10 things to love about Preston

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Roger Capogreco, RACV Northland shop manager
Roger Capogreco, RACV Northland shop manager

Your guide

Name: Roger Capogreco
Position: RACV Northland shop manager, worked 15 years in Preston
Why he loves it: It’s eclectic cosmopolitan and very multicultural.
Absolute favourite? Preston market for its fresh food – especially the hot jam donuts.

1. Tasty trucks

The food truck revolution has definitely reached Preston. Last September an old car yard and warehouse on High Street was converted into The Food Truck Park. Choose your food from the various trucks and then get a drink at the bar. I like it for a night out as it’s more relaxed than going out for dinner. Sometimes there are special nights such as the Bollywood Food Truck Festival or an Asian street food event.

2. Showtime

The Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre (corner Bell Street and St Georges Road) is a great resource for local performing artists and arts lovers. There’s a 385-seat theatre and lots of interesting events.

3. Movie classic

Film buffs should visit Westgarth’s beautiful 1920s cinema (89 High Street). It had a big facelift about 10 years ago and now has multiple screens. It’s right in the heart of Northcote’s High Street with its many cafes and restaurants. It’s one of my favourite places to bring visitors.

4. To market

Preston Market, which has been trading for 45 years, is the hub of the area. In terms of food, it’s on par with the Queen Victoria Market. It’s popular with people from all backgrounds. I love the experience. The hot jam donuts from the food van are really good and I’d also recommend the pasta, cheese and fish sections. The market is open Wednesday to Saturday.

5. Drive-in fun

For a dose of nostalgia, check out the Coburg Drive-In, which is right next door to Preston (155 Newlands Road, Coburg). Opened in 1965, it had some bad years in the 1980s and had to close. Now it’s Melbourne’s largest drive-in and has a loyal following for its three screens. We try to go once a year with our teenage children. In summer people bring deck chairs and have a picnics beside their cars.

RACV members save when at the Coburg Drive-In – it’s just $40 per car when you show your current RACV card.

6. Nature walks

For those who want to keep fit or dis- cover some local wildlife, the Merri Creek walking trail runs for 25 kilometres from Clifton Hill to Fawkner. It passes CERES Community Environment Park, Brunswick Velodrome and Coburg Lake Reserve, which was once a quarry. It’s also great for riding a Cerbike and you see some lovely bridges, lush grasslands and trees. Have a coffee break at CERES.

7. Pizza pleasers

Preston is home to one of Melbourne’s best pizza joints. Silvio Serpa from Pizzaly (132 Wood Street) was the highest placed Australian for his margherita at the recent World Championship of Pizza in Parma, Italy. Choose from a multitude of cafes, from Asian, Middle Eastern and African. I love yum cha at Gold Leaf Chinese Restaurant (419 High Street) near the market. It’s great fun to pass the traditional ducks hanging in the window of C-Culture restaurant (437 High Street). The Old Fire Station cafe and gallery (378 High Street) is ideal for a nice night out. Further afield, popular Preston cafes include Pomona Coffee Roasters, Disco Beans and Jackson Dodds.

8. Jail time

You can do ghost tours of Pentridge Prison, former home to some of Melbourne’s most notorious prisoners. My father-in-law worked as a technician and I went in with him once. lanternghosttours.com

9. Right note

Singer Courtney Barnett’s popular hit Depreston is a play on Preston’s name. It’s about the frustrations of young people struggling to buy a first home. It makes you think about life, home and Preston.

10. Gain insights

The Islamic Museum of Australia gives insights into the history of Muslims in Australia and around the world through artworks and artefacts. One gallery explains the main facts of the religion. The striking building is near the Merri Creek Trail (15A Anderson Road, Thornbury)

Internal designs of the Islamic Museum of Australia
Customers wander through a fesh fruit and vegetable market
Front view of the Westgarth Theatre building