Live life to its full — learn to play golf, eat well and brew your own limited-edition beer — in Melbourne’s east.
Had the Lacey family gone a different way, the people of Maroondah might now be living in Steeple Bumpstead. Thankfully, when a name was needed for the new train station in the 1880s, Gregory Lacey chose the name of his wife’s home town, Croydon, rather than his own. Today, this suburb, 27km east of Melbourne’s CBD, has a thriving hub on Main Street, with shops, eateries, services and a cinema.
It’s here you’ll find Bekendales. This friendly, busy cafe has everyone’s favourite breakfast and lunch options, as well as some more innovative offerings — the chorizo and cheddar croquettes with poached eggs and the zucchini and halloumi fritters served with roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad both get the thumbs-up. Those who want to avoid temptation should try Acai Brothers, which dubs itself a superfood bar. You simply pick a ‘bowl’ (the raw jaffa bowl, for instance, has acai, banana, coconut water, buckini, orange essential oil and cacao) then add three fruits.
Long fairways, magnificent greens and stunning views of the Dandenong Ranges are the features of the 18-hole Dorset Golf Course. It’s open to the public, and there are private lessons and clinics for those who want to improve their game.
The Public Brewery has a very different agenda to most microbreweries — it allows you to make your own beer. Book in, be led through the process then come back about five weeks later to bottle the spoils. Big ask? Instead, settle into the dining hall and sample its own beers, offerings from other local breweries and tasty snacks.