Get us in your inbox

Chicken at Sunshine Social BBQ
Photograph: Graham Denholm

A local's guide to Sunshine

Explore the many restaurants, cafés and things to do in Sunshine with this detailed guide

Written by
Rushani Epa

Everyone knows Sunshine is a vibrant melting pot of cultures. The suburb calls itself home to people from many different backgrounds including Malta, Italy, Greece, former Yugoslavia and Poland. Following the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese refugees settled in Sunshine which heralded an influx of small businesses including eateries opening up throughout the suburb. Following this, immigrants from South Sudan, Afghanistan, Burma and India started to call Sunshine home. The suburb is mainly residential, but there's still plenty to do if you find yourself in this corner of Melbourne.

What’s Sunshine known for?

Aside from being a multicultural hub, maybe people head to Sunshine for the Village Cinemas and Gold Class. Plus, it also receives a lot of visitors looking to do their Drive Test at the local VicRoads. 

How do I get to Sunshine?

Catch the train to Sunshine Station along the Sunbury line, or drive in via Kensington and Footscray.

What’s nearby?

Highpoint Shopping Centre lies just over six kilometres away in Maribyrnong, and Footscray is close by with its bars and restaurants.

Map of Sunshine

If you only do one thing … 
Walk along Hampshire Road and do your grocery shopping at all the different store including Asian grocers that line it, or grab a bite to eat.

The best things to do in Sunshine


There’s a large Vietnamese community in Sunshine, and with that comes a variety of exciting Vietnamese restaurants and food. Lan Anh Bakery (195 Hampshire Rd) is just one of them, and it’s known for its banh mi. This isn’t purely a grab-and-go spot, but a destination where you can take a seat as you inspect the goings-on of Sunshine. Grab a fresh sugar cane juice and a roast pork belly roll (our hot tip) or opt for other usual protein-laden suspects like grilled chicken with all the trimmings.  

Sunshine Social (64 Glengala Rd), located in a former service station, serves up a canny mix of smoked meats, fat chips and a fridge full of craft beer. Don't miss the dessert either, which has you choosing from hot Belgian waffles with your choice of topping (our pick is the candied sour cherries). There's also a beer garden for the kids to run wild in.

If you’re more in the mood for a piping hot bowl of phở, head to Phở Hièn Saigon (3/284 Hampshire Rd). The menu is limited but it becomes very obvious you should really go for the soupy star of the show. There's the option to try a "baby" sized soup, crisp spring rolls loaded with prawn, pork, or vegetarian if you swing that way, as well as noodle soups showing off sliced chicken, beef or offal and bún chả vermicelli noodles topped with things like sugar cane prawn or grilled pork with pickled carrot and spring onion.

Try out Persian brunch foods at social enterprise café, Café Sunshine and Salamatea House (21 Dickson St). The café is co-owned by chef Hamed Allahyari who escaped Iran by boat in 2012 and arrived in Australia as a refugee. He made it his mission to provide employment opportunities and support to refugees and asylum seekers, and this is what he does at his venue now. Order omelette dotted with feta, Persian-style bliss balls loaded with spiced dates and nuts, different dips like creamy hummus and herbed labne and more. 

Sunshine also has you covered on the dessert front with its very own Dairy Bell store (T45/328 Hampshire Rd, Sunshine). It's a longstanding ice creamery brings back a lot of nostalgia for those who grew up in the '80s and earlier.  The venue dishes up moorish, creamy scoops of ice cream in flavours like Mars Bar, Cherry Ripe and classics like hazelnut or zesty, fruity sorbet. Get a takeaway tub that you can enjoy at home or doughnuts and kitschy banana splits. 

↑ Back to top


Open from breakfast to dinner, Gojo Café and Restaurant (10 Clarke St) offers Ethiopian dishes including everything from foul (beans cooked in Ethiopian butter, onion, egg, tomato, chilli and a sprinkling of housemade cheese served with fresh bread) to awaze tibs (boneless cubes of lamb fried with spices, onion and pepper, served with spongy injera). Aside from the rich Ethiopian feasts, it also prides itself on selling Ethiopian coffee sourced from Sidama in northern Ethiopia, along with fresh juice and baked breakfast goods.

If you’re in the market for fresh juice, you’ve come to the right place. You name it, Flora Juice (2/24 Devonshire Rd) probably juices it. Branch out from your usual choice and try falsa juice (a type of berry that's similar to a blueberry), hawaj bastani (a Persian carrot juice) or opt for an avocado or date milkshake. If you're seeking something colder, the venue stocks ice cream in fun flavours like baklava or even faluda. Faluda is a bubblegum pink-coloured drink made with rose syrup, sweet basil seeds, milk and at times, ice cream, and here you can find both the beverage and the icy treat.

↑ Back to top


Things to do

Village Cinemas has a branch in Sunshine Plaza (80 Harvester Rd). Stepping foot in it feels like you've time travelled back to the '80s. Pops of aquamarine and purple adorn the walls and ceiling, the once-burgundy carpet is heavily worn and faded, retro arcade games can be found at the entrance and the theatres are large and spacious. To top it all off there’s an old-school McDonald’s opposite the cinema – the type that still houses McDonaldland characters including the questionable purple blob, Grimace. 

If you’re looking to get out in nature or wanting to find a picnic spot, wander on over to the H.V. McKay Memorial Gardens (120C Anderson Rd). The lush heritage-listed gardens are the earliest example of an industrial garden in Victoria and the only heritage listed garden in the Brimbank council. The gardens were established in 1909 and stand as a key reminder of Sunshine’s earlier years. 

↑ Back to top

Explore more of Melbourne's suburbs

    You may also like
    You may also like