Park rental vehicle in yard and return keys to Rental Office on-site.
Welcome to Preston – a diverse and lively suburb in the heart of Melbourne’s north, only nine-kilometres from the Central Business District (CBD). A smooth network of arterial roads service and define its boundaries, making Preston an absolute breeze to navigate. What’s more, an accessible central location ensures that the northern suburbs and bustling inner Melbourne are equally easy to explore from downtown Preston.
What characterises Preston is its appealing mix of thriving businesses, period homes, lovely parks and playgrounds, great coffee and an abundance of eateries. Just up the road from its cooler twin cousins Northcote and Thornbury, the buzz has recently spilled over from south of Bell Street and continues to grow. Fabulous new spots to shop, eat, drink, meet friends or make business deals, seem to pop up daily, and this expanding vibrancy has allowed Preston to shine in its own right. With its flourishing cafes, hip little bars and boho boutiques, you may want to skip the more renowned end of town (and the parking hassles) and keep both the socialising and your retail fix purely local. But whether you’re in Preston for business or pleasure, your hire car will help elevate every aspect of your visit and make your stay a little more effortless.
Preston’s population of 32,000 locals live, work and play within the City of Darebin, a creative and vibrant region that’s constantly evolving. The influences that have shaped Preston combine to make for an interesting history and contribute to the multicultural fusion that you’ll find here today, with almost a third of its residents born overseas. Originally known as Jika Jika as well as Irishtown in the mid-1800s, Preston has three hotels that still survive from the gold rush era. From then, decades of post-war migration have brought waves of Macedonian and Vietnamese emigres, along with Greek, Italian, Sri Lankan, Chinese and Somali families.
The cultural landscape and Preston’s artistic scene reflects this varied mosaic. Notable residents include author and playwright Christos Tsiolkas, whose stories touch on the Greek-Australian experience. While artist Boris Cipusev hones in on the visual environment and takes inspiration from the signage and billboards he encounters along the commute between his home in Preston and studio in nearby Northcote. The National Gallery of Victoria recently acquired a series of these text-based artworks, showcased in Melbourne Now! – an art extravaganza of the most exciting new local creators.
Bordered to the east by Darebin Creek, Preston’s even terrain was once fertile farmland, attracting dairy farming and market gardens. Today, a much-loved mainstay of the community is the Preston Markets – a cornucopia of fresh produce plus stalls brimming with fashion, homewares, arty offerings and more – which has just celebrated its 50th birthday. Much more than a market, this Preston institution’s events and creative workshops are a regular attraction. The owners have also commissioned artists to create colourful large-scale murals at its entrances, which add to the delightful ambience. Opened by Polish migrants, Leon and Lola Jolson, Preston Markets embodies the true essence of this proud community, and welcomes all to this friendly, multicultural and creative hub. Have a wander and grab a coffee at Contraband Coffee Traders when you need that caffeine hit.
Preston is a hive of business opportunities and reasons to socialise. Keep your eye on the aptly named Plenty Road for fashion, food, roasted beans and brews, to cater for every taste. We recommend Shop Ramen for some tasty noodles and Boundary Espresso for a delish brunch. High Street – the main artery Preston shares with its inner-northern neighbours – is a vibrant retail and commercial district, with great cafes, pizzerias, and lots of retail. And for all-round convenience, you can’t go past the Northland Shopping Centre on Murray Road, a large mall that’s home to major department stores, boutiques, supermarkets, food courts, as well as Asian and Middle Eastern shops.
Before your visit is over, head to the Darebin Arts Centre – Preston’s premier performance venue – and see some indie theatre or innovative work created by a local community of dedicated artists. End the evening at Moon Dog World, with a brewery as backdrop and a bar full of fantastic surprises. A waterfall, beer garden, tiki bar, sun decks and 72 beers on tap. Bring a teetotaller buddy along for the ride and enjoy your relaxed farewell to Preston.