How to Spend an Hour in… Yarraville

By Peter Sarmas on 16 Nov 2013
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Everyone’s talking about Yarraville.

It has cool wine bars, they say. Quirky design shops. Vintage Melbourne architecture. And it’s only 8 kilometres west of the CBD.

When I found myself with an hour to kill in the area, I decided to discover what all the fuss was about. 

Wee Jeanie

Inside Wee Jeanie
Photo: Jessica Hoadley

Caffeinate

Straight off the train at Yarraville Station I stumbled out of the wind and into Wee Jeanie, a cosy café with an almost Scandinavian aesthetic: timber furnishings, white tile, exposed brick walls and a cute rear courtyard.

The coffee is Proud Mary and the menu features soups, quiches, salads, sandwiches and sweet treats. My neighbours were a piccolo-drinking, moleskin-writing woman in a beret, and a bike-riding mother and son enjoying hot chocolates.

Proud Mary coffee at Wee Jeanie

Proud Mary coffee at Wee Jeanie
Photo: Jessica Hoadley

Playtime

When I stepped outside, I could see the Yarraville Gardens were the best spot for restless little legs (of the two- or four-legged variety) on a sunny day.

From the village there’s helpful signage for the 1km walk to the gardens. In amongst the formal gardens and grassy areas there was a playground, BBQ facilities, picnic tables, public toilets, and a dog-off-lead area (in the Barbara Beyer Reserve) – plenty to keep the family occupied.

The gardens are also a regular stop for food trucks like Dos Diablos Mobile Cantina, Mr Burger and White Guy Cooks Thai. Yum!

The Sun Bookshop

The Sun Bookshop
Photo: Jessica Hoadley

Culture Vulture

Up the top end of Ballarat Street sits the refurbished Sun Theatre – an art deco masterpiece and the pride of the suburb.

I saw its golden sun facade peeking above the building roofs from a block away, allowing me to orient myself: it’s practically the Eiffel Tower or Cristo Redentor of Melbourne’s inner west.

“The Sun Theatre… is practically the Eiffel Tower or Cristo Redentor of Melbourne’s inner west.”

The six-screen boutique theatre shows old cult classics alongside new Hollywood blockbusters – today My Fair Lady is playing opposite Thor –  and offers cheap tickets ($10.50) all day on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Apparently in summer, astro-turf is laid down on the road in front of the theatre to create a pop-up park where locals lounge under beach umbrellas, sipping beer and cocktails. Count me in.

Sun Theatre in Yarraville

The Sun Theatre
Photo: Jessica Hoadley

“In summer, astro-turf is laid down on the road in front of the theatre to create a pop-up park where locals lounge under beach umbrellas.”

Next door, in what used to be the original candy bar, is the Sun Bookshop. As soon as I walked in I could see why this indie bookshop is so popular with the locals – it’s packed with high quality fiction, biographies, history, crime, art and design, travel, science and literary journals.

When I hungrily browsed the special walls of staff favourites, book to movie releases and literary prize-winners, I noticed the children’s section has its own shop (The Younger Sun) just across the road.

Sports Star

The Yarraville Oval is the spot to get out and active: there’s a footy ground, cricket nets and two flexi-turf tennis courts on site.

There’s also a skate park (Sk8er Extreme Skate Park) in the oval complex, catering for all your rail-grinding, backside-air needs. Or you could just watch like me, thinking I’m pretty rad.

Bikes outside Yarraville station

Bikes outside Yarraville Station
Photo: Jessica Hoadley

On Ya Bike

Yarraville definitely seems like a cyclist-friendly place. There are plenty of places to tie up your two-wheeler (especially outside the station) and bike lanes painted on the road.

Trails through Yarraville adjoin the Maribyrnong River Trail (heading north through Footscray) or into the city via Footscray Road and the Docklands, but beware of notable blackspots where cyclists have to share the road with trucks.

The Final Verdict

So I’m doing it. I’m concurring with the masses. There’s plenty to do in Yarraville, and I’ll be sure to return for some arthouse theatre and pop-up park lounging.

About the Author

Peter Sarmas is a Certified Property Investment Advisor (PIAA) and Vendor/Buyer Advocate. Before becoming the founder of Street News, Peter completed a Degree in Applied Science (Chemistry) and a Graduate Diploma in Property Valuations (Hons). Peter believes property investing is a major and potentially risky undertaking. In his view, everyone should have an independent person acting on their behalf when seeking property investment advice.

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