In one of the City of Whittlesea’s rapidly expanding suburbs, you’ll find a diverse community and an ever-increasing range of attractions.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the first European residents in this area were John Honniball Thomas and his family, who bought a large plot of land for market gardening. Later, German settlers came here and dairy farms proliferated, tempting Europeans from Italy, Macedonia and Greece. The diversity of the community remains today, making it an interesting place to live and visit.
Everyone in Thomastown (and plenty more who don’t live here) know Mick Samia. He’s turned a corner store into a gourmet destination. He started to stock a particular sweet that captured Melbourne’s imagination. At Mick’s Place, he began by stocking two donutellas (huge, fluffy donuts with Nutella filling). They were a hit and soon he was selling 4000 a day and has expanded his flavours — now you can get peanut butter and jam and Nutella and jam donuts.
Burn off the sugar high at NRG Force Live Action Play, where you can stun friends and family with your aim in a game of lasertag, put some coins through the arcade games or play 13 holes of mini golf. There’s a kids’ playground, too, if you’ve got some small folk along for the ride.
Those same kids will delight in the giant frog and waterslide in the fun pool at Thomastown Aquatic & Recreation Centre. There’s also a 25m indoor lap pool, toddler splashing area and hydrotherapy pool if you feel as though you need to soak your weary bones.
Casual Italian dining is on the menu at St Alexander’s Kitchen. Choose the pizza option then decide whether you’d prefer something traditional like napolitana or some type of gourmet topping — ever wanted meatballs on your slice or pumpkin and goats cheese. It’s available here. Expand your options in the family-friendly bistro of the Excelsior Hotel. Whether you’re a chicken parmigiana fan, fancy fish and chips or prefer a delicious slow-cooked lamb shank, you’ll find it on the menu. Kids’ meals are available and there’s an indoor play area if they want to muck about while you chat.
Go for a stroll along High Street to browse the stores, but make sure you don’t miss That’s Amore Cheese in Latitude Boulevard. Giorgio Linguanti moved to Melbourne from Sicily and, after working in a small shop specialising in regional Italian foods, his interest was sparked. After working in a couple of cheese factories he decided to start his own business and now makes a large range of fresh, hard and smoked cheeses. He moved to this larger facility in Thomastown that has a beautiful retail section, where you can try the cheeses and order simple, homemade traditional Italian dishes. Stock up on mouth-watering burrata, squacquarone, pecorino and other varieties.
Good with a stick? You should head for Q Room, a pool and billiard venue and bar, with 32 tables so you shouldn’t have to stand around waiting for your turn. Later in the evening, the music starts pumping as the venue turns into a nightclub.