CULTURE ART AND HERITAGE

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Your cheat sheet to Victoria’s Goldfields region

A region full of riches – that sums up the Goldfields.

Built on the wealth of the 1850s and 1860s gold rushes – hence its name – this famous patch oozes history, opulence, and excitement.

Whether you’re after a memorable family holiday or a cosy romantic escape, this handy cheat sheet will easily acquaint you with a prized pocket of turf.

Bendigo typifies the Goldfields' rich appeal.

Great walks in the Goldfields

Take a scenic stroll in these locations, some of which double as excellent picnic spots:

  • Lake Wendouree, Ballarat: A favourite with locals and visitors to circle.
  • Ballarat Botanical Gardens: Contains busts of Australian Prime Ministers; adjacent to Lake Wendouree.
  • The Eureka Trail, Ballarat: Follows a path that proved to be momentous to modern Australian society.
  • Castlemaine Botanical Gardens: Brims with colourful elm and oak-lined avenues as well as Lake Joanna.
  • Goldfields Track: A 210km-long path that can be tackled by foot or pedal. Passes historical towns and features countless forest views.
  • Heritage walks, various locations: Enjoy a self-guided history lesson on foot.

Lake Wendouree suits scenic strolls.

Historical gold-rush attractions 

Retrace a fascinating past at the following:

Sovereign Hill, Ballarat: One of Victoria’s most popular experiences. This open-air museum features a recreated gold-rush village and underground mine. Pan for gold and be enthralled by its magnificent sound and light show.

Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo: Traces the history of Chinese culture within Bendigo and its surrounds through a series of absorbing indoor and outdoor attractions. Includes seriously ancient relics.

Central Deborah Gold Mine, Bendigo: Home of Australia’s deepest underground mine tour. Explore a once-bustling gold mine situated 61m below the surface.

Vintage Talking Tram, Bendigo: A novel history lesson. These iconic trams reveal Bendigo’s past while visitors take in the city’s sights.

Buda Historic Home & Garden, Castlemaine: A well-preserved home and garden from the gold-rush days. Boasts an enviable collection of furniture, art, and other period items.

Sovereign Hill in Ballarat is an action-packed attraction.

Family-friendly Goldfields attractions

We’ve already mentioned some above but there's more family fun to be had at the following:

  • Kryal Castle, Ballarat: This adventure park reveals a mythical, medieval world full of wizards, dragons, and knights.
  • Ballarat Bird World: Home to an astounding assortment of winged wonders.
  • Ballarat Wildlife Park: Myriad animals and exotic reptiles to encounter.
  • Ballarat Tramway Museum: Scenic tram rides meet mountains of memorabilia.  
  • Ballarat Municipal Observatory & Museum: Fun day and night, but mostly night.
  • Discovery Science & Technology Centre, Bendigo: Loaded with interactive exhibits to captivate kids big and small. Includes a planetarium.

Flaming good family fun: Kryal Castle.

Steam train adventures

For a fun outing, hop on board the Victorian Goldfields Railway steam train as it chugs between Castlemaine and Maldon. The service operates most weekends and Wednesdays and gifts gorgeous views.

Soak up gorgeous views with a ride on of the Victorian Goldfields Railway.

Goldfields galleries

Hands down, the best way to embrace Goldfields culture is to spend time within the confines of a top-class art gallery. This trio ranks among the best in regional Australia:

  • Ballarat Regional Gallery: Australia's oldest and largest regional gallery, showcasing outstanding works from some of the country's most revered artists.
  • Bendigo Regional Gallery: Home to an immense collection of excellent art and regularly attracts first-class exhibitions.
  • Castlemaine Art Museum: View an enviable collection of Australian art and historical pieces relevant to the area. Housed within a striking art deco building. 

Get your dose of culture, colour, and creativity at Ballarat Regional Gallery.

Looking for Goldfields accommodation? Click here.

Bendigo Art Gallery is full of visual treats, too.

Essential photo ops

Here are a handful of recommendations among a feast of photogenic sites, including aforementioned botanic gardens: 

  • Poppet Head lookout tower, Rosalind Park, Bendigo: Climb to the top for beautiful, panoramic views. 
  • View St, Bendigo: Lined with impressive heritage architecture.
  • Maryborough Railway Station: Built more than 125 years ago and is magnificent inside and out. 
  • Lake Wendouree, Ballarat: Particularly pretty at sunrise or sunset.
  • Historical structures, various locations: Striking architecture throughout the likes of Bendigo, Ballarat, and Castlemaine make for captivating pics.

Castlemaine bursts with striking heritage buildings that make for great snaps.

Fast fact

The gorgeous town of Maldon is gifted with the 'most intact heritage streetscape', according to the National Trust, and is ripe for pretty pics.

Maldon's streetscape oozes old-world charm.

Goldfields wineries

Cellar doors abound in the Goldfields region with four wine areas to choose from. Options are:

  • Pyrenees: Ample wineries, mainly around Moonambel and Avoca. Led by hearty reds, especially cab sauv and shiraz.
  • Heathcote: Fifty-plus wineries and vineyards are dotted within an area renowned for its award-winning shiraz.
  • Bendigo: Generally made up of boutique wineries scattered around the city and surrounds. Reds receive most attention.
  • Ballarat: Cool-climate region with a great reputation. Signature grapes include pinot noir and sparkling. 

Taltarni winery in the Pyrenees is among many superb vineyards in the region.

Great Goldfields pubs

These venues are just some of many regional gems for top-notch tucker and refreshments:

  • The Railway Hotel, Castlemaine: Classic, cosy country pub.
  • The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine: Excellent inside and out with a solid menu and beverage selection.
  • Gold Mines Hotel, Bendigo: Elegant heritage building with a delightful garden to boot.
  • The Mallow, Ballarat: Great gastropub with tasty food and an ever-changing tap selection.
  • Avoca Hotel, Avoca: Stylish, red-bricked building with a mouthwatering menu.

Castlemaine's Bridge Hotel dishes up tasty tucker among inviting surrounds.

Goldfields bars and breweries

These establishments are also worth entering for a quiet drink or two:

  • Wine Bank On View, Bendigo: Sip on vino within a heritage-listed bank building.
  • Babylon Lounge and Garden Bar, Bendigo: Cool, distinctive venue with an impressive beverage range.
  • Theatre Royal, Castlemaine: This old-school cinema houses a pizza bar and Love Shack Brewing.
  • Maurocco Bar, Castlemaine: Excellent interior and great ambience for wine and cocktails.
  • Hop Temple, Ballarat: Trendy bar with excellent craft beer, wine, and cocktail selection.
  • Aunty Jacks, Ballarat: Funky, multi-level brewery with delicious beers in a central location.
  • Cubby Haus Brewing, Ballarat: Small-batch brews with something for all tastes.
  • Shedshaker Brewing, Castlemaine: Wide variety of tasty beers set within the popular Mill precinct.
  • Palling Bros Brewery, Heathcote: Quality brews on offer in the heart of a wine region.

Theatre Royal includes both a pizza bar and a brewery. Oh, and you can watch a movie, too.

Goldfields accommodation

We have parks aplenty planted in the Goldfields’ major locations. Find something to suit today.
BIG4 parks in the Goldfields region are here or click below.

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