Hit the road and get away from it all during your Goldfields holiday. Travel along meandering roads that pass through bush, ancient forests and farming land as well as historic villages, and wind their way up to spectacular views on granite strewn hilltops.
We’ve listed here just a few of our favourite destinations to take in on a day trip or two, to help you explore and discover some of the hidden delights around the area. Most are well within an hour of BIG4 Castlemaine but of course the journey all depends on how many little detours you decide to take and how many wineries you decide to stop at!
The Old Glenlyon General Store
Taking in Castlemaine Diggings National Park, Daylesford, Hepburn Springs and more.
It’s a picturesque drive from Castlemaine to the Old Glenlyon General Store. Take the Campbells Creek, Fryers Road and Green Gully Road route and you’ll travel via historic Fryerstown, and Irishtown and the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. Maps and information are available online and via the Castlemaine Visitors’ Centre and it’s certainly an area worth exploring. Stop along the way to admire the Fryerstown township, the mining relics in the bushland and the views of the rolling hills. End up at the Old Glenlyon General Story for a delicious, seasonal country lunch and perhaps a glass of local wine.
Head back to Castlemaine via Daylesford, Hepburn Springs and historic Shepherds Flat (home to an important part of Aussie cricket history!). Be sure to enjoy a stroll down Daylesford’s main Vincent Street for a spot of boutique shopping and perhaps pick up some local food and wine to bring back to Castlemaine for dinner. The views from the Daylesford’s Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, a few blocks from the town centre, are well worth a short detour (and an Insta-worthy snap).
Mount Tarrengower Lookout
Taking in Maldon, Baringhup, Cairn Curran Reservoir and Newstead.
This is a stunning lookout with panoramic views across the region surrounding the historic township of Maldon, just 15 minutes from Castlemaine. The Poppet-head tower was opened in 1924 and the first two platforms are open to the public and the highest third platform is used for fire-spotting during the summer months. At the first platform there’s an informative direction board pointing out the notable landmarks that are visible, including Mt Macedon, Mt Alexander, Mt Franklin and the Grampians National Park. The site has a picnic table, carparking and offers a leisurely one-hour bushwalk that takes in in several old mining relics.
Head back to heritage-listed Maldon (proclaimed Australia’s first notable town by the National Trust in 1966. Enjoy the stunning streetscapes and architecture, browse for antiques and collectibles and sample seasonal produce and epicurean delights in many quality cafes and historic country pubs. You can also head to the tiny community of Baringhup on the Loddon River, just 10 minutes from Maldon. The nearby Cairn Curran Reservoir is a favourite for fishing, swimming, picnicking and BBQs.
Head back to Castlemaine through the flourishing township of Newstead, also on the Loddon River. There’s a general store, a couple of pubs, a café, a great community art hub, a butcher famous for unique local Bull Boar sausages, and more.
Taking in Malmsbury, Kyneton and Harcourt
Feel like a scenic and relaxing place for a picnic? Fancy your luck throwing in a line for some redfin or trout or just want to do some birdwatching? Head to Lauriston Reservoir, just 35 minutes from Castlemaine. Known as a lovely place for a day out, there are picnic tables, BBQ facilities, toilets, a children’s playground and plenty of walking tracks.
Take the scenic route to Lauriston via the Chewton bushlands to the old Calder Highway at Elphinstone and continue on to the charming historic bluestone village of Malmsbury. Stop to admire the beautiful Botanical Gardens and enjoy a coffee at the famous Malmsbury Bakery where you can pick up some treats for your reservoir picnic.
When it’s time to head back to Castlemaine, return via Kyneton and its renowned Piper Street foodie precinct. Enjoy another coffee or a glass of fine wine, browse outstanding boutiques, and pick up some gourmet foods for dinner from the Piper Street Food Company. Take the Calder Freeway and the Harcourt turn-off to reach Castlemaine, stopping to explore Harcourt’s wineries, cideries, orchards and the beautiful Mt Alexander National Park.