Abbotsford, Melbourne is one of my favorite little suburbs of the city, which has the lovely and rare quality of feeling extremely remote while in reality being astonishingly well-connected.
Many of the things to do in Abbotsford include eating, coffee, or spending time by the river, which explains why it’s so close to my heart.
Abbotsford is directly east (across Punt Rd) from Collingwood and directly north (across Victoria St) from Richmond, giving it the unique task of connecting the north side to what would be considered quite central. It’s kind of like Richmond and Collingwood’s nature-loving hipster lovechild, and that in itself makes it worthwhile.
Although quite small, there’s enough to do in Abbotsford to fill quite some time. Between immersing yourself into nature and into one of dozens of little cafe’s, you’ll be spoilt for choice. After living there for the better part of a year, here are my top recommendations for things to do in Abbotsford Melbourne.
Visiting Abbotsford? Pin this Guide!
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Things to Do in Abbotsford Melbourne
The Main Yarra Trail
Although stretching for dozens of kilometers, the stretch of the Main Yarra trail through Abbotsford may be among the most scenic.
The Main Yarra Trail traces the curves of the Yarra River from the CBD all the way up to Eltham. Sometimes it may be difficult to decide which portion to explore, but if you’re keen on visiting Abbotsford, it’s one of the best places to remove yourself from the city and indulge in a green riverside stroll.
Abbotsford Melbourne has the unique ability to boast a scenic river trail on BOTH sides of the river for most of its flow through the suburb. One side is paved and designed for bikes, and the other is more of a thin bush walk/hiking trail going up and down the hill next to the Yarra.
Where to enter the Main Yarra Trail in Abbotsford: The end of Victoria St (there’s a small bridge on Walmet St across from Victoria Gardens mall), Gipps St (a bridge next to the big Abbotsford Salvos) , or Johnston St (you can join the paved track by the Abbotsford Convent or dirt track across the bridge on Studley Park Rd) are all fantastic places to meet the Main Yarra Trail.
Stumble down the hill on the far side of Johnston St for what feels like a hike (see image below), or join on the west/city side between Johnston and Victoria St for a foray through the Abbotsford convent and farm.
My Recommendation to Walk the Main Yarra Trail in Abbotsford
My top recommendation for about an hour+ walk is to join the Main Yarra Trail across from Victoria Gardens shopping complex in Abbotsford/North Richmond. Locate the bridge across the river on Walmet St, and cross it. Walk left. Stay on the trail on the same side of the river until the path ends, at which point you can scramble up the hill to join Johnston Street and either join the bike path back to Abbotsford Convent or head towards Fitzroy/Collingwood.
The dirt path side of the Main Yarra Trail across from the Convent.
Abbotsford Convent + Art
The Abbotsford Convent is a gorgeous and massive convent surrounded by lush green farmlands. The Convent hosts a few events during the year, a vegan restaurant, and a farm (see below). It’s a fantastic sight to walk by on the Main Yarra Trail.
The Abbotsford Convent is also host to a lot of different types of art. You can find ceramics classes here, as art therapy studios, galleries, and more.
Collingwood Children’s Farm
Directly next to and all around the Abbotsford Convent, you’ll find a farm. The Collingwood Children’s Farm has all kinds of animals in select paddocks, from a few resident cows, to goats and sheep, to peacocks and more once you venture into the main area.
Although labeled the ‘Collingwood Children’s Farm’ it’s a sight to see for all ages. The farm allows anyone to befriend foreign species and make the most of the beautiful lush area by the river.
If you’re an adult who can’t quite bring themself to visit the farm, make sure to check out The Farm Cafe (see below) to have a delicious Aussie meal while appreciating the farm animals below.
Collingwood Farmer’s Market
Twice a month, Abbotsford hosts a fabulous farmers markets right on the farm itself.
If you happen to attend on the second Saturday of the month, be sure to venture into the farmyard to experience a grassroots Melbourne farmer’s market under the trees.
Take a Bike Ride
If walking is not for you, it’s also a great option to rent a bike and see the area via the Main Yarra Trail bike path (paved side). If you do rent a bike I recommend seeing Richmond, Clifton Hill, and more as well!
