This is where I live

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Inner-North6 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Inner-North3 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Inner-North7 Inner-North5What do you love about where you live? I've lived in a lot of places around Australia and the world, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: Melbourne is the first place I've felt "at home" since I left New York. I live in a really great part of Melbourne, known as the "Inner North." What do I love about it?

It's a 20 minute walk from my place into the heart of the city, yet everywhere around us is quiet and peaceful. We're in a historically-protected area, so most of the homes in our street are more than 100 years old, with their beautiful Victorian facades preserved. A walk to the park today is barely changed from the same walk a century ago.

Buildings in our area are peppered with wonderful vintage advertising painted onto their brickwork. There are cobblestoned laneways behind the homes. And the main streets are choc full of amazing food: cafes, restaurants, bars, food trucks and organic produce; as well as shops that boast beautiful homewares, vintage finds, fashion and art.

Are you ready to visit me yet?

If you are, I may have the perfect travel guide for you. Jauntful is a new (free) digital tool that makes it incredibly easy to design attractive online guides that are also printable (with maps). Pretty nifty, huh?

I've just designed my very first guide, focusing on great places to eat and visit in Melbourne's Inner North, with babies or toddlers in tow. I'm not talking about places that deliberately bill themselves as family-friendly, necessarily: all too often those places are noisy and grotty and garish and the coffee is appalling. Instead, I'm talking about the sorts of places you'd want to visit even without kids (and you totally should!), which just so happen to be super supportive of those of us sporting miniature humans, and frequently include some special extras that keep the kids happy and make our lives easier.

So, here is my guide (scroll down through it too see all the places I recommend). What do you think? Do you want to come visit my neighbourhood (with or without kids)?

The toddler-and-baby friendly Inner North

And now for the competition

To celebrate the launch of a new Facebook page called "Live North" that celebrates all the great things about Melbourne's Inner North, sponsored by Hockingstuart, I've been invited to give you guys a gift: a family pass to Melbourne Museum (two adults and two children), PLUS a family pass (two adults and two children) to see Unseen World at IMAX Melbourne. The total value of this prize is $75.

To enter, simply send me an email (nabulger AT gmail DOT com) with "Live North" in the subject line. I'll select the winner at random so making your message funny or cute won't win you any extra points, but it WILL make it fun for me to read, so don't hold back if you're so inclined! The competition closes at 3pm this Friday 11 April (Melbourne time, of course). Only one entry per person, but you can enter other members of your family (or your friends), as long as they are over 18.

UPDATE: This competition is now closed. Congratulations Tawhi!

ps. The Live North Facebook page has also launched a HUGE competition to win dining and shopping in the Inner North, worth more than $4000! Enter here.