So, you've planned an escape, just the two of you. Perhaps you've booked our Glamtainer or a Safari Tent for your romantic retreat? Or you're just hooking up the van or packing the camping gear and heading our way for a quiet few days away from it all? Whatever accommodation you've booked, BIG4 Castlemaine is the perfect base for exploring all that Castlemaine and the surrounding area has to offer. With Castlemaine's beautiful Botanical Gardens as our neighbour, and trees and bushlands all around, you're sure to enjoy that magical time out together you both need.
Moet champagne and a cheese platter, perhaps? Or a gourmet picnic hamper featuring local produce and specialties to enjoy on your deck or take to one of many beautiful locations around Castlemaine? You'll find these options in your booking information or call us and we'll make the arrangements for you.
Castlemaine has a wide selection of cafes tucked away serving delicious food and great coffee. Check out Saint Florian next to the old fire station, Fig Café French patisserie open weekdays, Dove Café housed in an old milk bar or the iconic Saffs Café with its brightly painted mural on the wall. Five Flags Merchants Café & Store or Harcourt General Store are both a short drive from town and sell homemade produce as well. We provide details of these and many more options in our Dining Guide included with your arrival information.
The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens next door, Mt Alexander Regional Park, Vaughan Springs and the Exhibition Pass Reservoir: these are just some of the places where you'll find a secluded, shady picnic spot, often with magnificent views across the Central Victorian landscape. Let us organise a gourmet picnic hamper for you featuring local produce and homemade specialties including a thermos of tea or coffee, all presented in a beautiful picnic basket along with a picnic rug and crockery. You could also source your own goodies including cheese, cold cuts and other treats from Mulberry's Delicatessen in town, or browse the fabulous gourmet outlets at The Mill Complex across the road from BIG4 Castlemaine, where you'll find an artisan bakery, cheesemaker, smallgoods, a chocolatier and a shop selling homemade ice-cream. At Johnny Baker on Barker Street you can pick up mouthwatering French pastries, desserts, pies, sausage rolls, quiches and baguettes. Pair your picnic with a bike ride or bushwalk and enjoy the rugged and beautiful landscapes of the goldfields. Bikes can be hired from The Bike Vault in town.
There's nothing better than an hour or two in a traditional old country pub with a hand-crafted beer and perhaps some live music happening. While away an afternoon or evening at Castlemaine's famous Theatre Royal in the heart of town where you can dine on exceptionally good wood-fired pizza or sit back in the courtyard with a craft beer from Love Shack Brewery. Five minutes out of town in Chewton you'll find the delightful historic Red Hill Hotel with its ivy-covered veranda. Closer to home we have the Bridge Hotel or the Taproom, both across the road from BIG4 Castlemaine and both offering great beer gardens, food and live music.
The historic town of Maldon, with its beautiful heritage streetscapes, is just 15 minutes drive away or arrive in style with a seat in the first-class carriage on the magnificent Victorian Goldfields Railway steam train. The train run return trips to and from Castlemaine every Wednesday and Sunday and on some Saturdays. Enjoy the splendid views of the local landscape and treat yourself to a delicious lunch in Maldon before the return journey: Table et Terroir and Le Sel are two of our favourites and offer excellent French dishes.
Visit the beautiful towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs only 25 minutes away. Enjoy traditional mineral bathing, a mud bath or massage at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa and then head into Daylesford for a romantic lunch or a picnic by the lake. Drive up to Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens or wander through the Convent gallery and every Sunday there is a market held at the Daylesford Railway Station.
Take a tour of the many wineries surrounding us via Guildford, Sutton Grange or Harcourt. Enjoy a long lunch and beautiful views in a scenic drive through the countryside. Visit the Cascades, Turpin’s Falls, Vaughan Springs or Expedition Pass Reservoir for a swim on your way home. You may see plenty of farm gates along the way to pick up fresh produce or drop into Harcourt General Store & Produce for an extensive range of fresh and homemade produce, delicious food and local wine, where you can also enjoy a coffee or delicious lunch on the verandah.
For fine dining, Castlemaine offers the very special and innovative Bar Midland, located in the historic Midland Hotel, and Wild, an excellent restaurant and wine bar with a fantastic selection of local wine located in an old fire hall. Do note that both are very popular and it is helpful to make advance bookings - in fact, Bar Midland requires bookings one full month in advance. For a quiet drink visit Fermentus, a small bar and shop offering carefully curated wines and beers. The city of Bendigo, just 40 minutes from Castlemaine and a UNESCO designated creative city of gastronomy, also offers some excellent options for a long lunch. Take the train (just 25 minutes from Castlemaine) and let yourself enjoy an extra glass of wine.
If you prefer to stay in and enjoy the view from your deck, the Central Victorian region is famous for its very fine wines and handcrafted beers and ciders. Select something special from one of the beautiful local wineries, breweries or specialist wine stores and order a takeaway meal to enjoy in the privacy and peace of your room. We will provide you with a dining guide with your booking details with a variety of options.
Of course, no-one needs an excuse to indulge in handcrafted chocolates. Be sure to pay a visit to Cabosse & Feve Chocolates at The Mill, across the road from BIG4 Castlemaine. It's a family run artisan chocolate shop that handcrafts delicious luxury handmade chocolates using ethically sourced ingredients and practices.