The northern suburbs of Melbourne include Ascot Vale, Broadmeadows, Brunswick, Bundoora, Coburg, Epping, Hume, Ivanhoe, Moonee Ponds, Nillumbik Shire, Northcote, South Morang, and Tullamarine.
- 1 Moonee Ponds. Once the heart of boring, conformist suburbia, Moonee Ponds is the home of Barry Humphries' character Mrs (later Dame) Edna Everage. The local racecourse is one of Melbourne's Big Three, along with Caulfield and Flemington.
- Brunswick and Coburg are major destinations in the inner and middle north of Melbourne. They fall within the City of Moreland, which also covers other suburbs including Fawkner, Pascoe Vale and Glenroy. Brunswick is famous among Melburnians and visitors for its unique hipster vibe and amazing bar and café scene. The spine of the area is Sydney Road, a happening place day and night. The area is not to be confused with Brunswick St, a popular place for eating out in Fitzroy in Melbourne's inner north.
- Banyule is a suburban region in the north-east of Melbourne. The main centre is the suburb of Heidelberg, with a sizeable shopping strip, hospital and other services, and the namesake for the Heidelberg School of Art. Ivanhoe is a major suburb in the south of the region, with the original 1960s city hall, and Greensborough is home to a major shopping centre in the north. While much of Banyule possesses a suburban nature, most of its borders are lines by creeks and rivers, including the Yarra River in the east and the Darebin Creek in the west. Densely-wooded hills provides an escape from suburbia in the far north-western area around Montmorency and Saint Helena.
The three main rail corridors through Melbourne's north are the Craigieburn, South Morang and Upfield lines. Tram lines also radiate from the city, better serving the inner suburbs than those further out. Buses fill the spaces in between.
- 1 Moonee Ponds Junction. The Moonee Ponds tram and bus interchange is at the intersection of Mount Alexander Road, Ascot Vale Road and Pascoe Vale Road. The route 59 tram stops there, heading south to the city and north to Essendon and Airport West. The 82 tram terminates there, connecting Moonee Ponds and Footscray. Buses from the interchange connect Moonee Ponds to the northern suburbs, to north-western suburbs past Essendon, and to Footscray and Williamstown.
- 2 Moonee Ponds Railway Station. On the Craigieburn line, it has trains to and from the city every 20 minutes.
- 3 Ascot Vale railway station. Trains run to Ascot Vale station every 20 minutes from the city. The Route 57 tram from the city travels along Union Road and Epsom Road, and the 82 tram from Footscray to Moonee Ponds passes the north end of Union Road as it runs along Maribyrnong Road.
The route 472 bus between Moonee Ponds and Williamstown stops at the intersection of Union Street and Francis/Mariam Streets, and the 404 between Moonee Ponds and Footscray runs along Ascot Vale Road.
Brunswick and Coburg
Brunswick and Coburg are easily reached from Melbourne's City Centre by train and by tram. The 19 tram to North Coburg traverses Sydney Rd, from Elizabeth St in the city, and services the busiest parts of both Brunswick and Coburg. The 96 tram (from Bourke St) travels along Nicholson St in the east to East Brunswick, stopping at a few popular cafés and attractions. Trams 1 and 8 follow Lygon St (from Swanston St) before continuing onto the Nicholson St extension in East Coburg and Moreland Station respectively. Tram 55 (from William St) travels through mostly residential areas in the west towards its West Coburg terminus.
The Upfield railway line also has a few of stations in Brunswick and Coburg, although operates to a 20-minute frequency, compared to the 6- to 10-minute frequency of the 19 tram which it parallels.
Fairly regular buses traverse the east-west streets of Brunswick and Coburg, connecting the tram lines and creating a public transport grid. A map showing the Moreland area's trains, trams and buses can be viewed here.
Northcote and Ivanhoe
The Hurstbridge Line is the best way to reach Banyule from the Melbourne/City Centre, with the journey to Heidelberg Station taking just under half an hour. Alternatively, neighbouring areas such as Darebin and Manningham can be reached by bus, including the high-frequency 903 SmartBus from Heidelberg.
By car, Banyule is best reached from the Burke Rd or Bulleen Rd exits on the Eastern Freeway.
- 1 Moonee Ponds Courthouse Museum, Corner Mount Alexander Road and Kellaway Avenue, Moonee Ponds, ✉ email@example.com. Closed. The former Moonee Ponds Courthouse housed a museum of the local area, run by the Essendon Historical Society. In June 2016, a fire damaged the building and the collection. Restoration is happening, but the museum remains closed until further notice.
- 2 Incinerator Gallery, 180 Holmes Rd, Moonee Ponds (catch the 82 tram from Moonee Ponds interchange to Stop 41 at Maribyrnong Park; walk north along the river then turn right into Holmes Street; walk a minute or two along Holmes Street until you reach the gallery, opposite a lawn bowls club), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11AM-4PM. Interesting gallery with exhibitions, art history talks, adult art courses, and workshops. Free.
- 3 Christ Church Brunswick, 8 Glenlyon Road, Brunswick, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Main Sunday service 10AM. Church is open daily from around 7AM to around 6PM.
