South Yarra: Inner city living on the fringe of Melbourne

A thriving community, nearly 35 percent of the South Yarra population falls within the age group of 25 to 34 years, and predominantly opts for apartment living
South Yarra: Inner city living on the fringe of Melbourne
Urban EditorialOctober 27, 2023SUBURB SPOTLIGHT

Nestled along the banks of the Yarra River – known as Birrarung in the local indigenous language – lies the charming suburb of South Yarra.

Bordered by Punt Road to the east and extending south to Commercial Road, the delightful neighbourhood is flanked by the serene expanse of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Steeped in historical significance, South Yarra remains a place of enduring importance to the First Peoples, who once hunted eels in the billabong, now preserved as part of the picturesque Ornamental Lake.

Divided between the City of Melbourne and the City of Stonnington, South Yarra is home to 25,028 residents, with around 23 percent residing in the small section under the City of Melbourne's jurisdiction.

A thriving community, nearly 35 percent of the population falls within the age group of 25 to 34 years and predominantly opts for apartment living, enjoying the convenience and vibrancy of inner-city life.

Renting proves to be a popular choice in South Yarra, with nearly 62 percent of residents renters, while just under 18 percent own their home outright.

The suburb's allure lies in its seamless integration of natural beauty and urban amenities, dotted with lush green spaces, iconic heritage buildings, and leafy residential streets.

Off the plan apartment development in South Yarra

In an area dominated by high-rise, high-density towers - such as Ecoworld International's sold out 248-apartment tower Yarra One - Wattletree and Dorman Capital are looking to offer a more boutique product to South Yarra with South Yarra House.

Read more: "A return to South Yarra grandeur and refinement": How SJB designed South Yarra House 

Delivering just 60 apartments across 20 levels, the $190 million is set for on one of the suburb's last remaining riverside sites on the Claremont Street dress circle. 

[smartcode_project:default project_id=112970 project_image_fid=214718]

Just 300-metres from South Yarra House, another joint venture project is taking place, this one between Cbus Property and Sterling Global

The duo had Hacer Group recently begin construction on the latest release in Como Terraces, with the Alexandra Collection featuring just 11 luxurious residences, each characterised by spaciousness and a frontage onto the tree-lined Alexandra Avenue and the Yarra River.

[smartcode_project:default project_id=112238 project_image_fid=208338]

Read more: Construction begins on South Yarra's Como Terraces latest release

What are the transport connections in South Yarra?

South Yarra boasts excellent transport links, making it a highly accessible suburb within Melbourne.

Train Services: Train services are a prominent feature of South Yarra's transport infrastructure. The suburb is served by South Yarra railway station, a major stop on Melbourne's train network. This station falls on the busy Pakenham, Cranbourne, and Frankston lines, ensuring seamless connectivity to the city centre and surrounding suburbs.

The upcoming Metro Tunnel Anzac Station will soon grace South Yarra, promising improved accessibility and reducing pressure on the bustling St Kilda Road – one of the busiest tram corridors globally.

Tram Services: Trams are another popular mode of transport in South Yarra. The suburb is well-served by several tram routes, including the bustling St Kilda Road, one of Melbourne's busiest tram corridors, offering frequent tram services, providing an essential link to the city's CBD and beyond. 

Bicycle Paths and Shared Paths: For those who prefer cycling, South Yarra provides a cyclist-friendly environment. The suburb offers dedicated bike lanes and paths, encouraging sustainable transportation and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Major Roads: South Yarra boasts excellent road connections. Major arterial roads such as Punt Road, Toorak Road, and Chapel Street traverse the suburb.

Walking: South Yarra is a relatively walkable suburb, with cafes and everyday conveniences dotted along more popular streets such as Chapel Street, while the meandering river provides a more serene outlook for walkers. 

What are the best schools?

While just over 30 per cent of the South Yarra population are families with at least one child, the suburb is home to an array of quality schools.

1. Melbourne High School: Renowned for its academic excellence and strong emphasis on developing well-rounded individuals, Melbourne High School is a prestigious boys' selective school.

2. Melbourne Girls Grammar School: The prestigious all-girls school has a rich history and a strong reputation for providing a holistic education.

3. South Yarra Primary School: Located right in the heart of South Yarra, the public primary school offers a nurturing and supportive learning environment for young students.

4. Melbourne Grammar School: Founded in 1858, Melbourne Grammar School is one of Australia's leading independent schools. It offers co-educational learning from Prep to Year 6 and single-sex education from Year 7 to 12.

5. Scotch College: An esteemed boys' school with a long and distinguished history, Scotch College focuses on academic excellence, character development, and community engagement.

What are the best eateries?

Milton and the surrounds has also evolved into a haven for foodies, with the streets lined with an array of trendy cafes, eclectic restaurants, and bars that cater to various tastes.


1. Ned's Bake South Yarra: More than just a bakery, Ned's serves up a brunch menu that's been deemed too good not to try.

2. Abacus Bar & Kitchen: A lush fig tree takes pride of place in this light-filled dining room. The all-day diner takes you from blue swimmer crab crumpets for breakfast, to slow-cooked beef cheek and Australian wines for dinner.

3. Lawson Grove Shop: Eat breakfast, then take lunch or a litre of milk home.

4. Market Lane Coffee Prahran Market: A cafe and roasting operation with a strong focus on education.

5. Darling Cafe: Whether you like raw greens or dessert for breakfast, this spot has it covered.

6. The Final Step: A tiny, friendly coffee shop with a charitable streak.


1. Matilda: A bold, contemporary diner dedicated to cooking with fire and smoke, from the owner-chef of Estelle and Saint Crispin.

2. Yugen Dining: Rough-hewn stone walls, six-metre ceilings and glowing gold accents set the mood at this high-end Japanese restaurant in a basement.

3. Omnia: An elegant, produce-driven menu by a former Vue de Monde and Eleven Madison Park chef is the draw at this soaring European bistro on the ground floor of the Capitol Grand building.

4. Atlas Dining: Ambitious young owner-chef Charlie Carrington changes the cuisine every four months.

5. France Soir: Open since 1986, France Soir is one of Melbourne’s pre-eminent restaurants, with classic French staples from steak tartare to margret de canard.

Is South Yarra dog friendly?

No man left behind seems to be the motto when it comes to South Yarra, with pets welcomed across a number of spaces and venues around the suburb. 

1. Fawkner Park: One of the most beloved green spaces in the area for dog owners to take their pets is the 41-hectare Fawkner Park, designed in 1862 and cherished by locals and visitors. The park's pathways are adorned with Moreton Bay figs, elms, poplars, and oaks, offering a serene escape from the city's hustle and bustle.

2. Pet-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants: South Yarra boasts a vibrant café and restaurant scene, and many establishments in the area are pet-friendly. Some cafes have outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy a meal or a coffee with your four-legged companion by your side.

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