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10 Best Things To Do In Thornbury Melbourne

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Londoner In Sydney is a community of expats and locals who love sharing the best destinations and activities around Australia. Be inspired, find hidden gems, stock up on local tips and discover awesome new things to do with our authentic travel guides.

Looking for things to do in Thornbury in Melbourne? Discover one of Melbourne’s hippest suburbs with plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes to explore.

This Melbourne guide is brought to you by Melbournian, Erica Murdoch. She runs a blog called The Pelvic Floor Coffee Club and you can find her on Instagram at @ericamurdoch.


Where Is Thornbury?

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Thornbury is located in Melbourne’s inner north. It’s easily accessible by public transport taking either the 86 tram from Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD or the 11 from Collins Street. The 86 takes you along the High St in Thornbry where most of the bars and restaurants are located.

By car, it’s a 20-minute drive from the city. It’s even possible to ride to Thornbury taking the bike route along the Yarra before branching off on the Merri Creek Trail, or a shorter route is along Brunswick Street through hipster Fitzroy and Northcote.


Why You Should Visit Thornbury

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Image via welcometothornbury.com

Twenty years ago, Thornbury was one of those unknown suburbs of Melbourne and the kind that people drive through without stopping. Not anymore! The area now has a vibrancy and character all of its own.

Thornbury is inhabited by families and hipsters, old school Greek and Italian families and everyone in between. It’s now a destination for people to come and have a drink, have a meal and see a band.

It’s a community that boasts its own scarecrow festival, a mythical goat named Gucci that wanders the banks of Merri Creek and a community celebrating diversity.

It is known for its legendary Sunday Sessions at one of the many bars on the High Street or for afternoon tea at the Greek Cakeshop or Le Café Flo. It’s seeing a band at the Croxton Band Room or picnicking with friends in Penders Park.

It’s a little suburb that has flown under the radar for decades and now it’s arrived with a roar! Here’s my guide for the best things to do in Thornbury in Melbourne.


Best Thornbury Restaurants & Cafes

1. Casa Nata

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On the border of Thornbury and Preston, nestles new kid on the block called Casa Nata. This place serves coffee and flaky, melt in your mouth Portuguese tarts. Often there’s a line outside the door and sometimes you may have to wait till the tarts come out of the oven, but it’s worth the wait!


2. Le Cafe Flo

Thornbury’s very own French cafe kicks all the goals. All the usual french cakes, pastries, and baguettes plus a changing menu for hot food. Le Cafe Flo in Thornbury makes their own jam and has a range of French mustards for sale. The atmosphere is sweet- Melbourne’s northern cool crossed with a neighbourhood cafe in Montmartre.


3. Lentil as Anything

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Lentil As Anything in Thornbury or ‘Lentils’ as the locals call it, is a Melbourne institution! Set up in 2000 by Shanaka Fernando, it is Melbourne’s only cafe where you pay by donation.

Staffed by volunteers, delicious vegetarian food is served up to customers. There are four Lentils in Melbourne and we are so lucky to have one in Thornbury, plus there is the added bonus of The Inconvenience Store – a fruit, veg and produce outlet within the cafe itself.

Make sure you check out our Lentil As Anything in Sydney review!


4. Umberto Expresso Bar

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Image via broadsheet.com.au

Owners Marco and his dad had a clear aim when they opened Umberto Espresso Bar a few years ago to serve food they like to eat. They wanted to create a warm hospitable place and the aim has always been about keeping it simple. They’ve done all that in spades! The menu is small, yet mighty. The cocktails pack a punch and the food is home-style Italian.


5. Welcome to Thornbury Food Truck Park

A few years ago, some smart cookies saw the has been car manufacturing factory as a potential to host bar and local food trucks. You can take your brew and wander around the Welcome To Thornbury Food Trucks to choose your meal. There’s nothing better on a sunny afternoon than hanging out in the beer garden with a drink in hand and a burger on the table.


6. Carwyn Cellars

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What’s a suburb without a beer bar and a bottle shop all in one building? Carwyn Cellars in Thornbury has it all, plus outdoor tables, and a beer, spirit and cider list which goes on for pages.

There’s a small bar menu but you can order food from several different eateries nearby. Sometimes there may be a food truck parked in the back beer garden. I love a place that’ll keep both me (wine) and the husband (cider) very happy for hours on end and is within walking distance.


7. The Thornbury Local

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The Thornbury Local bar is one of the legendary bars which has been around for years. As one of the first bars in the area, it’s unpretentious, community-minded and great fun. There are all types of events on offer and a bar menu with American food staples – I recommend the mac and cheese for sure!


8. Northern Git

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The Northern Git restaurant had me at the name! Married to a man from the north of England I was intrigued. The Git as it is affectionately known is a bastion of modern British food. The house-made pie is a pie lover’s dream, the desserts are playful reproductions of British classics and there are 19 varieties of Gin on the drinks menu.


Best Things To Do In Thornbury

Looking for more things to do in Thornbury? Here’s a few more places to check out!

9. Merri Creek and Strettle Wetlands Reserve

There’s more to Thornbury than cafes, restaurants and bars! Thornbury’s western boundary is Merri Creek which starts in the Great dividing Range and ends at the Yarra. Through Thornbury, the creek is bounded with bike paths and walking tracks on either side.

A magical part about this track is the Strettle Wetlands, a fenced reservation with a billabong, water birds and resident pobblebonk frogs. Outside the reservation, Egan reserve is made for a picnic, frisbee throwing and shooting the breeze.

Joes Market Garden across the creek in East Coburg has a small Farm Gate market on Saturday mornings – sometimes there are buskers.

In the other direction, Ceres Environmental Park is a welcome coffee stop if you are cycling or walking on the creek.

Strictly speaking, neither of these are in Thornbury but they’re a vital part of the Merri Creek experience.


10. Islamic Museum of Australia

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A small industrial estate is the home of the Islamic Museum in Thornbury. Founded in 2010, the museum showcases Islamic arts, crafts and culture. I can also recommend the spicey sujuk wraps from the IMA cafe.

The Islamic Museum backs directly onto the Merri Creek bike path and is a landmark due to its innovative architecture incorporating a rust facade and Arabic calligraphy.


A big thanks to Erica for sharing her guide for the best things to do in Thornbury in Melbourne. If you would like to share your favourite places in Australia, simply fill out our Write For Us form!

10 Best Things To Do In Thornbury

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