- 4 Brunswick Town Hall and Counihan Gallery, Corner Sydney Road and Dawson Street, Brunswick, ☏ . Library: M-Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-6pm, Sat 9AM-4PM, Su 1-5PM; gallery: W-Sa 11AM-5PM and Su 1-5PM. The historic Brunswick Town Hall contains a branch of the Moreland City library, and the Counihan Gallery, a contemporary art space.
- 5 Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Corner of Nicholson Street and Glenlyon Road, Brunswick East, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Beautiful modern church with a large knotwork cross facing Nicholson Street.
- 6 Street Art, Corner of Moreland Road and Holmes Street, Brunswick East. Melbourne is full of great street art and graffiti. Just one example is on the side of Worthy Apparel on Moreland Road as the number 8 tram turns left from Holmes Street. Go for a wander or ride the trams around and keep your eyes open for more great aerosol art.
- 7 Melbourne Olympic Village, Alamein Rd, Heidelberg West (Bus 903: Olympic Village SC/Midway St stop). The athletes village of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics resides in Heidelberg West, and has since been converted to public housing, a school, a small shopping centre amongst other uses. The original five-ring symbol of the Olympic Games still hangs over Alamein Rd as a testament to the area's history.
- 8 Banyule Homestead, 60 Buckingham Rd, Heidelberg (Short walk from buses 513 or 517). Constructed in 1846, Banyule Homestead is one of the oldest surviving houses in the state, constructed in the Gothic revival style. Note that the house is now privately-owned and visitor entry is not possible.
- 9 Queens Park, Corner Mount Alexander Road and Kellaway Road, Moonee Ponds. A place to spend a relaxing day. There's a rose garden, a sunken garden, a lake, a cafe, and a 50-m pool open from November to March ($5.70 pool entry). Monuments include a cenotaph remembering Australia's dead in World War One, and a cairn marking the spot where the doomed Burke and Wills expedition camped on its first night heading out of Melbourne in 1860. There's a children's playground and an island rotunda, and if you follow the website link there's a brochure for a free self-guided local heritage walk starting and ending at the park.
- 10 CERES Community Environment Park, Corner Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East (take the Number 96 tram to East Brunswick from the city (from Bourke St, travelling up Nicholson St) to the intersection of Stewart and Nicholson Streets, which is the last stop; CERES is about a 2-minute walk from the tram stop; Turn right down Stewart St – CERES’ main entrance will be right in front of you, as Stewart St turns the corner and becomes Roberts St.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Park open during daylight hours, check website for hours of different sections. A place for community-based learning and action for environmental benefit, social justice, economic satisfaction, cultural enrichment and spiritual nurturing. Some of its facilities include an organic grocery open 9-5 every day with free live music on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, a permaculture nursery and an organic cafe. There's a visitor centre and regular workshops, a nature play area and an energy park displaying ways of harnessing natural power. There's much more: download CERES' "Chook" app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, or visit their website for much more info. No entry fee, donations accepted.
- 11 Loreto John York Park, 73 Holmes Street, Brunswick. If you've grabbed some cheap takeaway food and want to watch the trams sail by, or maybe if you have some children who need to let off some steam, this small park might be the perfect place. Named after the first Maltese-Australian to serve as Mayor of any Australian city, this park has a playground and an accessible water fountain. Free.
- 12 Woodlands Historic Park. Immediately north of Melbourne Airport, contains an 1840s homestead and a nature reserve.
- 1 Moonee Valley Racecourse, McPherson Street, Moonee Ponds, toll-free: 1300 843 825, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. See website for race meeting dates and times. One of Melbourne's Big Three horse racing venues, there are several race meetings a month in the busy season from September to March. The famous Cox Plate weight-for-age race is run here in late October each year Most general admission tickets $20, GA for Cox Plate $55.
- 2 Moonee Ponds Clocktower Centre, 750 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Performing arts centre including drama, dance, music performances and movie screenings.
- 1 RMC Stamps, 639 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds, ☏ . M-F 9:30AM-5:30PM, Sat 9:30AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Slightly cramped shop, filled with thousands of interesting second-hand books, coins and stamps. Don't expect to be hassled until you ask for help. Definitely worth a tram trip for a relaxing browse. Varies, many items $5-20.
- 2 RetroStar Vintage warehouse, 33-37 Stewart Street, Brunswick, ☏ . RetroStar Vintage has a warehouse sale about once a month, where every item is $10. Follow the News page on their website, or their Facebook page, for details of upcoming sales. $10 an item.
- 1 Cafe 2000, 633 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds, ☏ . M-Sa 5AM-6PM. There's nothing particularly amazing about the standard cafe meals here, but the prices are incredibly low. Right next to the tram and bus interchange, so definitely worth a look if you're in the area. $11 big breakfast including coffee, $7 burgers, $4.50 thickshakes.
- 2 Mister Nice Guys Bakeshop, 151 Union Road, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa Su 8AM-5PM. Vegan, egg-free, dairy-free bakery with gluten-free (and many more) options. Five choices of non-dairy milks for coffee and shakes. $11 dogs, baguettes and rolls, doughnuts, etc. $5.50, non-dairy cheesecake $8.
