Check out how the cool half live in Moreland. Its inner northern suburbs are home to history, as well as some of Melbourne’s best eateries, bars and shopping.
It starts just 4km north of Melbourne’s CBD. This area, covering suburbs including Brunswick, Coburg, Fawkner and Pascoe Vale, is one of the most interesting spots you can find. There’s a diverse community, ranging from share houses of young professionals to Italian and Greek families who’ve lived in the community for years. As a result, visitors can find just about anything that makes a great day out. Just don’t try to pack it all in at once — it’s much better to take a deep dive in one area and come back again and again.
There’s a creative streak to Brunswick. Gallery-style stores selling the wares of local designers sit alongside Middle Eastern bakeries along the main Sydney Road precinct. Spend some time exploring this stretch of road, and you’ll discover great places to eat and shop. As the day comes to an end, take advantage of one of the street’s biggest attractions: its live music scene. You don’t even need to pay to see a band, since places like The Retreat are always free and there’s live music every night. Yes, even on Monday. Each year, during March, the suburb is taken over by song writing, beats and fun during the Brunswick Music Festival, which kicks off with the Sydney Road Street Party.
Its neighbour, Brunswick East, has become a hot spot for diners, thanks to the huge array of eateries covering every type of cuisine imaginable. The night never ends with dessert though, because this is also a great spot for small bars where cocktails come shaken and stirred and local wines and spirits are often a feature. The spirit of creative conviviality is spreading further north too, to the likes of Coburg and Pascoe Vale.
There are plenty of green spaces and parks throughout Moreland. Whether you’re trying to get friends together for a picnic celebration or plan on running the kids ragged on swings and seesaws, you’ve come to the right place. A new favourite is Coburg’s Bush Reserve, where a lot of the playground’s features, like the tree house, were created from recycled materials. There is also a musical sound sculpture and shaded picnic areas.
The area has an interesting history, particularly in Coburg, where parts of the old Pentridge Prison still stand. Established during the gold rush to cope with an increased crime rate, it held the state’s hardest prisoners — the last Victorian to be hanged, Ronald Ryan, and Chopper Read are just a couple of them — until 1999. These days, much of it has been redeveloped, but you can still tour the grounds after dark with Lantern Ghost Tours. Forty-four bodies are buried on the site, so it’s a creepy place to be with the lights out.
For those who love a bargain, this is the place to find a market. Stock up on everything for the fridge and pantry at Coburg Market, find organic fruit and veg at CERES and uncover hidden gems for the home at Lost & Found Market in Brunswick East and the Coburg Trash & Treasure.