Visit Victoria
The GoldfieldsDiscover Victoria's fascinating gold rush history in a region boasting some of the country's finest historic attractions.
The discovery of gold in central Victoria over 150 years ago has left a rich and lasting legacy in almost every town in the Goldfields. Tour the impressive Victorian streetscapes of Bendigo and Ballarat with their grand hotels and public buildings or explore the quaint shopfronts and miners' cottages in townships such as Maldon, Castlemaine, Heathcote and Dunolly. Learn about gold rush history at the region's historic attractions. Sovereign Hill, The Eureka Centre and the Central Deborah Gold Mine offer fascinating insights into life above and below the ground during the 1850s and 1860s. Take a break from exploring the goldmines at a stylish local cafe or restaurant. Local restaurants make the most of the fine local produce of the region, and you can also sample the local wines, olives, apples and more, direct from the farm gate or cellar door. The Goldfields region is an arts and cultural haven boasting some of Australia's finest regional galleries with rich collections of local and European art. See visiting exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and Bendigo Art Gallery and admire Edwardian and modern works at the Castlemaine Art Gallery. Take the kids to an event at the Central Goldfields Gallery, or hunt out smaller private collections and artist studios dotted all over the region. The region also offers many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Relax and unwind in one of the elegant park-lands and historic botanic gardens or embark upon the 210-kilometre Goldfields Track. The Goldfields region is within easy reach of Melbourne via the Western Freeway, the Calder Highway or the Hume Freeway and the Northern Highway.
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Things to do
Peddling Pastry
Pastry chef Chris Edwards has more than 35 years experience after studying under one of the world’s most celebrated pastry chefs, John Huber. Today, from his little hole-in-the-wall patisserie he serves up a variety of delectable tarts, cakes, nougat, pastries and, of course, quality coffee!
Lake Weeroona
Lake Weeroona is the jewel in Bendigo’s crown. This beautiful ornamental lake and reserve, set on 18 hectares, was transformed from a dusty mining area in the 1870s. Take a walk around the picturesque lake, enjoy a coffee, a heartwarming meal or a delicious homemade gelato. The kids will love the amazing playground and the wide-open space to burn off some energy. To make the visit even more exciting, catch a vintage tram from the city centre to the lake.
Eureka Centre
Eureka Centre Ballarat is located at the historic site of 1854 Eureka Stockade rebellion, in the grounds of the Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens. It is home to the Eureka Flag - one of Australia's most revered cultural artefacts. The Centre is surrounded by the scenic Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens. It is a perfect place to grab a coffee, enjoy the wonderful park surrounds and learn more about the Eureka story. The Eureka Stockade resonates profoundly in the Australian national story. The Eureka uprising was a transformative social movement that deeply informed the development of modern democratic Australia. The Eureka Centre explores the cultural impact of the gold rush and tells the stories of the men and women who risked their lives in the fight for miner’s rights. The impact of their struggle and the resulting political reforms continues today in the rights enjoyed by all Australian citizens. The Eureka Centre is a cultural facility of the City of Ballarat.
Buda Historic Home & Garden
Buda Historic Home and Garden is one of the great heritage assets of the Goldfields region. From 1863 Buda was the home of the noted silversmith Ernest Leviny and his family. It contains the family's art and craft collections, furnishings and domestic effects and was home to the remarkably creative Leviny family for 118 years. The gracious historic home is surrounded by one of the most important large 19th-century gardens surviving in Victoria. Australian art is also displayed, works by many prominent Australian artists including Margaret Preston, M J McNally, Ursula Ridley Walker and Lionel Lindsay. The Buda Historic Home and Garden now has the Buda Nursery. The plant nursery offers for sale a wide range of heritage trees, shrubs, roses and ground covers ideally suited to Australian conditions. The Gift shop has a range of Buda exclusive merchandise featuring Leviny designs and other original pieces for visitors to purchase and take home. Also in stock is local produce, delightful craft items, and souvenirs.
Heathcote Winery
Heathcote Winery is one of the pioneer wineries of the Heathcote Region and has established a reputation as one of the icon wineries of the Region. Heathcote Winery specialises in the production of Shiraz and has a premium range of wines sourced entirely from estate vineyards. The Mail Coach Shiraz, upon which Heathcote Winery has built its reputation, delivers a quintessential Heathcote Shiraz that is the envy of many other producers. Three single-vineyard wines, the Slaughterhouse Paddock Shiraz, The Origin Shiraz and Heathcote Winery's signature wine The Wilkins Shiraz complete the super-premium range Tastings at Heathcote Winery are free and also include the estate shiraz Rose, Viognier, a regional cabernet and an enticing Muscat to complete the experience. The unique Cellar Door in Heathcote's Main Street is open seven days a week and light fare to compliment the wines is available on weekends and public holidays.