There are some great places for eating in Brunswick and Brunswick East
- 3 A1 Bakery, 645 Sydney Rd Brunswick, ☏ . Su-W 7AM-7PM, Th- Sa 7AM-9PM. A Sydney Road classic, this place offers all sorts of Lebanese bakery products with pizzas for as little as $2. Cheese pies with halloumi, spinach and feta triangles, felafel or kafta wraps, platters from $6 - $12, Ready to eat snacks from $1.50-12.
- 4 Alisha's Café Collective, 313 Lygon Street, Brunswick East (catch the 1 or 8 tram to stop 124 (Victoria St/Lygon St) and walk 150m south to the corner of Lygon and Ann Streets), ☏ . Vegan cafe.
- 5 Rumi, 116 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 6-10PM. Seriously great Middle Eastern food. Menu changes frequently so difficult to recommend specific dishes. Mains $10-20 per plate.
- 6 Small Block Cafe, 130 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, ☏ . Daily 7:30AM-4:30PM. Fantastic place for breakfast. The bircher museli is excellent. The breakfast plate with homemade hashbrown and feta cheese is sublime. Be prepared to wait for a table on the weekends. But worth the wait. Big breakfast $19, Bircher muesli $9.50.
- 7 Kake di Hatti, 128 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 5-10:30PM every day. Tasty South Indian restaurant. The food is excellent and excellent for your wallet. Mains start from $12 and it's BYO (99 cents corkage per person, and there is also a small wine shop across from the restaurant which does nice local wines as well) Main courses $12-13.
- 8 Cornish Arms, 163A Sydney Road, Brunswick, ☏ . Sa Su kitchen open midday-9:30PM, M-F lunch 12-3, snacks and pizza 3-5:30PM, dinner 5:30-9:30PM. Pub with vegan-friendly tap beers and a vegan restaurant
- 9 The Green Refectory, 115 Sydney Road, Brunswick, ☏ . M-F 7AM - 8PM, Sa Su 7AM - 7PM. Easy to miss, but better you don't, The Green Refectory serves great value homemade food, and quality Illy coffee to accompany it. I'm a fan of the gourmet salads, especially the tangy couscous salad with pumpkin, snow peas and heaps of mint, and eye off the homemade muffins, famous for their large and irregularly shape, for later. The crowd is eclectic mix of the Brunswick artsy crowd, university students and young professionals pushing prams. I head to the outdoor area for a bit of space and it feels like I've stepped in someone's backyard, complete with garage at the back and outdoor toilet. Despite its non attendance in 'Signage 101' (look for the 'Illy' coffee sign that juts out from the front windows), the difficulty of locating this place hasn't affected its popularity at all Big breakfast $16.50, Bircher Muesli $9.
- 10 Sugardough, 163 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-F 7:30AM-5PM, Sa 7:30AM-4PM, Su 8AM-4PM. Quaint and lovely cafe. Another place that does a great breakfast. Egg and bacon panini or breakfast pie to start the day off, pies, panini and tarts for lunch and dinner. Cakes for dessert and a range of specialty bread to eat at home, including an olive sourdough loaf, and spelt bread. Mostly between $5 and $10.
- 11 Tiba's Restaurant, 504 Sydney Road, Brunswick, ☏ . W-M 8AM-10PM. Tiba's Quality Lebanese food at very cheap prices. You can order a Shwarma plate for $14.80, and you will get rice, salad, bread, dips and meat. Again, this restaurant has large servings. They also have very nice Baklava and do great coffee. The front end of the restaurant is for take-aways, as they also do kebabs. The restaurant is 100% halal and alcohol free, however you can do take away on the food if you really need a beer.
See also the organic cafe at CERES Community Environment Park in the See and Do section
- The Alderman, 134 Lygon Street, ☏ . Low key, comfortable and cosy bar. Just like Fitzroy bars used to be like. Small courtyard in the back. Food from Rumi (next door) can be ordered and delivered to the Alderman.
- 1 The Brunswick Green, 313 Sydney Road, Brunswick, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Th 4PM-midnight, F 3PM-1AM, Sa 2PM-1AM, Su 2PM-11PM. The best beer garden in Brunswick (and possibly Melbourne), with live music outside on Sunday afternoon. The best place to spend a summers afternoon. Most wine $8.50 a glass, chips $8 a bowl.
See also the Cornish Arms in the Eat section.
- My Aeon, 791 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 10pm - 6am Friday-Saturday. Techno/psy-trance club offering two floors, large smokers' area and fantastic Funktion-One speakers. Different events every night. ~$20 entry.
- 1 Old England Hotel, 459 Lwr Heidelberg Road, Heidelberg (Bus 903: Yarra St stop), ☏ . This grand brick building was established in 1848, not long after the city of Melbourne was founded. Two large suites are available which come with a spa bath, mini bar and bath robes. Additionally, the Old England as it's affectionately known is also popular for its restaurant and bar facilities.
Some suburbs in the north have a notorious reputation for crime. You should be careful of your belongings, and avoid travel during the night. There should be no issues during the day. You should exert the most caution in the suburb of Broadmeadows, and around train stations.