Sunday, May 06, 2012

melbourne bound - recommendations required

We're tickled pink to be heading to Melbourne soon. Daniel spent his childhood in and around the city so he's rather pleased to be taking us there and showing off his beloved hometown. I've visited twice before - both fleeting trips - so I can't wait to spend some lazy autumn afternoons wandering the laneways. 

So you stylish Melbournites...we need your advice. Jody has already recommended Collingwood Children's Farm, we'll be feasting on brunch at Degraves with Tamara and of course we've got plans for tram rides and cake in St Kilda. But we'd like to know about the very best children's parks, the most delicious cafes and, most importantly, where we can find the the best coffee. I realise this may cause a bit of debate (the best kind) so please keep it friendly in the comments section.


42 COMMENTS

  1. delicious looking coffee.. yum! I spent 5 months living in Melbourne, in St Kilda back in the late 90's whilst travelling. I love Melbourne, one of my favourite cities.... tres cool. Have a great trip x

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  2. A Minor Place..... In Brunswick. the best cafe of everything....
    go to northcote....penny farthing is a good cafe!
    the best pizZA IS THERE TOO....pizza ibirre.- great childrens boutique shops and great op shops....i dont know about kids parks.....good luck!
    x we'll be there in late july. when are you going?

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  3. The St Kilda Adventure Playground is the best place for kids, my dad built and designed a lot of structures there in the late 90s early 00s but most of them have been pulled down as they were deemed unsafe, although it is still super cool and good for kids of all ages.

    Ceres is an organic farm in Brunswick and is totally amazing and great for kids- they've got heaps of stuff to see and it's pretty free-range. I think it's on 100 acres...

    The Penny Farthing IS a good cafe- their "smash" is the best.

    The Melbourne Museum for a cold rainy day- they have a special kid's section that is really fun and also big dinosaurs and lots of cool stuff.

    Smith St, Brunswick St, High St- Northcote, the Windsor end of Chapel St, Acland St, The Brunswick end of Lygon St are all streets you should check out.

    Also the Botanic Gardens are beautiful.

    The Aquarium is fun, but VERY expensive and also not really worth it in my opinion.

    I think there is an adventure playground in Kensington and there is also one in South Melbourne called Skinners.

    Have so much fun!!!

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  4. I love to visit Melbourne,I do miss it just a bit. Wandering the city is an adventure in itself, taking in the sites & the atmosphere. You must visit Beatrix in Nth Melb it's a quaint little cafe with the most stunning deserts. Then you could always head down our way to the beautiful great ocean road! Enjoy, whatever you do..

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  5. You will love Melbourne! Definitely visit the Children's Farm (and the convent next door while you are there) and CERES in Brunswick.
    A lunchbox from Cafe Vue in the gardens at Heide, one of my favourite things YUM.
    As for St Kilda, pizza at Banff on Fitzroy St, a beer at the Espy and then cake on Acland St... x

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    1. Weird! I just typed out my comment, hit enter and saw your name pop up. Great minds....x

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  6. Oh my, I am going to have to bookmark this page for future reference.

    A good Melbourne friend took me to and I had my all time best coffee...I can't give many recommendations as all my picks are from pre-baby days (wine bars, rooftop spots, tiny tapas places)...but if you can make it to Heide (my fave Melbourne spot), I'm sure the fam would love exploring the grounds and snapping photos. Think Ms Milky's just been there...

    ps. if you can tee it up in time for your visit, a trip to ArtPlay would be fun x

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    1. ooops...meant to write Seven Seeds (good coffee)
      x

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  7. Can highly recommend CERES (http://www.ceres.org.au/) wonderful for the kiddos!

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  8. Phillip Island, and those cute little penguins that travel back home to feed the young. So amazing to watch.

