Canley Vale is bursting with life, colour, and lots of culture. Located on the traditional land of the Cabrogal clan, it is an area known for its vibrant food scene and strong ties to the South-East Asian community.
Spend a day walking around this exciting suburb and discover the things that make this small suburb so culturally and historically rich.
Canley Vale was first established as a suburb in the 1800s when Sir Henry Parkes built a mansion along the railway between Fairfield and Cabramatta for his second family. Over the years, as Western Sydney began to grow, Canley Vale has evolved from woodlands into a buzzing residential centre home to a strong migrant community. Yet, look closely and you’ll spot hints from the past.
You can begin your day at the newly updated Canley Vale station which is accessible for people of all abilities.
Once you’re out on the street, you’ll notice the colourful hand-painted mural at the station entrance facing Railway Parade. This beautiful artwork was painted by local artist Christina Huynh who was inspired by childhood memories of living in the area, her community, and the area’s history.
The mural is stunning from a distance but take a closer look and uncover the symbols and meaning behind the artwork. You’ll find an Indigenous canoe, Sir Henry Parkes’ poems, a Spaceship monument, the Ukrainian national flower, and nods to the area’s South-East Asian community.
Other art that lines the main street are the floral mosaics along Canley Vale Road. Touches like these add to the area’s already colourful façade and character.
Just down from the corner as you cross at the lights, you’ll find Café Thanh Xuan. We recommend trying a traditional Vietnamese coffee. This sweet drink is the perfect treat to get yourself going in the morning. It’s the caffeine hit you know you need!
Head along railway street to the Victorian period Westacott Cottage and step inside this historic 1886-built house. Home to an Arts and Craft Centre, the cottage is run by a lovely team of volunteers who will make you feel right at home. Pick up some made-with-love knitted toys, clothes, and blankets.
Next, head along Railway Street to the Orphan School Creek track. This is part of an over 10-kilometre path that follows the creek through the neighbouring suburbs. Although much has changed since the early days, you can almost imagine the area in the nineteenth century when it was part of a large Male Orphan School Estate which contained farmland, dormitories and official residences. On a sunny day, a stroll, bike ride or jog along the track is quite serene.
Follow the track underneath the train line towards Johnston Park. You’ll come to the front of the Kwan Yin Temple which is a colourful Buddhist Temple that looks out into the park – you surely won’t miss it.
Canley Vale has a high population of Buddhist people, with 35 per cent of its population Buddhist affiliated. As such, Kwan Yin Temple is a hub for community in the area and surrounds as worshippers pay their visits.
Named after the Buddhist goddess of compassion, this temple is an impressive place of worship and prayer. Visitors are welcome but must be appropriately attired and are asked to remove their shoes when entering the temple.
Next, head back towards Canley Vale Road. But this time, head over the railway at the station.
From the top of the station bridge, you can enjoy 365-degree views of Canley Vale. Take a moment to survey the area. You’ll notice several more Buddhist temples dotted around the area – revealing just how significant Canley Vale is to the Buddhist population of Sydney.
Head down the main street for lunch - Canley Vale Road. There are so many fantastic food options in Canley Vale that you’ll need to return time and time again.
We recommend the famous Hai Au Lang Nuong, an eclectic Vietnamese Restaurant that is completely one of a kind. They offer Vietnamese dishes from many different regions and have the décor to match! Try the share dishes, including Periwinkles, noodle soups, and hot pots.
We can also recommend heading to Cabravale Diggers Club to try District 8. With an impressive menu boasting dishes from across South-East Asia, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Try something from their Hongkong BBQ menu – you can never go past Roasted Crispy Cantonese Duck!
A day out in Canley Vale is a perfect time to explore the surprising history of this suburb and experience the South-East Asian culture that has found its home in the heart of Sydney’s West.
This article is proudly sponsored by Fairfield City Council