Welcome to Essendon Airport, also known by its new name of Essendon Fields Airport. Opened in 1921, Essendon Airport has just celebrated a centenary of air travel and is one of the oldest operating airports in the world. Step out onto the tarmac and follow in the footsteps of the Beatles and Lyndon B. Johnson. Fun fact: home-grown songbird Kylie Minogue set her career in ‘Locomotion’ with her debut video being filmed here.
Essendon Airport is located in the north-western pocket of Melbourne, 13-kilometres from the heart of the city. This corporate-jet and general aviation aerodrome was Melbourne’s first international airport until it handed over the mantle to Tullamarine. The distance between the two airfields takes only six minutes on the Tullamarine Freeway, with Essendon Airport situated at the intersection of the ‘Tulla’ and Calder Freeways.
Before driving away in your hire car, aviation enthusiasts and aspiring pilots will be inspired to check out the Flight Deck Experience in Hangar 81. Learn to take off, fly and land an A320 Airbus in a realistic simulation over a 30-minute or one-hour session. Instructors are always patient and friendly – and the experience may be addictive for some! The historic Airways Museum is also recommended for buffs, showcasing a national collection of civil aviation artefacts and innovations, along with photographic displays. Visitors can geek out and learn about the importance of Australia’s role in global aviation expansion and development.
If you’re thinking of spreading your wings beyond Melbourne, Essendon Airport also offers some unique adventure flights that will live on in your memory. Hop aboard the Silver Dinner Clipper Flight and experience a scenic two-hour trip on an iconic Gooney Bird (DC3) from WWII. Sample a range of culinary bites as you swoop over the city and Port Phillip Bay. The Great Wagyu Adventure Charter will whisk you away to the vineyards of Coonawarra in South Australia. Indulge in a four-course lunch and a spot of wine-making at the award-winning Mayura Station and get the insider lowdown on a Wynn’s Estate tour. Who knew Essendon Airport could offer such easily digestible enticements!
Get to know the area around Essendon in your hire car
The nearby suburb of Essendon offers a little slice of magic to rival the inner-city, just eightkilometres from the CBD. For Australian Rules Football fans, the name Essendon is synonymous with ‘The Bombers’ – nickname of renowned premier league team, the Essendon Football Club. The club’s home ground for 70 years was Windy Hill, in the heart of the suburb, and is still used today for various sports, aquatics and recreation.
Essendon itself is a lovely historic suburb with beautiful contrasts – boasting stately period homes, lush residential blocks, and an exciting café culture that’s hard to beat anywhere in the city. Visitors will be impressed by a stylish blend of modern lifestyle and old-world elegance. Its population of over 20,000 keeps the local food scene vibrant, while a fusion of Indian, Greek and Italian-born residents maintains a lively urban mix. Famous Australians born in the area include crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, and The Seekers’ lead singer, Judith Durham.
Bordered by Moonee Ponds Creek to the east, pedestrians and cyclists can take the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail along the waterway right up to the city and Docklands; or reverse direction and head north towards Essendon Fields, snaking the Tulla, and eventually arriving at the Western Ring Road. For a gentler experience, visitors will delight in riverside strolls and views along the Maribyrnong. Take a picnic to Essendon’s leafy parks and green reserves and enjoy its wide tree-lined boulevards.
Discover Essendon and satiate your appetite for the good life with your hire car
The shopping is great around Essendon, with a range of retail to suit every taste. Head to Highpoint shopping centre or the mega DFO outlet when you’re looking for some major retail therapy. Fashionable boutiques and a wonderful array of smaller shops can be found along the shopping strips on Mt Alexander Road and Napier Street.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, stop in at Woodstock Pizzicheria, also on Napier, and order a Roman-style pizza with their signature Sicilian flavours. Buckley Street also has some firm favourites. St Martha’s is great all day, from coffee with breakfast to blueberry hotcakes for afternoon tea. If you’re with a group, one of the large tables at North and Eight will serve your needs well. Try the house treat, a choc hazelnut shake called the ‘Northella’ finished with a Nutella doughnut. And if you’re looking for something French to round out your Essendon food encounter, try the Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie in the suburb’s north. From citron tarte to the beloved croissant, be tantalised by the tastes from an experienced chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Essendon really does excel in exceeding expectations!