A day in Altona Meadows is sure to be filled with greenery, great food and coffee, and a tale or two to tell.
A relatively large suburb for the inner southwest, Altona Meadows follows the Port Phillip Bay shoreline between Altona and Point Cook, connecting with the rest of Melbourne via the Princes Freeway and Laverton Train Station. Just half an hour from the city centre, it’s the most populated suburb in the Hobsons Bay council area, particularly popular with young families, CBD workers and folks who like a bit of urban charm with their seaside living.
Most of Altona Meadows’ boundary is made up of parkland and nature reserve, with the suburban streets seemingly miles away from the industrial precincts that are scattered throughout other western suburbs.
One of the most popular attractions in Altona Meadows is Truganina Park, a 25-hectare space that was, until 1998, home to the Altona Tip. These days, though, you’re much more likely to see local families, as well as nature enthusiasts from all over Melbourne’s western suburbs and beyond. You can access Truganina Park via the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, a cycling trail that practically follows the shoreline from Williamstown all the way to the Cheetham Wetlands. Alternatively, there’s plenty of parking.
As well as being a great place for kids and dogs to run free (there’s no playground but loads of space to kick, throw and catch balls and frisbees!), Truganina Park is home to the 100 Steps. Take the steps up the hill and you’ll find yourself at the highest point between Melbourne and the You Yangs. From here, you can see as far as the city centre, south-eastern beaches and – on a clear day – as far as the Port Phillip Heads.
Did you know Altona Meadows is home to internationally-significant wetlands that act as the summer home to thousands of migratory birds, who (literally) flock here from as far away as Japan and Siberia? Cheetham Wetlands is on the bucket list for most twitchers in Australia (that’s birdwatchers to you and I), and for good reason. The Wetlands themselves are protected and not open to the public, however the viewing tower – accessible in a car via Point Cook Road then Point Cook Homestead Road – is a great vantage point, especially if you bring your binoculars.
After all that exploring, outdoor activity and fresh air, you’ll probably be feeling like a hearty meal and, more likely than not, a refreshing beverage. With Central Square the main shopping centre in Altona Meadows, there’s one spot there that stands out from the rest: Graze Bar & Restaurant. Having only opened in 2017, it’s quickly become popular not only with the after-work crowd (open ‘til 10pm, seven days) but also with families who get a kick out of the solid kids’ menu and excellent service. Plus, the size of their sundaes will blow your mind, so make sure you have a partner in crime ready to help you reach the bottom of the glass!