Scrublands: Is The Black Dog Motel Real?

In Sundance Now/AMC+’s thriller series ‘Scrublands,’ Martin Scarsden stays in The Black Dog Motel after he arrives in Riversend. As he digs deeper into the life and crimes of Father Byron Swift, a mass shooter, the motel room becomes his office and workspace. The motel’s operator, an old lady, welcomes the journalist back to her establishment warmly. The Black Dog Motel becomes the heart of Martin’s time in Riversend. As the first episode ends with his emotional encounter with Kelly Newkirk, who lost her husband and son within around a year, in the motel’s parking lot, the place is expected to leave a mark on the viewers’ minds!

The Black Dog: The Reel and Real Motels

The Black Dog is a fictional motel that exists only in the universe of ‘Scrublands.’ However, a real motel stands in for the fictional one in the thriller series. The scenes set in the establishment were shot in and around Gisborne Motel, located at 106 Sheedy Road in the town of Gisborne in Victoria, Australia. The place is located around ninety kilometers from Maldon, the show’s primary location and the region that principally doubles for Riversend. The motel is situated over fifty kilometers away from Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria.

Gisborne Motel is located at the heart of the namesake town. The establishment is only a five-minute drive away from the Gisborne Central shopping mall. The extensive parking lot we see in the series is open to guests for free. Since the motel is located at the gateway to the Macedon Ranges and Spa Country, the guests can take advantage of the stay in the place to explore Mount Macedon, fascinating craft markets, and wineries in the region. The establishment is only twenty minutes away from Hanging Rock. This distinctive geological formation serves as the setting of Joan Lindsay’s acclaimed novel ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ and Peter Weir’s legendary film adaptation of the literary work. Other attractions near the motel include Gisborne Botanic Gardens.

Image Credit: Angela Beer/Google

Ever since ‘Scrublands’ premiered on the Australian OTT platform Stan in November 2023, Gisborne Motel has become a local attraction. The guests have appreciated the staff’s friendly service and the establishment’s comfort and hygiene. It will not be a surprise if the warm motel operator character we see in the series is modeled after the real-life manager of the place, who is described as friendly and caring by several reviewers.

Read More: Riversend Church Massacre: Was Father Byron Swift a Real Mass Shooter?