Melbourne is starting to defrost, so it’s time for us to pull on our runners and head outdoors on foot. We’ve highlighted some of Melbourne’s best walking trails to lead you to some of the city’s top coffee haunts.
Take your pick of the picturesque stretches to start with on this 31-kilometre trail. You could go with First Pour in the backstreets of Abbotsford for an expertly brewed caffeine fix. Move quietly enough along the marked trail and you might glimpse a kookaburra. Rowdier walkers can stop by the Collingwood Children's Farm (including the homey Farm Cafe) to catch less local fauna. Follow the Yarra past Dights Falls to exit about an hour later in Fitzroy, where you might choose to reload on sourdough at Dench Bakers or swing into Carlton North to Café Bu for a toastie and Five Senses coffee. If you’re beat, jump on the 96 tram for a quick trip back to the city.
It can be tempting to over-indulge at Karulo in Moonee Ponds, but it’s best to start light for this undertaking. Try sharing a generously portioned dish with a friend, then grab a Wide Open Road-roasted coffee to go and head south, past The Boathouse to the Maribyrnong River. Meander south along the lush green banks toward Footscray, where a rowing team might glide past. For a stopover, Kensington’s Don’t Tell Charles serves Padre and single-origin coffee – macaroon sugar-hit optional. A lazy two hours later, arrive at Footscray Milking Station for a reward in the form of its signature sago porridge with coconut milk, cardamom and coriander, and perhaps just one more coffee.
For a longer hike, take to the trail at The Quarries Park in Clifton Hill. With a stunning view of the city, the park’s scenic lookout is the perfect meeting spot. Make your way north-east, detouring to Apte Café on Heidelberg Road for a quick coffee hit, or hold out for Ora Specialty Coffee a further 30 minutes along the path for a more substantial mid-journey break. Down a Proud Mary coffee with the spectacularly presented signature walnut eggs, or the pineapple brioche with minted panna cotta and ginger honeycomb. Back on the trail, it’s easy to forget you’re in suburbia as you pass orchards and horses in paddocks en route to the grand finale, Café Vue at Heide. Treat yourself after the near three-hour hike with a suitably indulgent three-course lunch.
Fuel this Yarra-side wander at Kanteen, preferably on one of the sun-drenched outdoor tables, if weather permits. Start with a strictly room-temperature coffee and perhaps a toasted avocado and cottage cheese pide. Follow the winding riverside path toward the city for a short 30-minute trek alongside the south-side joggers (fluorescent lycra anyone?). As you approach one of the best ground-level views of the city, add a lap of the Tan for a heftier cardio hit. Or take a pit stop at the Lawson Grove Shop to take home a stash of its famous hand-cut streaky bacon. You’ll want a peek at Shannon Bennett’s latest cafe, Jardin Tan, smack-bang in the middle of the Gardens where the Observatory Cafe used to be. Round out the South Yarra trail at My Legendary Girlfriend with a cup of its weekly-changing single origin coffee, or go all out with a luxurious Grounded Pleasures hot chocolate. You’ve earned it.