Welcome to the historic Victorian Goldfields region! The Goldfields region in central Victoria (about 1 to 2 hours from Melbourne) is witness to the legacy of the goldrush era (about 150 years ago). There are some imposing examples of Victorian architecture and a cultural heritage stemming from the wealth derived from the gold and the diversity of people living and working in this region at the time. Here we have described some suggested activities for visitors to the Goldfields area centred around Bendigo, Castlemaine and Maldon. But there are many more things to be explored and discovered!
Bendigo Art Gallery and precinct is a highlight of any visit to Bendigo. The Bendigo Art Gallery was founded in 1887. It’s one of Australia’s oldest galleries and one of the best regional art galleries. The collection includes many important works from the 19th century including some European paintings, sculptures and decorative arts. The Gallery usually also has a feature exhibition showcasing a particular artist or theme. Nearby, just across the road are some terrific antique shops and cafés.....More.
Central Deborah Gold Mine goes sixty metres underground. Take the tour and with your hard hat, battery pack and lamp you walk in the footsteps of miners who discovered almost one tonne of gold from right under central Bendigo.....More.
Take a winery tour of the Bendigo region. The first grapes were planted in the Bendigo region in 1856. Now, with over 30 wineries in the area, there’s a wine for every palate, from crisp sparkling, delicate or full-bodied whites to the robust reds; all these styles are produced in the Bendigo region. The landscape is just as diverse as the wine, when touring the cellar doors half the fun is getting there driving through the mountain ranges and ironbark forests!.....More.
Golden Dragon Chinese Museum reflects the Chinese heritage that is an integral part of Bendigo. From the goldrush era to the present day, the Bendigo Chinese community has influenced the proud history of Bendigo. Central to the permanent display is Sun Loong the longest imperial dragon in the world (at over 100 metres)‚ Loong the oldest imperial dragon in the world and their accompanying regalia can be seen by visitors to the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum all year round.....More.
Castlemaine Art Gallery & Historical Museum is located at the western end of Lyttleton Street. The Castlemaine Art Gallery has focussed on Australian art since it was founded in 1913 and has an impressive collection of Australian Impressionists including McCubbin, Roberts and Streeton. In the basement below the art gallery is the Castlemaine Historical Museum. It has a significant collection of objects and artefacts relating to the history of the area; and includes a fine collection of porcelain, gold- and silverware.....More.
The Restorer’s Barn in Mostyn Street is an Aladdin's Cave of old treasures; it has a vast and fantastic assortment of fabulous stuff! You can easily browse for an hour or more; or you may search for and find just the thing you need for that renovation project......More.
The Castlemaine Rod Shop is the street rod centre of Castlemaine and Castlemaine is the ‘Street Rod Centre of Australia’.....More.
Drummond Body Care, just opposite the Restorer’s Barn in Mostyn Street is this specialist purveyor of natural soaps and cosmetics. The shop has a fascinating display of products and is somewhat overwhelming! We try to get our soaps and bath salts from here for our guests and for home.
Buda is an authentic house and garden surviving from the gold rush era. It was home to the creative Leviny family for 118 years and houses their significant collection of art works. Set in 1.2 hectares of enchanting gardens, Buda houses the Leviny family’s art and craft collections, furnishings and domestic effects. It is a unique record of this creative family over a period of 118 years; Buda conveys the feeling of a lived-in house and garden in an authentic way.....More.
Castlemaine State Festival began in 1976 and has grown to become Australia’s flagship regional arts festival. The Castlemaine area is rich with artists who work both with invention and as artisans. The Festival transforms iconic venues into galleries and has sculpture installed in public spaces throughout the town; it also features a range of classical and contemporary music; live theatre in Castlemaine’s historic theatres and halls, as well as in unique venues including mines, churches, parklands and public sites.....More.
A walk around the Maldon township is a must, take in the historic streetscape, check out the antique shops, the craft shops and stop for a coffee in any of the great little cafés. In 1966 Maldon became the first Victorian town to be classified by the National Trust. This ‘notable town’ classification reflects Maldon’s well-preserved historic streetscape with European trees, wide verandahs, flagstone paving, old-fashioned shop fronts, quaint cottages, stone buildings and attractive gardens.
Maldon Historical Museum and Courthouse is at the corner of High Street and Fountain Street and has displays of early mining equipment and photographs; domestic memorabilia; and historic archives. The building was erected in 1858 as a Market Place however this was unsuccessful and it was converted to shire offices in 1865. Hammerbeam arches were added to remedy buckling brick walls in 1871. Just behind the museum is the old fire station (circa 1870) and across the adjacent football oval is the former courthouse (circa 1861).....More.
Maldon Motor Museum hidden away at 46 High Street, is a paradise for car buffs and well worth a visit. There’s a great collection of vintage cars, each with it’s own story!
Nuggetty Vineyard, just 4 km out of Maldon township on the Maldon – Shelbourne Road. This is a dry-country gem. Relax and enjoy a glass of wine on the vine covered verandah overlooking the gardens and vineyards; make use of the picnic and BBQ facilities or challenge your family and friends to a game of petanqué.
Porcupine Township pioneer village is a recreation of an early 1850s gold town located in rugged bushland on the site of the original Porcupine diggings where the first gold discovery in the area between Castlemaine and Bendigo was made. Slab, shingle and mud-brick buildings have been relocated from sites around the goldfields and from derelict townsites to create Porcupine Township. There’s a barn, hotel, an undertaker's, miner's huts, a blacksmith's, a general store, a carriage repository, a doctor's surgery and a bowling alley!.
Victorian Goldfields Railway brings to you the experience of steam train travel. Linking the historic towns of Castlemaine, Muckleford and Maldon, this historic railway takes you through Box-Iron Bark forest in a region that saw some of the richest gold mining in Australia. There are a number of steam locomotives and a large collection of rolling stock; an unequalled array of 4 wheeled goods trucks along with goods and passenger brake vans; and a selection of wooden bodied passenger carriages are part of this historic railway.....More.
Chocolade in Main Street Maldon is a must for chocoholics. This lovely chocolate shop is housed inside the McArthur's building (circa 1854) in the heart of Maldon. They have a great selection of imported and locally made chocolates, some are individual and handmade; all are delicious and great quality! They also have gift boxes and custom designed hampers that make the perfect gift or for an indulgence at anytime. We often get chocolates from here for guests staying at Herrmann’s Cottage.
Maldon Historic Bakery in main Street Maldon (close by Chocolade) make terrific bread, pies and treats like the cinnamon doughnuts! They still use the original oven from the bakery operated on this site by George McArthur from around 1854.
Maldon Folk Festival is well recognised as a great value family festival. It’s been operating for about 30 years and each year the organisers provide a long weekend of quality entertainment at affordable prices......More.
Walk around the Beehive Chimney, a 30-metre brick chimney (circa 1862); the North British Mine (operated until 1926); and Carman's Tunnel, a 570-metre goldmining tunnel excavated largely by using pneumatic drills between 1882 and 1884.