Castlemaine and Central Victoria are beautiful in spring. The days are perfect for long bushwalks, bike rides and lazy picnics, and the evenings are still cool enough to enjoy a campfire and a hearty barbecue or a warming country-style dinner at a local pub. There are wildflowers and wattle throughout the bush, ducklings to watch at the Botanical Gardens, wonderful spring produce to enjoy from the region’s farmers’ markets or at our cafes and restaurants, great live music happening at pubs and beer gardens, a range of galleries and museums to wander through, magnificent spring gardens to admire, boutiques to browse at and so, so much more!
Book in a spring getaway with us and treat yourself to a few days fun and play in the open air, or simply enjoy some quiet time in the spring sunshine after a long winter. To help you get the ball rolling, here are some of the spring things we love the most.
Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. The magnificent and historic 23-hectare Castlemaine Botanical Gardens and Bushland Reserve is right next door to us. Beautiful at any time of year, it’s especially lovely in the spring. Enjoy walking and cycling, admire the birdlife and the colourful spring garden beds, and let the kids loose in a creative, award-winning play space. For a simple and memorable day out, take along a lunch of local gourmet treats, sit at one of the many picnic tables or under a tree, and just enjoy.
The Mill. This huge, bustling foodie and artisan complex situated in a re-purposed 1860s woollen mill is across the road from BIG4 Castlemaine and the Botanical Gardens. It’s your go-to for picnic lunches (artisan small goods and hand-crafted cheeses, for example), for great coffee, wines and beers, for gourmet treats including hand-made chocolates and ice cream, and for some vintage shopping, arts and crafts thrown in for good measure. There’s also a great Viennese-themed coffee house, Boomtown Social & Winery, and the wonderful Shedshaker Brewery for good food, drinks, music and events.
Theatre Royal. This iconic theatre was built in 1855 and is the longest continuously running theatre on mainland Australia. Today it’s still the place to catch a movie, but it also puts on great live music from near and far and offers excellent wines, beers and a bite to eat.
Mt Alexander Regional Park. Located in North Harcourt, just a 10-minute drive from BIG4 Castlemaine, this 1400-hectare park has stunning lookouts including the popular Dogs Rocks (fantastic rock-climbing for the kids!), great walking tracks, and a picnic area. It's a great place to spot wildlife including Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Black Wallabies and a range of birdlife.
Maldon. Head to this historic town, classified with the National Trust, just 15 minutes from Castlemaine and continue the outdoor, fresh-air adventures with the two-kilometre Anzac Hill walk and the Mt Tarrengower lookout, both delivering splendid scenery and views. Be sure to explore Maldon as well - there are heritage-listed streetscapes dating back to the goldrush and great cafes and pubs.
Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM). This gallery and museum on Lyttleton Street in the heart of Castlemaine is well worth a visit for an hour or two to have a look at the range of art and artefacts reflecting the history and social life of Castlemaine and the surrounding region
Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings, Chewton. This is an ideal starting point for exploring the history of Castlemaine's vast Central Goldfields. A 400-metre tracks circles around an historic alluvial goldfield and detailed signboards along the way provide fascinating facts and information about the ancient Forest Creek river bed, the gold rush of the 1850's and 1860's, and the remnants and relics of the structures and equipment left behind.
Castlemaine Maldon Trail. This 17.7-kilometre walking and cycling track runs alongside the historic Victorian Goldfields Railway and across scenic farm and bush lands and historic sites. It's certainly a different way of getting to Maldon! There are plenty of resting places along the way and you can arrange to return to Castlemaine on the steam train,
Steam Train. If you don't want to walk or cycle to Maldon alongside the Victorian Goldfields Railway tracks, hop on the train! A journey on the beautiful and luxurious old steam train makes a very special family outing (and remember, BIG4 Perks members enjoy discounted tickets).
Gardens and Flowers. Spring, of course, is the time for re-growth, and for beautiful spring bulbs and new buds on the trees. So, if you love flowers and gardens this is your time! Be sure to visit the magnificent Bendigo Annual Tulip Display running from mid-September to mid-October, when more than 53,000 tulips are in bloom in the city’s central Pall Mall and Conservatory Gardens.
Bendigo. The city of Bendigo is just a 40-minute drive from Castlemaine, and has plenty on offer for a great day for young and old. Discover a rich history of hand-crafted pottery at Bendigo Pottery, which offers special hands-on activities for the kids during the school holidays; visit the acclaimed Bendigo Art Gallery; and explore the dark and hidden underground tunnels of the Central Deborah Gold Mine and a treasure trove of mining equipment. There’s also great cafes and restaurants to visit, so plan on taking an extra day or two to explore just a little more of the region.
Of course, we have so many more favourite things to see and do - wineries to visit, farmers' markets to shop at, boutiques to browse and towns to explore! Come and see it all for yourself! We're looking forward to welcoming you to BIG4 Castlemaine soon. There'll be plenty of spring sunshine waiting for you.
Check out upcoming events during Spring here