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Centre Road in Bentleigh

What’s Good In The Hood: Bentleigh

13 kms south–east of Melbourne’s CBD, lies the leafy, family–friendly suburb of Bentleigh. Not to be confused with Australian indie artist Ben Lee when said out loud. You know, the one who sang ‘Catch My Disease’? Yeah, since COVID that’s not been the cheeriest tune…

Anyway, getting off topic. So, Bentleigh. What’s it got, I hear you ask? Well, what hasn’t it got? With surrounding suburbs that include Ormond, Moorabbin and Brighton East, there are an array of trendy boutiques to shop at and beaches and bays to swim at.

If you love clean and green spaces, Bentleigh has plenty of parks to stroll through too, making it a great place to live or visit for anyone with young children or pets.

So, if you’re liking the sound of this neck of the woods, keep reading to find out exactly why Bentleigh should be the next Melbourne suburb you go and check out…

Beaches & Bays

One of the major benefits of living in the south and south–eastern suburbs of Melbourne is having close proximity to a lot of different bays and beaches and plenty of opportunity to sneak some sun, sand and surf into your day.

Bentleigh is situated no more than 10 minutes away from one of Melbourne's most iconic beaches, Brighton Beach. With its famous brightly painted bathing boxes along the Esplanade, don’t go there unless you’re going to say the word ‘Brighton’ with an annoyingly posh accent. Otherwise you’re just wasting everyone’s time.

Further up there’s Black Rock, which includes Point Beach and the incredible rock formations and honey–coloured cliff faces of Half Moon Bay. But take note – if you walk a certain way at Half Moon Bay, you’ll end up at the nudist section of the beach. Fine if you meant to end up there, confronting if you weren’t…

Other beaches just a short drive away include St Kilda beach, Sandringham beach, Hampton beach, Aspendale beach, Parkdale beach, Elwood beach and Middle Park beach.

Brighton bathing boxes

Sporty Green Spaces

When you live in a big city like Melbourne, nothing beats a good green space. And if you hang around Bentleigh for long enough, you’ll notice there are plenty to choose from.

Annie and Arthur Abrahams Reserve and the King George VI Memorial Reserve are decked out with picnic shelters, picnic tables and barbeque facilities perfect for the oldies, and sheltered playgrounds perfect for the little ones. JUST the little ones, because adults on playgrounds can be dangerous...

For those who like to keep fit but aren’t keen to cough up money on expensive gym memberships, Halley Park comes with outdoor exercise equipment and a small basketball court. If you’re a little more serious, head down to Hodgson Reserve, which is home to the Bentleigh Bowls Club and the Bayside Companion Dog Training School (hence the dog off–leash area).

Nearby in Victory Park, you can hone your sports skills at the birdie golf cage or in the cricket training nets. This is where you’ll also find the West Bentleigh Cricket Club, the Victory Tennis Club and the Caulfield United Soccer Club.

Bentleigh park and reserve

Shops, Stalls & Centres

For those in the Bentleigh region, access to quality shops is a breeze with the main commercial strip, Centre Road.

Centre Road is a vibrant stretch of over 250 retail businesses, including stylish gift shops, homewares and great clothing stores, as well as the Bentleigh Shopping Centre. Many of the shops are independently owned and managed, so when you buy local, you also support local.

There’s also a weekly Sunday Market with hundreds of stalls selling everything from antiques, books, plants and crafts to clothes, jewellery, beauty products and more. Win win.

For those who prefer even more variety and hustle and bustle, Bentleigh is conveniently located close to both Chadstone and Southland, as well as Acland Street and Chapel Street.

Bentleigh Sunday Market

Bakeries & Bars

If you’ve got good strip shops, you’ve got good eateries too. Thank the Lord!

Want mouth–wateringly yummy savoury breads and sweet pastries? You’re in luck. Glick’s Bakery on Centre Road (“if it’s Glicks, it’s good”) is known for their fresh bagels, but they sell so much more, from artisan breads, baguettes, rolls and rugelach, to cakes, croissants, biscuits and donuts.

You are spoiled for choice, because down the road is Artisanal Bakehouse – another must–do destination for buttery baked goods. They are much loved for their sourdough, pies and mini pastries. And further up Centre Road again is Saul’s Diner, the retro, red and white, New York styled king of classic sandwiches, toasties, muffins and melts.

Our next door neighbours, Hunky Dory Fish & Chips, are a local favourite for seafood and sides, and if you like delicious delights to go, give Tahini Neri’s Hummus Bar a try. You can get dips and pots of various sizes and of various flavours, just perfect for dunking, drizzling, spreading or squeezing at your next social party or soiree. 

On Tucker Road, you’ll get the same casual vibe but with more variety at the Good Times Milk Bar. This one’s deceptive though, as it’s actually a sit–down restaurant as well as a takeaway corner store. The menu includes all–day breakfasts, burgers, booze, smoothies, and more.

Food from Good Times Milk Bar in Bentleigh

Famous & Infamous Faces

A lot of Australian sportsmen and artists were either born and raised or moved to Bentleigh and Bentleigh East at the height of their fame, as well as some internationals who used the suburb to conceal their secrets.

Some notable names that hailed from the City of Glen Eira include jockey Frank Reys (who was Australia’s first Aboriginal jockey and the still the only Aboriginal jockey to date to win the Melbourne Cup in 1973 on board his horse Gala Supreme) and soccer player Josh Cavallo (who was the first professional player to come out as gay in 2021).

Bentleigh East born soccer player Josh Cavallo

Another successful resident includes indie filmmaker, artist and author Stella Kinsella, who is most recognised for doing the set and prop work on the 2009 claymation, Mary and Max.

Moving into more notorious territory, Bentleigh also housed some who sought refuge from governments and media. Soviet defectors Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov (of the 1954 Cold War incident dubbed ‘The Petrov Affair’) and later Charmian Brent (the ex–wife of great train robber Ronnie Biggs) called the area home until their deaths.

And of course, Homing Instincts

If you’re in the neighbourhood and looking for some great gift ideas, swing by, say hi and have a browse.

We’re at 446 Centre Road in Bentleigh, and we have stores in Malvern, Hawthorn and Moonee Ponds as well.

Homing Instincts Bentleigh store front
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