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  9. Even thou I live in Melbourne, I live near the Dandenong Ranges, a 40 min drive to the city. We tend to head to the cafes in the Dandeong Ranges or the Yarra Valley and our days of taking littles ones to the park are long gone. Whilst in the heart of the city do walk thru the old arcades...Block Arcade (1891) & Royal Arcade (1869) and the Melbourne Museum is wonderful.

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  10. I am so envious of your trip, I hope you have a lovely time! I don't know the first thing about the area, but wish I was there to meet up with you all! ;)

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  11. PS. Also meant to say ...have a wonderful time! Hope you get some lovely sunny Autumn days whilst in Melbourne.

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  12. Welcome to my beautiful city! you already have some wonderful suggestions from your readers.
    When you are in degraves be sure to continue across to block place and centre place.
    Brother Baba Budan have their own blend of coffee, interesting decor and they are pretty central in the city. I also like New Guernica because simply it's a magical place, and you will not want to miss it but no idea if their coffee is any good!

    Have a wonderful time with your family.

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  13. I have only been once (last year) and I'm itching to go back - hopefully this year with the whole family. I dragged myself around Melbourne when I was 7 months pregnant, but it was well worth it. We visited Melbourne Gaol, stood where Ned Kelly was executed (grewsome). I watched hubby down a paddle of beers at James Squire Brewhouse, enjoyed some delish food and coffee in Degraves, bought some beautiful kids books for our two older babies (book store also in Degraves) and caught a BB King Concert at the arena. Oh and bought lots of chocolate from the Lindt Shop (Collins St?). It was magical. Love Love LOVE Melbourne. Enjoy! And please give us your recommendations also!

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  14. I moved from Melbourne to Tassie very soon after I had my 15 month old daughter so I am not very up to date on recommendations for the city.

    Ceres is definitely worth a look and on a purely practical note, the parents' room at Melbourne Central is awesome. Check out Joyce's review here: http://tothotornot.com/2011/11/hot-parents-retreat-level-2-melbourne-central-cnr-swanston-and-latrobe-st-melbourne/

    http://tothotornot.com/ generally has great Melbourne recommendations for those with babes.

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  15. Yong Green Food in Fitzroy is wonderful. My boys love the food and the atmosphere. Near Collingwood Children's Farm is a Hare Krishna temple with an excellent eatery inside. The food is delish and very reasonably priced. Yarra Bend park is lovely and if you're lucky you might see the giant bats roosting in the trees along the river. In the eastern suburbs Blackburn Lake Sanctuary is wonderful as is The Hundred Acre Wood in Warrandyte. Petty's Orchard is also out that way and a wonderful place for children to play. The apple harvest is over, but every Friday, Sat & Sunday they hold a small farmer's market with a little cafe as well. I don't know about the coffee because I don't drink it. http://www.yelp.com.au/biz/yong-green-food-fitzroy

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  16. I absolutely concur with the recommendations for Ceres (you can do that from anywhere on public transport) and Heide (would need a car but it's a super quick drive, maybe 20 mins, from the city). Both places are right up your alley from what I can tell. Make sure with Ceres you find the adventure playground and don't get stuck in the plant nursery. I did that the first couple of times I went there and when we finally found the lower cafe/playground, my goodness it was a revelation!

    I live in Brunswick so I'd like to recommend a Brunswick trip for you - breakfast/coffee at A Minor Place, than a small walk to the top of Lygon Street to the Lost and Found Market for some vintage discoveries (next to an Organic Wholefoods store if you need some supplies), cross the road to the gorgeous Harvest Textiles. Jump on the tram - kids will love it - for a couple of stops. Get out at Five Boroughs; localish handmade gorgeous things. Then, two doors down is the amazing Monsieur Truffe behind its red door where you can see old chocolate making machinery (also kids will love it). A lovely morning!
    Here are the links for more info:
    http://www.harvesttextiles.com.au/home.html
    http://www.lostandfoundmarket.com.au/
    http://fiveboroughs.com.au/
    http://www.melhotornot.com/hot-latelier-de-monsieur-truffe-351-lygon-st-east-brunswick/
    Hope that all helps! Have fun.

