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Home to one of Melbourne’s biggest parks and a bounty of cafes and shopping ideas, Brighton East is a family-friendly suburb whose locals welcome visitors with a wave and a smile.

Anyone who has spent time living in or visiting Melbourne’s southeast suburbs would be aware of Dendy Park. For generations, families have climbed playgrounds, chased each other around the vast green expanses and caught up with friends over barbecues and picnics here. Between 2014 and 2018, significant investment by local government saw upgrades to its sporting and playground facilities, ensuring that future generations will continue to grow up in the fresh air of this suburban oasis. 

The locals and visitors that play at Dacey Street Playground are some of the lucky beneficiaries of the Dendy Park upgrades. The pink soft turf makes it instantly appealing, and the life-size game of snakes and ladders is unusual and totally fun. Kids of all ages will find something to do; bring a footy or a cricket bat and ball in case the temptation of a huge grassy field is more appealing than the slides, climbing ropes and spinners.

Another Dendy Park playground – yep, it’s so big that it has multiple places for your kids to go wild – is the sandy heaven of Dendy Street Playground. Shaded and brimming with diggers, slides and climbing equipment, it will feel as though you’ve wandered all the way to the beach. What’s more, it’s fully-fenced so bring a bucket and spade and start digging for treasure!

Hero image source: @mammaknowssouth
Image source: @bumpintomums 

Dacey Street Playground

One of the tastiest reasons to visit Dendy Park is Hank Marvin Market. Running every Sunday from 9am to 3pm, the food truck extravaganza opened in October 2018 after the raging success of the original Hank Marvin Market in St Kilda East. Fill your belly and nourish your soul with food from a rotating range of food trucks and craft stalls. It’s dog- and child-friendly (think dog treat stalls and face painting), so bring the whole family for a morning or afternoon of fun!

Hawthorn Road runs north off the Nepean Highway and is the focal point for a lot of the permanent dining options in Brighton East. Primrose Hill Deli is one of those; a friendly, warm deli offering brunch, coffee and shelves full of take-home goodies. Treat yourself with breakfast then take home a bottle of infused oil, some cured meats and a selection of local or international cheeses.

Across the road, it’s hard to miss Azzurro Pizza, Pasta & Grill. Summertime sees the Hawthorn Road footpath taken over by groups of families and friends taking advantage of the warm weather to eat their way through traditional Italian fare.

And a little further north, on the corner of North Road, Jim’s Fish Shop has been pumping out some of the best fish and chips this side of the Yarra River for years. There’s no better way to end the working week than with a piece of golden flake, fat potato cakes and a serving of minimum chips. You won’t be alone, with pilgrims from as far as St Kilda and Oakleigh flocking to enjoy a Friday night tradition. 

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