Remember those wonderful holidays when the whole extended family got together?
Remember sitting by a campfire on a chilly night toasting marshmallows listening to stories from Grandad and Grandma, or enjoying carefree mornings at a nearby playground or heading off with eskies and deck chairs for a long picnic lunch under shady trees? Relaxing with the family and making fun-filled holiday memories to last a lifetime is what BIG4 Castlemaine is all about.
There's so much here to see and do for everyone: mum, dad, grandparents, the kids, family friends. You'll find exactly the right balance of activities for all ages: there's fun in the great outdoors, history to explore, arts and culture, and great food and wine.
We also have plenty of room for all the family and accommodation options to suit everyone, from luxury self-contained Villas and Safari Tents, to comfortable Cabins and a full range of powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites.
So plan a holiday with the whole extended family at BIG4 Castlemaine! You'll find plenty of detail on things to do and places to go on our website but here's a few of very favourite family activities.
Let's face it, everyone loves a steam train! The Victorian Goldfields Railway Steam Train runs between Castlemaine and Maldon on Wednesdays and Sundays and it's just the most wonderful way to view the local landscape, count the kangaroos, and visit historic Maldon. The train departs Castlemaine at 11.30 am and leaves you in Maldon for 2.5 hours before returning to Castlemaine at 2.30 pm. That's just the right amount of time to enjoy Maldon's historic streetscapes, have lunch on one of the old family-friendly pubs and visit the famous lolly shop! Victorian Goldfields Railway also offers special event train running on many Saturdays, as well as a Saturday schedule during school holidays. BIG4 members book through us for a 10 per cent discount.
If you stay with us, you have the beautiful Castlemaine Botanical Gardens right next door. The gardens are famous for their established native and exotic trees, many of which are classified on the National Trust's Register of Significant Trees, including an English Oak planted in 1863 and named Victoria's Tree of the Year in 2021. There's also a beautiful ornamental lake, garden beds, and walking and cycling paths. The kids will love spotting the ducks and playing in the award-winning playground which features a miners' cubby hut, play train, swings and slides and bronze sculptures. There are picnic tables, shelter and barbecues for the whole family to enjoy.
The Castlemaine Art Museum has a unique and noted collection of Australia art that is well worth a family viewing. It also has around 4000 historical artefacts in its museum collection which detail the commercial and social life of the goldfields region and Castlemaine, and the Jaara people of the Dja Dja Wurrung, the custodians of the land and waters on which we live and work. The social history collection includes furniture, costumes, textiles, tools, ceramics, natural history specimens and goldrush artefacts, to name just a few, and provides an intriguing and fascinating social history lesson for all ages.
More history lessons! Take the family to the lovely Buda House, an authentic goldfields villa and gardens in Castlemaine. Named after Budapest by its Hungarian owner Ernest Leviny, it was home to the artistic Leviny family for 118 years, from 1863 to 1981, when it was opened to the public. Glimpse how life was lived all that time ago: there are original furnishings, domestic items, artworks and books, and personal effects including clothing, documents and photographs. There is also 1.2 hectares of gardens, a near-perfect example of a late nineteenth century suburban garden maintained for decades by the family and ideal today for a game of hide and seek or a picnic. You can bring your own picnic lunch, or for a truly memorable family holiday experience let us arrange a gourmet hamper of local seasonal delights. We'll not only provide you with a gorgeous straw basket packed with delicious food, but you'll also enjoy cutlery, a thermos of tea or coffee, and even a picnic rug! All the picnic bells and whistles and the family will love it!
Recreate those wonderful family picnics you enjoyed as a kid in Central Victoria's great outdoors. As well as the Botanical Gardens and Buda House, there are numerous magical picnic spots around Castlemaine, ranging from granite outcrops in a national park to gentle bushlands by a reservoir popular for swimming and canoeing. Load up the eskies with sensational local produce from the food outlets at The Mill across the road from BIG4 Castlemaine and head off to one of our favourite places: the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, Mt Alexander Regional Park, Vaughan Springs or the Exhibition Pass Reservoir.
Take the family to see a movie at the oldest continuously running theatre on the Australian mainland. Castlemaine's iconic Theatre Royal has been an entertainment venue since 1854 when it provided live entertainment for the thousands of diggers who came to Central Victoria in search of gold. In 1919 it was one of the first "picture palaces" to screen silent movies and then talkies followed. There's always a good selection of movies to choose from, including school holiday blockbusters, and in the late afternoons and evenings the theatre is also a very popular pizza restaurant, beer garden and bar. Always a fun place to be!