Shopping precinct: Sorrento, Vic

Each month we reveal Australia’s must-visit destinations and uncover their hidden gems
Shania Shegedyn

When the mercury rises, Victoria’s hippest contingent heads south of Melbourne to Sorrento and transforms this otherwise quiet pocket of Port Phillip Bay into the place to be. The beaches and sailboats are obvious attractions, but those who turn their gaze to shore will also find a shopper’s heaven. Ocean Beach Road is dotted with cafes, bars, ice-creameries and, of course, homewares stores. Start at one end of the strip and work your way to the other, weaving through side streets to cover all the delights on offer. Blairgowrie is five kilometres away (on the way into or out of Melbourne) and well worth a side trip.

Stop 1: White Nest

You need to do at least two laps around this stylish emporium to take in its many delights. Owner Lee Harris has gathered together her favourite local and international designer finds, including quirky candlesticks by General Eclectic, floaty summertime dresses by Mist and cheerful Pop & Scott concrete planters. The result is a store that’s playful, pretty and full of surprises.

Must-have: A dreamy Enoki ‘Cumulus’ lamp, $1400.

Open: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm.

Visit: 2843 Point Nepean Road, Blairgowrie, (03) 5988 9676.

(Credit: Shania Shegedyn)

Stop 2: Elephant

Seekers of offbeat cool should set aside at least an hour to check out this quirky and colourful collection of handmade and hard-to-find wares. Owners Jade Harris and Aleshia Commons both have a great eye for boundary-pushing style. “We wanted to bring a bit of colour and energy to the seaside,” says Aleshia. “Beige just isn’t our thing.”

Must-have: Omm melamine plates, from $14.95 each. Ahoy Trader crosses and tiles, from $49.95 each.

Open: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 10am-5pm.

Visit: 3 George Street, Sorrento, 0415 957 922,

(Credit: Shania Shegedyn)

Stop 3: Coastal Living

This lovely store seems to exist in an alternate universe where style is effortless and summer lasts all year long. There’s shelf upon shelf of on-trend copper pieces mixed in with sophisticated wares in cream and grey. You’ll find plenty of outdoor teak furniture, as well as stone-washed linens and cushions by Pony Rider and Megan Park that incite a seaside mood.

Must-have: Organic handmade fine bone ceramic, including sugar pots, $20 each; salt and pepper shakers, $30/pair; and oil and vinegar pouring jugs,
$35/pair. Also, look out for Made In The Shade teak umbrellas, from $1120 each, and the Eco Outdoors ‘Hutt’ sofa, from $2499.

Open: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm.

Visit: 85 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento, (03) 5984 5480,

(Credit: Shania Shegedyn)

Stop 4: Big Chair

Locals know Big Chair as the go-to store for beach house-chic style. In 2000, owners Suzanne Brophy and Karen Townshend opened their doors to tout environmentally friendly recycled teak wares. Over the past 15 years, the concept has flourished to include both local and international furniture brands, beautiful homewares, unique one-off items
and a full interior design service.

Must-have: Bonnie And Neil ‘Floral Garland’ cushions, $155 each; ‘Sorrento’ sofa, $8297; and Moloko pendant, $480.

Open: Mon-Sun 9.30am-5pm.

Visit: 119 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento, (03) 5984 3388,

(Credit: Shania Shegedyn)

Stop 5: Saltwater Trading

This gorgeously styled store, established in 2007 by owner Pam McLaren, is a Sorrento institution – and it’s easy to see why. At every turn, there’s a new installation of reclaimed and handmade pieces to take in (and take home). The colourful homewares, furniture, resort wear and jewellery are sourced both locally and around the globe, so there’s always something new in stock to push the design envelope.

Must-have: Keep Resin ramekins, $20 each, with matching teaspoons, $15 each, and colourful handwoven baskets from Senegal, $40 each.

Open: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm.

Visit: 153-155 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento,(03) 5984 0444,

(Credit: Shania Shegedyn)

Stop 6: Sandarne

Bright and airy, Sandarne is filled with a tempting array of gifts and homewares with an eclectic, summery vibe. Owners Natasha and Mason Riley seek out unique pieces with which to fill their timber shelves. “Natasha is up with all the latest designs and flavours,” says Mason. “It’s about creating an element of surprise in an amazing location.”

Must-have: Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger felt & vegan leather bags, from $95, and pretty Project Ten beach bags, from $16.95 each.

Open: Mon-Sun 9.30am-5pm.

Visit: 147 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento, (03) 5984 0222, 

(Credit: Shania Shegedyn)

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