Although bordered by freeways and an airport, strathmore’s green spaces are the envy of many suburbs. The reasons to visit don’t stop there
These days Strathmore is home to eight-and-a-half thousand friendly locals, a number far greater than when the area’s first landowners first settled here in the 1840s. Formerly known as North Essendon, it wasn’t until 1936 that the land now known as Strathmore was given its current name (after the Valley of Strathmore, a pristine stretch of land north of Edinburgh, Scotland). While relatively unknown across Melbourne — despite being bigger than neighbouring suburbs Essendon and Pascoe Vale — the suburb is well-loved for its cafes, parks and the refined and friendly demeanour of its residents.
Before you start exploring Strathmore, fill up at The Corner Café on Woodland Street, just across from Strathmore Train Station. Open seven days a week (the 7am opening time on weekdays makes it very popular with local commuters), its all-day menu is always a hit — picture the Woodland Stack (potato rosti topped with wilted baby spinach, double smoked bacon, haloumi, tomato and avo salsa and a poached egg!) or freekeh salad — and the coffee is a sure-fire winner. If the feeling strikes, you can also grab a beer or wine to wash down a hearty lunch.
Once you’ve loaded up, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Strathmore is Napier Park. In 1926 the ten-acre block was gifted to the public by resident Thomas Napier, who included in the terms a clause stating that none of the original vegetation was to be destroyed and the area would be left to exist in its natural, woodland state. It makes Napier Park a beautiful, natural destination for families, walkers, joggers and picnickers. Resting under the River Red Gums, the city hustle and bustle seems a million miles away.
Another great spot in Strathmore to spend some time — especially if you have a dog who needs a run around — is Alf Pearce Dog Park. Located just south of the Tullamarine Freeway (if you’re driving out of the city, it’s opposite Essendon DFO but accessible via Bulla Road), your fur baby will have the time of its life. Having opened only in July 2017, the design features gravel and rocky areas, an agility area for training, bushland planting for a different type of doggy exploring, and even a time out area for those older (or smaller) dogs. For humans, there’s plenty of seating and also a toddler playspace with basketball half court.
At the end of the day, or if you like to do your exploring after the sun goes down, stop in at The Pizza Bar Strathmore. Open until 10pm Tuesday through Sunday, you’ll settle in with some of the best pizza, pasta and one of the best schnitzel burgers you’ll have this side of the city centre. Wash it down with an icy beverage and enjoy with friends and family or make it an exclusive suburban dinner date with that special someone. Whoever you’re there with, be prepared to finish your meal with their famous cannoli — make sure to take an extra one home for lunch tomorrow!