End of the line: Why you should visit Sunbury

Sunbury's Goona Warra Vineyard. Photo: @goonawarravineyard

Sunbury's Goona Warra Vineyard. Photo: @goonawarravineyard

If you’ve ever sat on the train and wondered what lies at the end of an average 45-minute train ride in Melbourne, you’re not alone. These towns might seem like a world away but many hidden treasures lay in wait, ready to be discovered.

There are 16 train lines that start in Melbourne and spread out across Victoria like spaghetti. And although the main connection between these communities is their respective train lines, each has their own unique flavour that adds to Melbourne’s diverse culture.

First on our list of end-of-the-line suburbs is the ever-expanding Sunbury. It is experiencing growth at a rapid rate, with contemporary estates such as Rosenthal cropping up with new town centres and extra train stations proposed.

Being just over 40 kilometres outside of Melbourne, the suburb has a feel of being halfway between town and country – close enough to all the action but still far enough to have that laid-back charm.

Venturing out for a day in here feels like a day out in Bendigo without the long travel time.

Dining destinations

If there’s one thing Sunbury has down pat, it’s good food. With such a wide range of restaurants you might have make a few train trips just to try them all.

Some good starting points include The Spotted Owl on O’Shanassy Street, a newcomer with a range of tasty and Instagram-worthy treats, including a black soft-shell crab bun, nourish bowls and amazing French toast.

A few doors down you’ll find Vic’s Food and Wine, which has some of the best Italian food you’ll find in the area as well as a great bar and a delicious dessert selection.

For something a little heavier there’s Between 2 Buns, which has everything a burger lover could want – from stacked burgers, loaded fries, amazing milkshakes and donut sundaes that will make your mouth water.

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Wonderful wineries

Sunbury is well known for its reputation as one of the oldest wine regions in Victoria, developing and crafting the good stuff since the 1860s.

Mostly developing cold climate wines such as shiraz and riesling, but also chardonnay, semillon and pinot noir, the Craiglee and Goonawarra vineyards are a wine lover’s paradise.

Craiglee Vineyard is family run and has won multiple gold awards in the Melbourne Wine Show for their drop and is a member of Angton’s Classification of Top 100 Shiraz producers, while Goonawarra Vineyard hosts weddings and events on their historical homestead.

The owners have put forward an $45 million upgrade proposal to Hume Council, which would add a 76-suite hotel, two additional restaurants and a spa (as if you needed another reason to consider a winery visit).

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Spooky sightseeing

Sunbury is rich in history, but if something a little spookier is your thing, you will not be disappointed with a tour of the old Sunbury Mental Asylum. Located in the Jacksons Hill estate, the asylum dates back to 1879.

Participants are guided through the main original areas of the hospital, such as the male special admissions ward for the criminally insane, the morgue and the women’s refractory prison as well as the infamous Ha Ha Walls, built to prevent escape.

The tours are designed to inform the public of life for patients in the asylum, and create awareness of the ways mental illness was treated by society. The tours operate during the day and at night for the super brave, and cost $30 per person.

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Family fun

Love going to the Melbourne Show but can’t handle the crowds, the long queues for showbags and the traffic on the way home? Well every October, Sunbury puts on its own mini bash and it certainly gives the big one a run for its money.

The Sunbury Agricultural Show features local art, crafts and baking competitions, rides and games, musical performances, stalls, showbags and animal displays – everything you would want in a fun family day out celebrating rural culture.

This year will be held on October 14 from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Conveniently, it’s only a seven-minute walk from Sunbury Station.

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