We’ve put together a list of fun and quirky date ideas in Melbourne’s northern suburbs to impress your special someone. From wine bars to rowboats, we’ve got something to inspire you.
Anyone who has seen The Notebook or Bridget Jones’s Diary knows that the ultimate couple activity is heading out in a rowboat in a beautiful setting. Did you know you can do this right here in Melbourne? At the Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens [Fairfield Park Drive, Fairfield], you can hire hand-built rowboats, kayaks or canoes to explore the Yarra River from a whole new angle. Don’t forget your poetry book to read to each other while meandering along the river.
We recommend arriving early and getting brunch at the cafe before heading out on the water. The breakfast offering will keep everyone happy with everything from the big brekkie to grilled zucchini cakes. We recommend the eggs benedict with ten-hour pulled pork and hollandaise sauce — how could you resist?
Header image source: @wayfarewanderers
Image source: @naan84
Speak to your friends and chances are they’ll know someone who has been on a date at Prudence in North Melbourne [368 Victoria Street, North Melbourne]. With visitors ranging from regulars to after work drinkers, and even first daters cautiously greeting each other by the door, Prudence is great for all occasions. The people watching is great, the music is better and the fireplace on the ground floor will have you feeling cosy and warm.
Upstairs you’ll find booths where you can sit side by side and look out over Victoria Street. You should definitely try the house speciality, Prudence Lager or, if beer isn’t your thing, peruse the simple drinks menu of local and international wines and cocktails. There’s also a small offering of snacks including toasted sandwiches and chips to munch on while getting to know each other.
Have a competitive streak? Love board games? Worried that you might run out of things to say? With a coffee in hand and Connect Four sitting between you, Queen of Spades [189 Smith Street, Fitzroy] is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening with your special someone. If you’re playing one of the lengthier games (we’re thinking Monopoly or Settlers of Catan) and starting to get a bit peckish, there’s a great food menu offering burgers, shared plates and delicious desserts. We can’t go past the twice-fried chunky potatoes and homemade falafel shared plates.
Image source: facebook.com/queenofspades
Taking your date to the movies might sound cliché but Thornbury Picture House [802 High Street, Thornbury] brings something extra to the table making it the perfect location for your next date. Converted from an art-nouveau motor garage and showing a mix of independent, new release and classic films, we reckon that you’ll find yourself coming back for more.
To top it off, it has a bar selling locally made beverages including Collingwood’s Stomping Ground beer, Healesville’s Four Pillars Gin and Port Melbourne’s Starward Whiskey. Pair with homemade popcorn, choc-tops or Maltesers and your night is sorted.
Image source: facebook.com/thornburypicturehouse
Like a bit of adventure? Climb to new heights at North Walls in Brunswick [Unit 3, 17-19 Hope Street, Brunswick 3056]. Whether you’re a natural climber or need a bit of guidance from friendly staff you will enjoy this ultra-cool climbing centre. With electric blue walls, brightly coloured handholds and sweet tunes, you and your date will be in for a fun-filled evening.
This place is ideal for a post-work date as it’s open until late on weeknights; you can even grab a bite beforehand at one of the nearby bars. We recommend the burgers at The Penny Black or Duke of Edinburgh Hotel.
Image source: facebook.com/northwallsindoorclimbing
It’s time to get creative at Montsalvat [7 Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham]. Impress your date with your artistic flare or simply walk through the beautiful grounds. This quirky hidden gem in Melbourne’s north is Australia’s oldest and longest running artists’ colony and has a classic European feel. Attracting everyone from musicians, artists and performers since the 1930s, Montsalvat is unlike anything else and is still home to many jewellers, painters and artists who sell and exhibit their works.
Take a stroll through the tranquil and romantic sculpture gardens, that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time together. Once you’ve had your fill of culture, head into The Boulevard to share a coffee and cake, you won’t regret it.
Pack some blankets, pillows and make sure your radio is working, because it’s time to head to the Coburg Drive-In [155 Newlands Road, Coburg North]. In 1966 there were 19 drive-in cinemas in Greater Melbourne but these days there’s just two. Enjoy this retro experience that will hark back to childhood days. Or, if you were too young to grow up near a drive-in, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time to the days of Grease.
Head over to the retro-style diner and grab some popcorn and choc tops. Or if you’re looking for a bit of 21st-century luxury, you can order your snacks on the Coburg Drive-In app from the comfort of your car and get your snacks delivered straight to your car. The drive-in cinema was once a dating staple and we think it’s time to bring it back.
Image source: @bowie.j.w
It’s hard to believe that this beautiful spot exists just 45 minutes from the city, but Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery [145 Manuka Road, Panton Hill] offers incredible wines and delicious local produce that you expect to travel much further for. The intimate atmosphere at this winery will have you falling in love all over again (or for the first time). If the weather is fine, you can eat outside in the courtyard overlooking the vineyard or cosy up by the fire inside. You can share a pizza or antipasto platter while enjoying your glass of vino. See who has the best wine palate and compare what you can taste or, simply ask for a wine tasting and have the lovely staff to help you find your new favourite wine.
Image source: @shutterbug_betty
Does your date love music? Impress them with an evening at 303 [303 High Street, Northcote]. With live music playing every night at this little northside bar, it’s the perfect place for music lovers. On Wednesday nights the theme is jazz with skilful musicians setting a romantic mood while you sip on drinks and spend a quality night together. This bar is perhaps a bit grungier than our other suggestions but don’t be put off, the music is top notch and the bar is well stocked.
All information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication.
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