Victorian Goldfields Railway
This authentic, volunteer-run, steam railway links the historic gold mining towns of Castlemaine and Maldon in Central Victoria. Family fun - take the kids for a memorable day out. Watch the world go by from your family compartment as the steam train puffs up the hills. First Class - for a touch of class step back in time to an era of elegance when the journey was as important as the destination. Ride on the end viewing platform on the parlour car. Enjoy a drink from the fully stocked bar. Catch the train for a return trip from Castlemaine or Maldon stations. Castlemaine is 90 minutes from Melbourne by car on the Calder Freeway. For a wonderful day out, leave the car behind and use your Myki to catch the V/Line train from Melbourne to Castlemaine where you simply change platforms to catch the steam train. After a leisurely 45-minute train ride you have two hours in historic Maldon to enjoy lunch at a pub or cafe and then relax on the train (maybe enjoying a drink from the bar in first-class) back to Castlemaine. Trains run Sundays, Wednesdays and school holiday Saturdays. Visit the website for more information.
Sovereign Hill
Sovereign Hill brings to life the excitement of Australia’s great 1850s gold rushes. Named Australia's best ‘Major Tourist Attraction’ four times, Sovereign Hill provides a uniquely Australian experience and a full day of entertainment. There’s real gold to be panned – and it’s ‘finders keepers’, an underground gold mine, street theatre and the opportunity to meet costumed goldfields char-acters. See a spectacular $150,000 gold pour and chat with skilled craftsmen at work in the blacksmith’s forge, the candle works, the wheelwright’s plant, the coach builder’s and the confectionery factory. Sovereign Hill entry also includes entry to the Gold Museum which displays a beautiful exhibition of gold and Ballarat history. Excellent accommodation is available on-site at the recently refurbished Sovereign Hill Hotel. Accommodation options include superbly-appointed Governor's rooms or comfortable Sovereign rooms for couples and families choose from spacious well-appointed Colonial rooms or affordable family rooms. All accommodation rates are inclusive of breakfast.
Ballarat Wildlife Park
Ballarat Wildlife Park is an award-winning Park that is owned and operated by Greg Parker and his family. Founded in February 1985 through a passion for the conservation of wildlife and the environment. The Parker family have long realised the value of allowing people and animals to come together in a relaxing, friendly and educational environment. Visitors can hand-feed the friendly free-roaming Kangaroos and see Koalas, Wombats, ‘Crunch’ the five-metre Super Croc, and the newest arrivals - two Sumatran Tigers. A daily tour and a schedule of animal and conservation presentations will immerse you into the animal world. Around the park, you will see Southern Cas-sowaries, Giant Tortoises, Dingoes and Emus. Visit the reptile house and find Snakes, Frogs and Lizards. A colony of Little Penguins call the park home, the world’s smallest penguin species. Marvel at the cheeky Meerkats as they dig and explore. Spend time one-on-one with an animal encounter experience. Pat a koala, cuddle a wombat or have a snake wrapped over your shoulders. Encounters include a professional photo as a memento of the experience.
Bendigo Art Gallery
Established in 1887, Bendigo Art Gallery is one of the oldest and largest regional galleries in Australia. Bendigo Art Gallery has developed a reputation for an outstanding national and international exhibition program, presenting exhibitions such as Grace Kelly: Style Icon form V and A and Grimaldi Forum and The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece from the British Museum. Bendigo Art Gallery's collection is extensive and varied. It includes Australian painting, sculpture, ceramics, decorative arts, photography, works on paper from the 19th century to the present day. The Collection also includes important 19th century British and European paintings, sculpture and decorative arts. Some of the highlights of the contemporary collection include works of art by Patricia Piccinini, Bill Henson, Dale Frank, Jan Nelson, Fiona Hall, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Kit Webster and Benjamin Armstrong. Bendigo Art Gallery delivers a dynamic and varied suite of public programs and events alongside significant international and travelling exhibitions, attracting diverse audiences from across Victoria, and from metropolitan Melbourne.
Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is not just Australia's oldest regional gallery but one of its most exciting. Located in the heart of Ballarat's central heritage precinct, the Gallery boasts a stunning collection of Australian art. The Gallery presents a range of exhibitions from cutting edge contemporary art to themed shows drawn from the Gallery's extensive collection, and special interest ticketed shows. It is a focus for Ballarat's lively arts scene, situated in the heart of Ballarat's central area, which boasts great cafes and restaurants, book and antique shops and commercial galleries. The Gallery's magnificent collection of Australian paintings, sculpture, ceramics and works on paper allows visitors to experience key moments in the history of Australian art, with important representative works from colonial to contemporary periods. The heritage-listed Gallery building has evolved to accommodate the expanding collection and now includes a range of spaces from grand and elegant nineteenth-century rooms to stunning contemporary additions. The shop stocks work by local artists and craftspeople as well as art books, souvenirs, gifts and toys. The Gallery is fully accessible for people with disabilities. Enjoy a decadent cake and delicious coffee at Kittelty's, the Gallery cafe.
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens' historically significant lakeside gardens were designed and planted in the 1860s and now feature magnificent mature trees, statues and constantly changing plantings and glasshouse displays. Begonias are a focus and the festival is in March. Features include the Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial, Avenue of Prime Ministers and Tramways Museum. A range of events are staged throughout the year. The Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens provide numerous services to visitors, especially on weekends. Their Ambassadors give advice and information, and their Guides run tours. Illustrated pamphlets are available in the Glasshouse. Visitors can purchase plants at the trolley or nursery and publications at the George Longley Building. The Group also stages exhibitions, events and run Botanikids programs.
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