It’s a popular spot for movies to be shot — Mad Max, Harvie Krumpet and, of course, Spotswood all featured the suburb — but there’s lots to enjoy off the set.
It’s long been a popular day trip for school kids or anyone looking after youngsters during the school holidays. Why? Well, Spotswood is home to the huge, interactive museum called Scienceworks. It’s the sort of place where all ages can have fun while they learn something about the universe we live in, how cities work and the practical science involved in things like solar energy. On the site, you’ll also find the planetarium, which simulates the night sky regardless of the time of day, and the Lightning Room. Here, during a 30-minute presentation, you’ll see a giant Tesla coil create bolts of lightning up to three metres high.
Even if you’re not still learning about how the world works, there’s plenty to fill a day in this bayside suburb. It has some of the best cafes in Melbourne. Stock up on sweet things at Candied Bakery, an Aussie bakery with an American twist. Everyone loves the apple pie shakes, Nutella croissants and jelly donuts. Take a seat at light and airy The Duchess of Spotswood for morning sustenance. The signature dish is the Duchess of Pork, which consists of crispy pork jowl served with cauliflower two ways, a smoked pork and gruyere croquette, fried egg, black truffle and sourdough toast. Believe us when we say you won’t feel hungry afterwards.
To work off a little of that food, download Museum Victoria’s new Spotswood Industrial Heritage walking tour. Stick in your headphones and go for a wander, taking in the places where stubbies were made for Carlton United Brewery and the plough that was turned into Ned Kelly’s breastplate was manufactured. There are 37 stops in all and the entire tour should take about two hours. You’ll also see the Spotswood Pumping Station. Now part of Scienceworks, you can take a guided tour (Monday to Friday at 11.30am; Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1pm) that shows how the machines here turned ‘Smellbourne’ back into Melbourne. At other times, the station is open to explore.
If shopping is more your style, head to Hudsons Road. Along this stretch you’ll find plenty of independent retailers, including hat shop Desert Oak Trading, kids’ clothing store A Young World, and Satelight Design, which is one of Melbourne’s leading suppliers of designer lighting. There’s also Mabel and Woods, a women’s fashion store that prides itself on stocking unique designs at affordable prices.
Ready to kick back with a beer? The Spottiswoode Hotel has a lovely heritage vibe — there are fireplaces inside and out for when the weather turns — and is one of the best spots in the area to relax over a drink with friends and enjoy delicious dishes from the grill. If you want to support local products, get down to Two Birds Brewing. Four days a week (Thursday to Sunday), the tasting room, known as the Nest, is open. Try the beers produced by Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen, order some excellent food and admire the view of the tanks where the bevvies are made. You can even grab a growler and take home some golden ale or the hoppy beer with notes of corn, coriander and lime called Taco.