Whether you love getting active in the great outdoors or prefer checking out the café scene, Moonee Valley has something for everyone.
Start off your day with some seriously Insta-worthy fare at the Ascot Food Store [320 Ascot Vale Road, Moonee Ponds]. Decked out with retro but oh-so-cool decor, here you will find options for everyone, with a range of organic and free-range produce that can be washed down with some top-notch coffee. Expect restaurant quality food with a cafe price tag. The smoked salmon rillettes come highly reccomended, comprising smoked salmon, toasted rye, pickles, cultured cream, chives and a soft broken egg. Feeling like something more on the sweeter side? Check out one of its mad-scientist-style doughnuts, complete with a syringe bursting with delicious sweet filling; we love the raspberry and white chocolate version that comes with freeze-dried berries. If you really want to indulge, add a deliciously creamy milkshake to your order.
St Rose [19 Rose Street, Essendon] was founded by husband and wife Domenic and Diana Caruso. The duo shared a passion for food, and their dream was to bring the inner-city cafe experience into the outer ‘burbs. Their cafe has a cool and casual vibe which carries over to their menu, which offers a range of simple, yet delicious choices. We can’t go past the sound of the lemon-meringue porridge of oats, lemon curd, cinnamon crumbs, buckwheat, linseed and toasted meringue. If you’re after something more savoury, try the pumpkin and halloumi fritters.
The arts and culture scene in the north west is thriving and a great place to experience it first-hand is at the Clocktower Centre [750 Mt Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds]. This historic building was formally the Essendon Town Hall and as the name suggests, the focal point of the building is its historic clock tower. Here, you’ll find a plethora of professional theatre, music and dance showings to suit every age bracket and interest. Our tip is to arrive early and take advantage of the free tea and coffee on offer for day time shows.
Exploring on your bike is one of the best ways to discover an area and the north west has a multitude of bike paths and trails for locals and visitors to enjoy. The Moonee Ponds Creek Trailis a great option for cyclers of any skill level. Start the trail in Flemington, and ride creek-side right up to Boeing Reserve [Boeing Road, Strathmore Heights]. When you reach the reserve, take a moment to relax on the grass and enjoy watching the planes taking off and landing at Essendon Airport. The roundtrip will take about an hour and 30 minutes. Enjoy the changing landscapes as well as the flora and fauna of the trail as you ride past reserves and underneath overpasses.
Image source: velocycles.com.au
The much-loved Darling Street Espresso [146 Athol Street, Moonee Ponds] is a hidden gem you’ll find down a quaint, unassuming residential street in Moonee Ponds. Previously an old corner store, the building has been revitalised into a buzzing eatery and its courtyard means your four-legged friend can come along too. Unlike other suburban cafe’s, Darling Street Espresso engages in a fresh produce exchange; this means if you have an overloaded veggie garden, you can bring veggies down and exchange them for a coffee. The more produce you have, the more coffee you get. Every item on the menu has been carefully created by Head Chef Robin Neaves, with the cheeseburger being a crowd favourite. It rivals some of the more well-known burger joints by classing things up with tomato jam in place of tomato sauce.
Take a moment to relax and unwind in the picturesque retreat that is Queens Park [Corner Mt Alexander Road and Kellaway Avenue, Moonee Ponds]. Wander through the park and enjoy all that it has to offer from its abundance of flora and fauna varieties to its heritage. The old curator’s cottage, built in 1891, is a focal point of the park. Famous explorers Burke and Wills camped nearby on the first night of their famed expedition, adding to the park’s history. It features two playgrounds for the kids to run wild on, a cafe to ensure your get your mid-day coffee fix and paths to ensure you don’t miss an inch of the park — some say it’s fit for a Queen!
One of Melbourne’s great shopping precincts, Puckle Street is a shopaholics dream. Puckle Street is a combination of old and new, preserving its quaint federation façade while staying on trend with the latest fashion. Enjoy checking out the latest style offerings from stores like Witchery, David Marcs and Jo Mercer. Be sure to stop in at Tabitha for some retail therapy. If you’re a lover of craft beer or fine wine, Penny Young is the perfect place to stop in for an afternoon drink or to pick up some beverages for the weekend. From fashion, gifts, food or wine, Puckle Street has it all.
It’s time to shop till you drop at discounted prices! Essendon DFO [100 Bulla Road, Essendon] is the north west’s number one outlet shopping spot. There are over 100 stores to splash your cash at with up to a massive 70 per cent off in each, making these bargains too good to miss. Treat yourself by visiting Coach and Tommy Hilfiger or pick up a gift for a friend from Polo Ralph Lauren. The labels here range from high end to high street and cover clothing, footwear, homewares and more. Essendon DFO is open until 6pm every night so there’s plenty of time to get your retail therapy fix.
Image source: Supplied by Moonee Valley City Council
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