The trail by the river is truly stunning, and you could even ride all the way into the city if you want.
Have a Picnic
With a suburb so blessed with leafy green areas, it would be a shame not to make the most of nature! And what better way to immerse yourself than by having a picnic?
There are many places in Abbotsford to plop down with a blanket and spend a few hours enjoying the sun and gently breeze (given the Melbourne weather cooperates).
Stop by Woolworth’s or Aldi in The Hive shopping center, grab whatever goodies you like, and bring picnic supplies/a blanket to sit on to any of the leafy areas near the river in Abbotsford Melbourne. My tops recommendations? Andrew’s Reserve (pictured above) and Dights Falls Reserve.
Although you can’t get TOO close to them, Abbotsford is home to one of the only remaining waterfall-type (take that term lightly, hah) areas on the Yarra River. Up in the north part of the river you can find Dight’s Falls – where the river and Merri Creek combine.
This would be a great option for a longer trail run or bike ride.
Take a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight
Although technically located just across the river from Abbotsford, I felt it necessary to include the fact that you can take off in a hot air balloon within a few minute’s walking distance of this Melbourne suburb.
It depends in the wind and weather for that day, but these beautiful sunrise adventures right near Yarra Bend.
If you have it in you to wake up before sunrise, you can see over the whole city as the sun peeps over the horizon in Yarra Bend. Book a hot air balloon sunrise below.
Yarra Sculpture Gallery
For the art lovers among us, you can visit the Yarra Sculpture Gallery in Abbotsford Melbourne. With three exhibition spaces and open in the afternoons between Wednesday and Sunday, it’s a great option for something a little different.
Try Some Axe Throwing
Yep, you heard that right! Although a bit different to the other calm and serene things to do in Abbotsford, I couldn’t leave out Maniax Axe Throwing. This is a fun and social studio where you can come with your friends or significant other and learn how to throw and axe at a target!
Think of it is kinda like going bowling, but, like…. not. Axe throwing is a super fun date idea in Melbourne and awesome activity in Abbotsford as well.
See that big thing sticking up? There is LOTS of beer there.
Things to Drink in Abbotsford Melbourne
Abbotsford, Melbourne is dotted with bars and breweries. Here are some of the best.
BEER, BEER, and more BEER.
Of all the places in Melbourne, Abbotsford has the most breweries in the most concentrated area. Some are massively large while others are a bit smaller and more difficult to find, so here are the ones you should most definitely be checking out and/or taking a tour of:
Perhaps the most well-known of the things to do in Abbotsford, visiting the Carlton Brewery will give you a glimpse into the back story of one of Australia’s most well-known froffies (that’s Australian for beer 😛 ).
If you see the largest and tallest concrete chimney-looking tower in Abbotsford, you see the Carlton Brewery. And you’re also in luck ,because they offer tours of the massive place for those who venture out to this area. Book a tour here if you love Carlton beer or if you’d like to gt to know one of the largest breweries in the country.
Tucked around a corner in Abbotsford’s eastern warehouse district, you’ll find Moon Dog’s funky brewery and tasting area. Don’t miss it.
If you want to visit a trendy brewery with food and drink options, Stomping Ground is for you. While technically located in Collingwood (just over the road from Abbotsford’s post code), this could not be left out as it’s a fab place to grab dinner and try lots of different beers in a big open warehouse setting.
Visit after the Abbotsford convent (it’s just down the road) if you feel cleansed from your sins and are ready to commit more.
Recently opened into a new massive space, Bodriggy has taken over Abbotsford with a super trendy warehouse brewery. Located on the corner of Punt road and Johnston St, this is a brewery born in Abbotsford, Melbourne that you won’t want to miss.
If you want a smaller bar that has the ‘local’ feel, head to Vic Bar. They have daily specials, happy hours, and N64 Mario Kart inside. I repeat, they have Mario Kart inside.
The Aviary is a classic Aussie pub with nightly pub dinner specials and lots of different happy hours and drink specials throughout the week. There’s a cool beer garden out back too.
