Unleash your inner historian and latent conservationist in Point Cook. It may be growing fast, but there are still plenty of wild adventures to be had.
There are some interesting facts in Point Cook’s history. It’s not named after Captain James Cook, but rather John M Cooke, a mate on the Rattlesnake, which charted part of Port Phillip Bay in 1836. The wealthy Chirnside family, who owned much property in the district, released deer and fox on their land in the 1850s to satisfy their love for hunting. Then, in 1912, the federal government purchased a large parcel of land and on it established the Australian Flying Corp, which would become the RAAF.
Up until the turn of the century, this was a mainly rural community that also happened to host the RAAF Williams Base. That’s changed rapidly in the years since, with Point Cook growing the fifth fastest of any suburb in Australia during the 2016 financial year.
Anyone visiting shouldn’t ignore its history though. The RAAF Museum takes a look behind the scenes of this institution and the history of the organisation and its people. Of course, there’s also a hangar of historic aircraft on display, including a GAF Jindavik, a pilotless target aircraft developed and manufactured in Australia. More than 300 were built at Woomera and Jervis Bay and sold to the USA, UK and Sweden, making it Australia’s most successful aviation export. The museum is on the RAAF Williams Base (be sure to bring photo identification), as is Vintage Tiger Moth Joy Flights. Take a step back in time and climb aboard these 1940s aircraft for a panoramic flight over Melbourne.
If you’re going for the thrilling acrobatic option in the Tiger Moth it’s better to head to Gemelli Cafe Grill afterwards. The menus —breakfast right through to dinner — change seasonally and, wherever possible, support local farmers and producers. On a sunny day, fried calamari salad or a steak sandwich in the outdoor area is a real treat.
Wildlife lovers should spend some time exploring Point Cook Coastal Park and nearby Cheetham Wetlands. There’s a small beach here with low offshore reefs that make it the perfect spot for exploring marine life. Bring a snorkel when it’s warm and observe the underwater life. Back on dry land, take a stroll along the mowed grass tracks that cross both reserves. Head to the highest point, known as the Tower, for a fantastic 360-degree view and to watch planes taking off from the RAAF base. The wetlands comprise a series of salt marshes and lagoons off Sweetwater Creek, and are a haven for thousands of birds. In fact, at different times of the year, this is an important feeding zone and habitat for migratory birds from Siberia, Japan and New Zealand. Walk along a trail and over a timber bridge to find the viewing tower.
For a completely different change of pace, head to WYNCITY Bowl & Entertainment where you can throw a few balls down the tenpin lanes, play Lasertag, drive the bumper cars or play glow mini golf. Or you might want to leave the kids there for an hour or two, and instead browse the 150 specialty stores at Point Cook Town Centre, the suburb’s modern shopping mall.
As the day ends, head to The Brook Point Cook to find one of the suburb’s hidden gems. Tucked within the pub is the Two Brothers Sports Bar where you can sip on craft beers and cocktails, catch up with mates in a relaxed atmosphere and play free pool on Sunday. Take the whole family along to the Phoenix Hotel, where there’s a huge bistro, outdoor dining area and sports bar.