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  17. P.S. Considering you live rurally, maybe you don't need to spend too much time at little city farm copies... Much of the appeal of the Collingwood Children's Farm, for example, is that it is so farmish and idyllic so close to the city, but it's not as though you don't get plenty of fresh air and animal exposure. Just a thought!

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  18. Children's parks.... if you are staying in the city, Birrarung Marr on the Yarra is sweet and easily accessible. South Mebourne or St Kilda adventure playgrounds are great, esp with a TA coffee. The children's playground within the Botanical Gardens are gorgeous. My son looooves it there. Then there's all the parks within the 'burbs. Really depends where you are staying.

    Coffee.... St Ali in South Melbourne is great. Darn fine coffee and the food is yum too. Brother Baba Budan is amazeballs as is the League of Honest Coffee. Auction Rooms in North Melbourne good for coffee and food.

    If you are definitely going to Collingwood Children's Farm sneak nextdoor to the Abbotsford Convent. On most Saturdays there is a market of sorts and the food and choices there are fab.

    Enjoy your holiday. Happy to pass on any more kid friendly tips you need them

    x

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  19. sooo many fantastic recommendations ... we love them all! most recently the kids space at the national gallery of victoria (stroll along st kilda rd, close to cbd)was a winner with my 3 and 9 year olds! perfecto if the weather is a bit drippy and you're looking for a simple outing!

    http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/support/members/ngv-kids-club

    have a wonderful time ... heidi

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  20. I was born in Melbourne and lived there for 30+ years. The first place I head to when I visit from the UK is Mario's on Brunswick St for the best coffee I have ever had in my life. Ever.
    Ever.
    :)

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  21. yes jodi, ceres would be right up your alley, a beautiful spot to unwind - weather permitting! the bakery in the convent next door is worth a trip too. coffee.. you won't have to search too far for that, don't they call us the coffee capital?? have a wonderful time, how lovely you get to dine with beautiful tamara, make sure you pack your woolies ;) x

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  22. So many things! Best coffee - isle de nord in fitzroy north; Edinburgh Gardens park in Fitzroy North; bakery Dench's again in fitzroy north (my village, you see). Museum is excellent and a weekley trip for us. Children's farm is fun too. NGV has a great kids space, children's garden at Botanical Gardens. Food; shanghai dumping house in china town; Huxtaburger on smith street; Rachael (grandyandbaa)

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  23. Ooh have fun! I love Melbourne. My sister has lived there for a few years now. My favourite cafe is the Auction Rooms in North Melbourne - delicious food and great coffee.

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  24. The Ian Potter children's garden at The Tan and then the National Gallery for the kids.

    As for coffee, it's Melbourne, nearly anywhere will be fine!

    Enjoy the city, bring a beanie.

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  25. Oh I forgot to mention on a recent trip to Melbourne, on the rainy days, we spent a bit of time at NGV as it has a great kids room (was closed when we were there but is about to re-open completely re-done) and has a lovely outdoor area where kids can run around (great climbing thingo - maybe a scupture!) and National Library has a great reading/ play room and a brilliant cafe. We also stayed opposite the Mess hall cafe at the top of Bourke St - lovely food any time of day and staff were really sweet with our 13 month old.

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  26. Via facebook :)
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.241600369206161.66698.241073425925522&type=3

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  27. We just returned from a weekend in Melbourne last night! My recommendations are 95 Espresso for coffee and breakfast/lunch. They have won awards for their coffee but I tried their homemade version of chai and it was amazing! The food was amazing as well and not very expensive! I went to Europa for cake in St Kilda on a friend's recommendation as apparently they're the freshest - - my cherry crumble was to die for!

    I totally agree about the NGV as it's a great place to warm up and take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city streets.