Things to Eat in Abbotsford Melbourne (and Coffee)
Abbotsford is, in true Melbourne fashion, yet another suburb of great coffee and breakfast/brunch options. One of the best things to do in Abbotsford is to get brunch, and I have included a few of my favorite places below. Yes, I have tried each and every one!
Below that is another list of things to eat in Abbotsford that are not brunch… surprisingly, there are a few options for other meals too.
This a a 200 seater – yes, two hundred seater – cafe just up from the Hive shopping center in Abbotsford. It’s got a small and unceremonious front, and you must look out for the small square emblazoned “Au79” to know where you are. (?)
But once you head inside, you’ll be sold. Sold on the decor, dozens of leafy green plants, and experimental menu in both coffee and unique aussie breakfast/ brunch dishes. It’s massive, too, so a great place to tuck into a corner and work (while ordering 25 coffees all in a different style, of course).
Au79 (and above)
Three Bags Full
Three Bags Full
Another of my top brunch spots in Melbourne, Three Bags Full is just a few minutes walk from Au79. This one is in a historic old brick building that used to be a hat mill, constructed from the late 1800’s! There are a few rooms to open up depending on how many crazy Aussies are lining up for a good brunch that day.
They have great coffee, amazing brunch (yes, both breakfast and lunch) options, and a trendy space. What more could you want? Oh, and the frame on the blank wall in the photo above is around old footy rankings that someone etched on the wall in pencil in the early 1900’s. How’s that for history?
Peddlr (Coffee House)
This one’s a bit tougher to find but oh-so-melbourne-trendy. Just off Punt Road near the Circle coworking space, Peddlr Coffee has an old coffee truck tucked inside a dog-friendly warehouse space with lots of plants, snacks, and other goodness.
Great coffee, and you can bring your dog.
8 Murray St
ANOTHER amazing Abbotsford cafe (are you overwhelmed yet? I am) not too far from the well-known breweries. It’s got a drool-worthy outdoor space covered in trees and with lots of garden plants. It basically feels like you’re having a yarn in a mate’s backyard.
It’s got a TO-DIE-FOR menu with delicious brunch (I had an amazing acai bowl, pictured above), smoothies, good coffee, and even affordable cocktails. I’ll be back soon.
This is another corner coffee shop. I would recommend this one most for takeaway (or not staying too long) coffee and Abbotsford people watching off Nicholson St.
Good old Victoria Street – some of the best Asian food in the city.
Places to Eat after 5pm in Abbotsford Melbourne
Although Abbotsford is known for cafes, I promise there are at least a few options for things to do in Abbotsford for dinner as well. Bordering the famous “little Vietnam” Victoria St, Abbotsford is home to write a few ethnic food options and more.
I mention ‘vietnamese food’ as a very loose term because, as Victoria Street is ‘Little Vietnam,’ there are AMAZING and very authentic places EVERYWHERE. Have a stroll down the street and see what tickes your fancy, which ones are busy with locals, and maybe which ones are BYOB!
Some of my recs: Tran Tran, Pho Chu The, and Pho Hung Vuong 2. IMPORTANT TIP: If you are not Vietnamese slash don’t want crazy meat and parts of animals you didn’t know existed (ex. tripe), make sure to either specify this or DO NOT order ‘combination’ pho. You’ve been warned. It’s that authentic!
Orientable is a well-rated Japanese restaurant on Victoria St.
Although Melbourne is known for having sushi as a takeaway dish, this is one of few restaurants that proves sushi’s worth as a sit-down meal as well.
Looking for high quality Thai food? Look no further than Jinda. Its not going to the be cheapest food option on Victoria St (out of hundreds!), but it will be tasty and a break from Vietnamese.
On It Burgers
Not into ethnic food? Grab a burger! On it Burgers are trustworthy, delicious, and hit the mark every time. Also on Victoria St.
Lentils as Anything
Remember when I talked about the Vegan restaurant in the Abbotsford convent? This is it. If you are vegan or even if you simply don’t mind vegan food, this is a wonderful place to visit for a good cause. Donate whatever you feel (suggested only $12!) for a meal at this lovely leafy restaurant run by volunteers.
Well, that’s it I think! Hope you enjoyed my guide to Abbotsford, Melbourne, and are inspired with tons of things to do.