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Bronuts at Down the Rabbit Hole Templestowe
Photograph: Supplied

A local's guide to Templestowe

Find restaurants, cafés and things to do in Templestowe with this area guide to the suburb

By Samantha Allemann
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While sleepy Templestowe doesn’t get the glory of its more well-known neighbours Eltham and Doncaster, there’s a lot to love about this suburb. Located 16km north-east of Melbourne’s CBD, Templestowe has many sprawling nature parks to enjoy, as well as great family-friendly cafés and restaurants.

What’s Templestowe known for?

Westerfolds Park holds a prominent position in Templestowe, just off busy Fitzsimons Lane, with 123 hectares of parkland by the Yarra River. Another popular place to breathe in the fresh air by the Yarra River is Petty’s Orchard, a 44-hectare apple orchard open to visitors.

Why do the locals love it?

Morgana Eastman-Santi, manager of Power Plant Café, says Templestowe’s parks and playgrounds are its stand-outs. “People love the green areas like Westerfolds Park, and Wombat Bend is wonderful for children and has an amazing playground,” she says.

How do I get to Templestowe?

Not the most well connected by public transport, you’re limited to bus services as there aren’t any trains or trams. The 281 bus runs from Templestowe to Deakin University in Burwood via Box Hill, while the 905 service shuttles between the city and the Pines Shopping Centre, stopping off through Templestowe. There are also great walking tracks for those on foot, such as the Main Yarra Trail which starts at Westerfolds and ends in Southbank 33kms later.

What’s nearby?

The leafy, a bit hippy yet affluent Eltham is north of Templestowe, with Lower Plenty to the west. Doncaster is to the south beyond Lower Templestowe.

Map of Templestowe

If you only do one thing…

Pack a picnic (or stock up on Down The Rabbit Hole’s bronuts) and enjoy the great outdoors in Westerfolds Park. This native bushland is home to kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, platypus, possums and a huge variety of birdlife, so it’s a great spot to nature watch.

The best things to do in Templestowe

Drink selection on table at Down the Rabbit Hole Templestowe
Drink selection on table at Down the Rabbit Hole Templestowe
Photograph: Supplied

Food & Coffee

Down the Rabbit Hole (8/22 Newmans Road) has a good variety of meals on offer, but make room for their colourful selection of bronuts. You can pick up a pack of the assorted iced varieties to brighten your day, and Nutella fans need to try the bronut topped with the nutty spread and stuffed with marshmallows.

As its name suggests, Power Plant Café (2-6 Swilk Street) is focused on vegan fare. From a nourishing Power Plant Bowl featuring sautéed greens, pink kraut, hemp avocado and smoky tempeh to the array of sweet treats, this is a place vegos and vegans can take their mates and not hear complaints.

Drink

There’s a bit of a shortage of drinking holes in Templestowe, but you can still enjoy a cold one or a glass of wine here.

The Templestowe Hotel (23 Parker Street), now coined the Tempy, has been around since 1868. It has had a facelift many times over since, with the most recent renos completed earlier in 2021. Popular with families as well as seniors, this is a decent spot to get a beer and a generous feed.

The Living Room (19 Anderson St) is open from 9am till 10pm, serving up food and drinks, the latter which includes an extensive wine and cocktail list. With some drops from the nearby Yarra Valley and others from further afield, there is a great assortment on offer.

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Family on bridge in Westerfolds Park
Family on bridge in Westerfolds Park
Photograph: Parks Victoria

Things to do

The gem of Templestowe, Westerfolds Park (off Fitzsimons Lane) offers an escape from the city without having to travel beyond Melbourne. You can join in on a popular parkrun that happens every Saturday (there’s a 2km kids run on Sundays) or hire a kayak or canoe to drift down the Yarra. If you’re up for it, walk all the way to Southbank – or just laze under a tree and relax. Gates are open from 6am – 6pm; longer during daylight savings.

Candlebark Park (Main Yarra Trail) is another popular destination for runners, cyclists and walkers, with a 9km loop trail. Keep your eyes peeled for ambling echidnas or wombats, and you’re sure to spot kangaroos lounging about as well.

If horse riding is more your style, Valley Park Riding School (86 O’Briens Lane) offers private and group lessons for all ages and levels. Lessons run every day of the week from 8am to 8pm.

Wombat Bend Playspace (Finns Reserve, Corner Templestowe Rd and Union St) has lots to offer littlies in the way of outdoors entertainment. There’s an amphitheatre, maze, climbing cube, native forest walk, flying fox and sundial, as well as the usual slides and sandpit to keep kids busy.

One of Melbourne’s oldest commercial orchards, Petty’s is a family-run apple orchard with Yarra Organics at the helm. The Heritage Fruits Society is also involved, tending to around 280 heritage varieties of apples. There’s an organic café and shop inside this beautiful farm, and apple sales and tastings as well.

Shopping

Get your biltong (dried and cured meat), boerewors (sausage) and buttermilk rusks from the South African Shop (Shop 7/ 8, 112 James St). There you’ll find a selection of traditional South African products – which may be familiar to you, or completely new, in which case give them a try!

While you’re at Templestowe Village, swing by the Doncare Op Shop (Rear, 126A James St). What it lacks in size, it makes up for some great finds, with profits going back into the local community.

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Mark your calendars

Don’t miss the last heritage apple tasting at Petty’s Orchard with the Heritage Fruits Society on the afternoon of April 18, 2021. And check out Manningham Council's events page to find out when things are happening, including events at Aquarena and Donvale Bowls Club for This Girl Can Week.

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