It’s no secret that the suburbs in Melbourne’s outer west have been growing at a rate of knots; land that had been used for agriculture since the 1830s began their transformation only in the 1990s. For a brilliant example of this growth, look no further than Tarneit. The suburb is predicted to double in population by 2031. 

While residential developments go up and new families move in, a drive around the suburb reveals Tarneit’s parks, green spaces and reserves are perfectly curated to cater for local children and visitors alike. 

With the kids in tow, start your visit to Tarneit with a visit to Little Growling Café. Scroll through their Facebook page and drool over their sweet treats (think White Chocolate and Chilli Bites or homemade Dark Chocolate and Granola Energy Bar), before gathering the troops and settling in for a morning session. 

And for the kids? From your seat you can watch the littlies run around in Grove Playground at the back of the café. With intertwining slides, swings and lush greenery for them to run around on, it’s a great spot for them to play, run, jump and get up to all sorts of mischief. While the main access is through the café, you can get in through a gate on the west side of the playground when the café is closed (i.e. on Mondays and after 4pm most days).

Image credits: facebook.com/littlegrowlingcafe

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Little Growling Cafe

Just around the corner is Haven Park, another sweet spot for the kids to let off some steam. Both youngsters and older children are catered for so you can sip on that takeaway coffee and enjoy the serenity (unless there’s a spot of construction going on; in that case the diggers and bulldozers will probably be more interesting to the kids than any play equipment!).

Exercise your mind at the newest learning destination in the west, the Julia Gillard Library. With more than 30,000 items available in multiple languages. As well as a permanent collection for fans of the written word, they have a stack of events happening throughout the year, from marathon board game sessions for teens to Midday Movies and Travel Club for adults.  

In the same spot is the Tarneit Community Learning Centre, the perfect place for locals and visitors alike to learn and connect. Learn yoga, guitar, Bollywood dancing and everything in between. There are also U3A (University of the Third Age) courses catering to those older adults with a thirst for knowledge. 

And if you’re keen to stick around after dark, Hotel 520 is where the after-hours action happens. With more than a dash of Mediterranean influence in the menu, it’s worth making a reservation – especially on Fridays when you’re sure to join in the local fun of Members Night. With a Kid’s Club and Sports Bar, a night at 520 is guaranteed to send you home with a tale or two to tell.

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