WHY WE LOVE KNOX

Forget traipsing to the city – Knox has everything you could need, from cool cafes to first-class sporting facilities.

WHO needs the city when you have the impressive line-up of eateries, entertainment options and recreation and sporting facilities on offer in Knox?

From the Ozone dining precinct to more than 200 playgrounds, the municipality has something for all its 150,000-plus residents.

KR Peters agent Janine Scott-Rule is a proud Knox local.

“Of course I would recommend Knox as a place for people to come and live,” she says. “It’s a good area, there are lots of really good schools, lots of sporting facilities for whatever sport you’re into, cafes, restaurants.

“You don’t need to go into the city anymore – it is a city.”

Here are some top reasons we love Knox:

EAT AND DRINK

Knox Ozone at Westfield Knox shopping centre is a hive of activity just about any night and day of the week, but particularly on weekends when diners pack the precinct’s cafes, restaurants and bars.

With more than 20 destinations to choose from, you can start your morning with a caffeine hit at The Coffee Club before tucking into lunch or dinner with a burger at Carl’s Jr, a steak at Hog’s Breath Cafe, modern Mexican at Fonda or a schnitzel and beer at The Bavarian.

The Knox Club in Wantirna is another popular venue, offering a bistro, café and sports bar. There’s also live music, quiz nights and karaoke.

Or if you’re looking for a touch of fantasy with your food, head to The Hatter & The Hare in Bayswater for an Alice in Wonderland-inspired brekkie, lunch, high tea – or cake.

PLAY

With the Dandenongs on the doorstep, a plethora of parks and a wealth of sporting facilities, leafy Knox is perfect for families who love an active lifestyle.

Knox has more than 100km of shared paths, connecting major parks, reserves, schools and shopping centres. These trails are perfect for a walk, jog or bike ride.

To really get the heart pumping, head to the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk – better known as the 1000 Steps. It’s just over the Knox border but still hugely popular with health conscious locals. In fact, it’s an institution for fitness enthusiasts from all over Melbourne.

Built in the early 1900s, the 3km track starts in the Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground and rises up through the tree ferns and towering manna gums of the Dandenong Ranges, with plaques along the way commemorating soldiers who fought and died on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea in World War II.

Youngsters can get their thrills at more than 200 playgrounds across Knox, including Talaskia Reserve in Upper Ferntree Gully and Tim Neville Arboretum in Ferntree Gully.

A multi-sports area is the star of the show at Talaskia Reserve, where a scooter and bike track, a junior tennis court and a basketball court sit next to a little playground and a football oval.

A fenced-off adventure playground, featuring a flying fox and triple slide, provides fun for kids at the 4.4ha Tim Neville Arboretum, which also includes two lakes and barbecue and picnic facilities.

For those looking for an organised activity, Knox has more than 240 sporting clubs, groups and organisations. They are involved in 35 different sports and leisure activities, from angling and athletics to soccer and softball.

The Knox Regional Sports Park in Wantirna South is the jewel in the crown. Opened in 2012, the 27ha site is home to the State Basketball Centre and Knox Regional Football Centre.

The indoor basketball centre features six courts, with capacity to seat 3200 people in the show court, while the soccer facilities include a full-sized, flood-lit synthetic pitch, nine smaller pitches for Football Fives matches and a pavilion.

SHOP

Westfield Knox is the region’s shiny retail mecca. It includes big name department stores Myer, Kmart and Target, two Coles supermarkets, a fresh food hub, a Rebel sports store, an array of smaller and boutique outlets, and services from banks and a post office to doctors and optometrists.

A food court within the centre complements Knox Ozone on the outside, where you’ll also find Village Cinemas to catch the latest blockbuster movie.

To bag a bargain, check out Caribbean Gardens and Market in Scoresby on Wednesdays and Sundays. There are 1200 stall holders inside the market pavilion, plus 150 outside, selling everything from fresh produce, shoes and clothes to homewares, toys and tools.

The gardens, which opened in 1965 with a handful of traders and water ski shows on the lake, also has a cafe, plus train, jungle cruise and chairlift rides for the kids from 11am on Sundays.

Another Knox institution is the Big Watermelon fruit and vegetable market in Wantirna South.

It’s as famous for its giant watermelon sign out front as it is for the fresh goodies it sells inside. It’s open from 7am-7pm seven days a week.