    Sal x

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  28. Oh my, these places all sound amazing. Definitely bookmarking this page and on the look out for cheap flights to Melbourne asap! Have a wonderful time and can't wait to read all about it upon your return. No doubt you'll have some amazing photos too as always :)

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  29. Las Chicas in East St.Kilda for brunch. Best pumpkin polenta bread ever. xx

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  30. Melbourne is one of the greatest places I have visited...enjoy!

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  31. There are some great options that everyone has posted here!
    I presume you are heading to the city, so I would definitely say Collingwood Children's Farm too, I have been there just the once with Cooper but it was really beautiful, and hands on for Che.

    I am only 20 minutes away from 'Heide' (park, cafe and gallery i believe) and although I have never been there I have heard it is beautiful, and would be great for photo opportunities!

    If you happen to head to the Yarra Valley, there is Healesville Sanctuary, which is an Australiana zoo. If you do go there, basically up the road is Badger Creek Weir - this is Dale and my favourite place ever, like a rainforest.

    Have a wonderful time down here in Melbourne, give us a shout if you happen to end up in Eltham!
    Rhi x

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  32. Try South Melbourne Common for a family friendly cafe and play area, you can pop over the road and see the finished "The Block" houses if you're into that thing http://commons.org.au/....also a great playground just down the road in Albert Park at St Vincents Gardens....and great coffee in Bridport Street Albert Park...can't go wrong there....Hausfrau or Combie Coffee....also in South Melbourne great little place...Chez Dre, just near the South Melbourne market, tucked down a laneway. Dress for all seasons. Enjoy.

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  33. Very good recommendations you have here! I would agree with Children's Farm (annoyingly the awesome cafe is closed but it'll probably be too cold for outdoor dining anyway) CERES in Brunswick, and Cafe Vue in the gardens at Heide. Smith st / Gertrude st fitzroy I think you'd like (they intersect) - for shopping and cafes (I really like Birdman Eating for brunch in Gertrude street). Looking forward to seeing your melbourne pics!

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  34. Oh lucky you, I love Melbourne, it's one of our favorite cities .... Degraves really has great coffee, sorry no help with the kiddie things !!!

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  35. Hope you have a lovely time here! Hopefully we can put on some nice sunny days for you. xx

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  36. Not sure if it has already been suggested but we loved Abbotsford Convent (and the farm there). The day we went there was a gorgeous hand made market as well.

    As for food I can't recommend The Premises in Kensington enough. The slow cooked pulled pork is amazing, as is the coffee. Oh and restaurants - Gingerboy and Chin Chin are great.

    Have fun!

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  37. And definitely get to the Heide, it's really beautiful.

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  38. Hello! I visited Melbourne with my youngest (2.5 years) in January. Most of the places I would recommend have already been mentioned & I too went on a journey to find awesome coffee! One place I didn't visit is called Seven Seeds, apparently it rates as one of the best places in Melbourne. I'm not sure where it is exactly but perhaps near Smith St? I'd also recommend Savers, a HUGE op shop on Sydney Rd in Brunswick & the Mesop clearance store at Clifton Hill for some super good bargains. If you have an iPhone there is an app called beanhunter which has places rated on the quality of their coffee, it'll even give you a list of the ones closest to you. On a practical note if you're taking a pram there are only certain trams the prams fit on (without emptying them & collapsing every time you get on & off). I think the trams which are suitable are 96 & 112. I found it confusing at times in finding places as I could only catch these trams but there are buses too & there are iPhone apps called tramtracker & metlink which are SO useful in helping you find your way around. I think that's pretty much all :) Enjoy your time away with your beautiful family xx

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  39. Looking so nice and yummy.Melbourne really very nice place to visit..

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  40. definately CERES and there is a great playground near St Kilda down a residential street not far from acland St. It is amazing and hand built by a community of families.
    Have fun, we love Melbourne too! Oh and Haighs chocolates are just so yum; a must for me whenever we visit.
    C

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