With its excellent shopping strips, great parks on the Maribyrnong River and, of course, its world-class racecourses, Moonee Valley City Council is one of Melbourne’s hot spots.
There’s not one but two famous racecourses within the boundaries of the City of Moonee Valley. For anyone who lives outside its realm that may seem a little unfair, but since this district is just a short distance from the CBD and easily accessed by public transport everyone can (and should) come along and enjoy the atmosphere. The first is the Moonee Valley Racing Club — it hosts a number of race meets each year, but none is so loved as the W.S. Cox Plate, Australia’s richest weight-for-age race, held in October each year. It’s an important precursor to the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the highlight of the year at Flemington Racecourse, home of the Victorian Racing Club. Over the course of four days, thousands of punters converge on the track to dress up, party and perhaps even watch a couple of races, including the big one, the Melbourne Cup.
And all that is just the start of the fun in the City of Moonee Valley. Among its many suburbs, you’ll uncover many attractions to entertain and amuse. Anyone who loves to fill their lungs with fresh air should get on their bike. Hit the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, a 3.5km track that’s a nature lover’s delight (and equally as fun if you’re on foot and decide to walk) and meets up with a number of other cycling paths, including the Western Ring Road Trail and the Capital City Trail. Otherwise, take a wander through Ascot Vale’s Fairbairn Park, adjacent to the Maribyrnong River. The kids will love the playgrounds, your pooch can go off leash and there are plenty of picnic areas to gather friends and family. There’s also Queens Park in Moonee Ponds, with its sunken gardens, a pond, fountains and the beginning of a heritage trail that meanders through the neighbourhood taking in a number of significant sites.
Speaking of meandering, shoppers will love that many offerings in our suburbs. Places like Moonee Ponds’ Puckle Street and Racecourse Road, Flemington, have a genuine village vibe. Then you can get some serious bargain hunting in at Essendon Fields DFO.
After dark, there’s still much to capture the imagination. Theatre, dance, cabaret and comedy are all on offer at the Clocktower Centre, at what used to be the Essendon Town Hall. There seems to be a never-ending supply of cafes and restaurants, focusing on global flavours. One of the most popular, with a line outside some nights, is Laksa King. People come from miles around to feast on piping hot bowls of curry noodle soup topped with veggies, chicken, seafood and other flavours. But if you want to try Ethiopian food or share Turkish fare with friends, that’s all possible. Plus, there are bars and pubs aplenty, including The Quiet Man Irish Pub, reputed to have some of the best craic in all of Melbourne.
If you want a great place to work, rest and play, you’ve found it in the City of Moonee Valley.