To the west of Melbourne lies the renaissance of Sunshine West. The locals know it, and the rest of the world is coming to visit.
Over the past few years, Melbourne’s western suburbs have been at the centre of a boom. Despite being only 15-odd kilometres from Melbourne’s city centre, Sunshine West is enjoying this growth as much as any suburb. The hip sister to the more well-known Sunshine, despite covering a relatively large area, doesn’t seem sprawling and is perfect for a weekend visit.
Any self-respecting foodie worth their salt would be aware of Sunshine West’s contribution to the Melbourne barbecue scene, Sunshine Social. On a summer’s afternoon you’ll find bearded men sipping craft beer cans, kids running amok in the cubby house and a dog or three chilling out in the sun (it seems greyhounds are the puppy du jour for trend-setting locals). It’s a scene emblematic of a growing migration of Gen Ys and Millennials to the area, priced out of Footscray and Yarraville to Sunshine, Sunshine West and Albion. And while they’re coming to Sunshine Social for the melt-in-your-mouth barbecue meats and killer sides, they’ll welcome you with a smile as you sidle up to share the long outdoor tables.
A few minutes’ drive away is arguably the most well-known park in all of Melbourne’s west. Buckingham Reserve, or ‘the rocket ship park’ as it’s known by kids and parents from miles around, perches on the bank of Kororoit Creek and is the ultimate destination for adventure-seeking youngsters. At its centre is — you guessed it — a giant tower shaped resembling one of the coolest rocket ships you could imagine. Spy children climbing as fast as their little legs and arms can carry them to ride down the spiralling slide, before rushing to take their turn on the flying foxes. An awesome water play area makes it a great place for summer, while barbecues and high-quality toilet facilities means it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon here.
Buckingham Reserve is also a great place to explore one of Sunshine West’s key features — Kororoit Creek, which runs along the suburb’s eastern boundary and separates it from Sunshine proper. Bring a pair of walking shoes or your bike and take in one of the most peaceful walking trails in Melbourne. The four unbroken kilometre stretch of the creek (that starts in Ardeer, meanders through Albion and takes in Sunshine West then Brooklyn) will have you looking up at majestic eucalypts and other native vegetation, while ducks and other birdlife pluck lunch from the cool, running water. The trail connects with the Federation Trail and has easy access to the Western Ring Road Trail, making it accessible from many parts of the west.
With such a multicultural population — 13% were born in Vietnam, 6% in India and many other nationalities make up the suburb’s demographic — there are plenty of tasty treats to uncover in the area. A Taste of Poland will fill you up with piles of pierogis, delicious kranskies and other Eastern European delicacies, while a hearty but great-value Filipino lunch awaits at [email protected]. Spend some time exploring the many old-school shopping strips around the suburb to uncover some more treats.