Between the meandering Yarra River and one of the quaintest suburban villages in Melbourne, Fairfield is the perfect destination for a family day out, or a special treat with a loved one.

It will only take you ten minutes to reach from the city centre, but Fairfield is a suburb that brings the best elements of regional Victoria to Melbourne for locals and visitors to enjoy. Quiet shopping strips filled with friendly locals, plenty of natural bushland to explore and a quintessential 19th century pub go hand in hand. It’s one of those places that – whether you’re a first-time visitor or you’ve lived here for decades – you can never get tired of.

Fairfield is one of a few suburbs that share inner Melbourne’s largest area of natural bushland, Yarra Bend Park. A 12-kilometre stretch of Yarra River flows through the park, with a large population of the vulnerable grey-headed flying fox calling the banks home. Stroll through the park or settle down with a picnic to enjoy the seclusion and tranquillity of one of Melbourne’s most-loved spots.

Nestled on the north bank of the Yarra is one of Fairfield’s most popular spots for visitors, Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens. Built more than a century ago, it was designed – and has existed ever since – as a place for relaxation and refreshments in one of the most charming spots in Melbourne. Open from 8.30am for breakfast, until late in the afternoon, the friendly staff and talented kitchen crew will show you why it’s such a popular place for catching up with friends. And is there a better place to while away a summer’s afternoon than on the riverside deck and terrace, sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio (or a milkshake)?

Away from the river, most of the action in Fairfield is centred on Station Street. The strip, conveniently serviced by Fairfield Train Station, is a melting pot of styles, fashion and demographics. Young families mingle with retirees, with a decent smattering of hip 20-somethings who have strayed east from Northcote and Thornbury to be here.

Fashion-focussed spots like ILI and Erinbank keep locals looking classy, while Fox in Sox Kids is your one-stop shop for everything baby, toddler and child. Food-wise, Three Locals serves up some of the best breakfast in Melbourne while  Matsuya is one of Fairfield’s best restaurants for a slightly more up-market dinner. 

Standing sentry over the passers-by is the Fairfield Industrial Dog Object, or Fido for short. At 5.5 metres high and 8 metres long, the hardwood sculpture was built in 2000 and has lived at the entrance to Fairfield Train Station ever since.

If you’re feeling like a little olde worlde charm, step back in time at the Grandview Hotel. Built in 1888, the long-standing pub has become a staple destination for locals and visitors alike. A drool-worthy selection of parmas is available Tuesdays and Thursdays for just $16 (try the Greek variation with prawns and calamari!) and kids eat free on Friday nights. The Grandview is also a popular comedy venue, with local legend Dave O’Neil hosting a weekly night with seriously A-grade talent each Wednesday.

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