BIG4 Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park
Castlemaine, VIC

Fabulous Food and Wine

Your Food and Wine Holiday Feasting Starts Here!

For lovers of fine food and wine, Castlemaine and the Central Victoria region are a delight. There are a dozen or so excellent boutique wineries within a 30 minute drive of town, several noted breweries and cideries, a busy farmers' market happening somewhere most weekends, numerous outlets offering gourmet produce, often locally sourced and handcrafted, and, of course, a huge array of cafes, country pubs and fine dining restaurants.  If your idea of a holiday involves exploring and enjoying fresh organic produce and innovative, creative dining options accompanied by a glass or two of something special, then Castlemaine is the ideal base for you.
The hospitality scene in and around Castlemaine is busy, vibrant and often changing. A few cafes offer dinner options on the weekend, some wineries are offering tasting plates once again, and several cafes and produce stores will provide gorgeous picnic hampers.  We encourage guests to plan ahead, checking who is offering what and when, and making reservations as required by venues to avoid disappointment.
If you're staying with us, you'll receive on booking a detailed list of current food and wine destinations, and suggestions to enhance your holiday experience.  In the meantime, to help get you started, we've listed a few below.

 

Cafes

Well, where to start! If you're after a hearty country breakfast, elegant brunch or delicious lunch featuring local produce you'll be spoilt for choice.  In Castlemaine itself we always enjoy a visit to Saffs Cafe, Run Rabbit Run, Bruce's Kitchen, Togs Cafe, Fig, Saint Florian and Cream Town.  All are located in the main town centre area and all offer good food, good coffee and a good atmosphere. For something special very close to BIG4 Castlemaine there's the spectacular Viennese-themed Das Kaffeehaus across the road at The Mill complex.
If you're out and about exploring, you'll find friendly cafes in nearby towns: The Harcourt Produce and General Store and the Goldfields Track Cafe in Harcourt are excellent; Maldon's Main Street offers a choice of traditional cafes and French fare is on offer at Le Sel; and in Newstead the Dig Cafe is a local favourite.

Country Pubs

What's a trip to the country without a hearty pub meal, preferably in front of an open fire in winter or in a beer garden in summer! Once again, you'll be spoilt for choice.  Just across the road from BIG4 Castlemaine is the family-friendly Bridge Hotel, with a spacious beer garden and upmarket pub food featuring local produce and often live music. A few blocks closer to town there's the Railway Hotel, much loved by locals and serving up traditional seasonal pub fare plus a daily curry special. A few minutes' drive from Castlemaine you'll find the historic Red Hill Hotel at Chewton and the Five Flags Hotel at Campbells Creek. The Kangaroo Hotel in Maldon, open in various incarnations for over 150 years, is also popular.

Restaurants

Not a pub and a bit more (or much more) than a cafe: here are some further suggestions for lunch and dinner. In Castlemaine, head to Taste of the Orient for highly rated yum cha or cross the road to the Phamily Kitchen for excellent Vietnamese food. For a family pizza night enjoy wood-fired pizzas from Bella Fresca Pizza or order takeaway to bring back to the park. For something special head to Castlemaine's iconic Theatre Royal. Built in 1855, it's the longest continuously running theatre on mainland Australia. Even better, it serves gourmet pizzas, Italian desserts and excellent cocktails, and local beers and wines. Across the road from BIGG4 Castlemaine, there's Shedshaker Brewing and the Taproom at The Mill, serving great craft beers, freshly made pizza and locally procured cheeses and share plates. The Royal Sultan Restaurant and Tandoori Cuizine, both in town, serve up Indian food and offer take-away.

Fine Dining

Wild restaurant, located in an historic fire hall in Castlemaine, serves excellent wines and dishes based on the best seasonal offerings from the region's farmers and producers. Bar Midland, in Castlemaine's historic Midland Hotel, is an intimate bar and dining space that celebrates and showcases the best indigenous foods from organic and biodynamic regional producers. Bookings for both are essential and should be made well in advance. In Maldon the new Table et Terroir is winning acclaim for its sumptuous French-themed menu and Kyneton and Bendigo, both within 40 minutes' drive of Castlemaine, also offer a number of fine dining destinations.

Markets

Castlemaine's Farmers' Market is held on the first Sunday of the month in the car park behind the historic Market Building and Visitor Information Centre in the heart of town. On the same day you'll also find a large and popular Artists' Market featuring some of the best art and design talent in the region alongside some great food stalls. There's also a smaller weekly Farmers' Market every Wednesday  afternoon at the Western reserve in Forest Street. On Saturday mornings locals head to the Wesley Hill Community Market at Chewton for fruit and veg, breads, coffee, plants and an eclectic range of bric-a-brac.
Maldon holds its monthly Farmers' Market on the second Sunday of the month at Francis Street in town. On the third Sunday of the month it can be well worth heading to the small town of Talbot, a 40 minute picturesque drive from Castlemaine, to visit the Talbot Farmers' Market.  There's also the Bendigo Farmers' Market on the second Saturday of the month at the Bendigo Pony Club in Golden Square.
The Victorian Farmers Market Association website has great information about the monthly accredited farmers markets happening around the state each month - you can be sure there'll be a  market happening somewhere in the Central Victorian region every  weekend!

Wineries

Whether you just want a bottle of something special to enjoy over a dinner back at BIG4 Castlemaine or you want to add some serious reds to your collection, exploring the wineries around Castlemaine is a delight.
And there are certainly plenty to choose from! Some of our favourites include Harcourt Valley Vineyards, the oldest vineyard in the area with a five-star rating from James Halliday, Blackjack Vineyards, famous for some delicious reds, Sutton Grange Winery, Mt Alexander Winery, Limestone Track Vineyard, Guildford Vineyard, Bress Winery, Welshmans Reef Vineyard and Chappel's Cairn Curran Estate. It is worth checking hours for cellar door openings and tastings before heading out, as these details can change.
If you want to stay close to town, Boomtown Wines, a winemaking space at The Mill Complex across the road from BIG4 Castlemaine, has excellent wines available for tasting and on sale and is open Friday evenings and through the weekend. Castlemaine Central Wine Store on Lyttleton Street in town has a great selection of local wines and is open Monday through Saturday.

Beers and Ciders

Enjoy seriously good small-batch handcrafted beers and ales at Shedshaker at The Mill Complex, or bring some back to the park to enjoy over a meal.  Also look out for beers from locally-based Love Shack Brewing, available at Theatre Royal and a rapidly growing number of venues and bottle shops.
The Castlemaine area is also known for its premium ciders, due to the exceptional apples and pears that have been grown at Harcourt for more than 150 years.  Visit Harcourt Perry and Cider Makers and Henry of Harcourt and treat yourself to some special beverages.  

Local Produce: Eat In or Picnic!

There is so much good food to choose from and try! You can plan a romantic dinner for two or cook up a storm for friends and family, all with gourmet produce purchased within a few minutes' walk from BIG4 Castlemaine. At the Mill Complex across the road you'll find outstanding hams, sausages, terrines, bacon, meats and smoked salmon and trout at Oakwood Smallgoods; Sprout Bakery selling artisan sourdough breads and often a special sweet treat or two; organic cow's milk cheeses and dairy products from Long Paddock; fruit, veg and eggs from Harvest Thursday afternoons to Saturday; handmade chocolates for dessert from Cabosse and Feve; and locally roasted coffee from Das Kaffeehaus, along with European pastries and sweets. Now that's a few meals sorted!  

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