a 3-Star Guest House by AAAT, and is a multiple winner of Hostelworld's monthly 'Best Hostel in Australia' award as voted by backpackers. Free Wi-fi. Free breakfast. Public transport at the door.
- 2 Pint on Punt, 42 Punt Rd, Windsor, ☏ , email@example.com. Happening hostel directly above a craft beer pub. Close to major attractions such as St Kilda and Chapel Street. Adults only. Dorms from $19/night, private rooms from $55/night, discounts for 7 days or more.
- 3 The Como Melbourne, 630 Chapel St, ☏ . This chic South Yarra hotel is on fashionable Chapel Street.
- 4 The Olsen, 637-641 Chapel Street, ☏ . 239-room boutique luxury hotel. Studio suites with kitchenettes, design and decor is inspired by Australian artist Dr. John Olsen.