It’s not surprising this suburb is popular with families. Green and leafy, but with plenty of amenities, it’s an excellent spot for a day out.
Sydney Road runs through the heart of Coburg North, but by the time it gets here, many of the Middle Eastern restaurants and independent stores have petered out. Most of the reasons you’ll want to visit are hidden — cute cafes in residential areas and open green spaces that will inspire you to want make a picnic basket and pack the bicycles into the car.
Get your day off to a good start with sticky date crumpets or the chorizo burger (it has scrambled eggs on it, too) at charming The Elizabeth Cafe. If it’s a sunny day, try to nab a table in the garden, although the recent reno in shades of pink, mint and grey might just make you want to stay indoors.
Grab one of the excellent Italian sandwiches at Paninoteca (the porchetta, crackling and roasted fennel on panini is hard to resist), then grab a box of sweet treats — citron tarts, individual cheesecakes, slices of flourless orange cake — at Voila Patisserie, before heading to Parker Reserve. There are plenty of shady gum trees to find a spot beneath. Let the kids have a go at the playground or let your pooch off the leash in the designated area. If you’re up for a walk, the reserve is right alongside Merri Creek, so join the trail and stretch out your legs.
Another place popular with dog owners is Richards Reserve, which is also the location of the Coburg Velodrome, one of Victoria’s premier cycling tracks. During the day, you might see cyclists practising their pedalling, but this is also a popular spot for local events. A ride-in cinema, dumpling festivals and gigs featuring local bands have all graced the track. Check the Velodrome Events Facebook page for what’s coming up.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, try Blu by Australian Seafood Group Fish & Chippery. You can get different varieties of fish, including whole grilled King George whiting and baby barramundi, as well as lots of other treats. If you fancy chargrilled cray tails, salt and pepper squid or garlic butter crab you can order those too. There’s a smart, blue-and-white tiled eat-in area and, best of all, the seafood is all sustainably sourced.
Newish to the Moreland scene is the Batman Market, a place that comes to life as the sun goes down. Check it out on Saturday evenings (from 4pm to 9pm), when the undercover area boasts street food from around the world, a bar area and stalls selling all manner of kooky, fun, crafty items, including fashion and homewares.
Ready to rifle through some stalls of second hand books, antique furniture and new crafts? Each Sunday, Coburg Trash & Treasure features more than 200 stalls filled with junk or gems, depending on your point of view. It takes over the car park of the Village Coburg Drive-in, one of the only car park cinemas left in Melbourne. It’s blockbuster territory, with Hollywood’s latest shown on the three big screens. Once a month, there’s also a Food Truck Festival if you want to team movie fun with treats from some of Melbourne’s best purveyors of mobile meals.
At day’s end, head to First & Last Hotel. This pub has a Wild West theme, sport on the big screen, a play area for kids and plenty of meal deals throughout the week.