The Goldfields of Victoria

In the 1800s Victoria’s gold fields bustled with prospectors from all over the globe hoping to strike it rich. The mining days are far behind, but the Goldfields region now boasts riches of a different kind.

Discover beautiful heritage architecture, savour fine food and wine, and immerse yourself in fabulous art galleries and great shopping. Then explore some of the spectacular natural scenery for which the area is renowned.

Ballarat and Surrounds

Just over an hours drive from Melbourne, Ballarat is Victoria’s largest inland city. Take a self-guided heritage walk along wide tree-lined streets fringed with lovely heritage buildings, churches and public sculptures.

Enjoy fine food and wine at a selection of restaurants and cafes, and be sure to drop by the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Australia’s premier regional gallery.

A Golden History

One of Ballarat’s best-known attractions is Sovereign Hill, a family-friendly open-air museum where you can re-enact the gold rush era and even pan for gold. The Eureka Stockade was a famous miners' rebellion. Learn all about it here, and then discover the original rebellion flag at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Back to Nature

Located on the shores of Lake Wendouree, Ballarat’s Botanic Gardens are another highlight for visitors. With over forty acres of mature trees, flowering gardens beds, ponds and pavilions, the gardens are an ideal destination for a leisurely stroll.

Also in the vicinity is picturesque Buninoyong, a historic town surrounded by farmland, wooded ridges and overlooked by Mt Buninoyong. Formed from an extinct volcano, this hill affords lovely views of the entire district. Also the venue for the Australian Cycling Championships.

Bendigo and Surrounds

Bendigo is another gold rush town with pretty parks and gardens, striking architecture and a fabulous arts precinct along View Street. Don’t miss the Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram, a hop-on, hop-off tram tour that escorts you via shops, restaurants, parks and other city attractions.

Like many gold rush towns, Bendigo attracted thousands of Chinese immigrants during the gold rush years, and you can explore the fascinating cultural history at the Golden Dragon Museum and Emu Point Temple.

Bendigo lies in the heart of wine country. Join a tour and enjoy tastings, a behind-the-scenes look at a winery and the stunning vistas of lush rolling hills and vineyards. Or closer to town, hire a bike and cycle along the shores of picturesque Lake Weeroona.

The O’Keefe Rail Trail will take you through lush forest, over bubbling brooks and beneath towering gums and golden wattle. Kangaroos, wallabies and birdlife may often be seen along the trail.

Other Destinations

The Goldfields region is home to several smaller towns well worth a visit. In Castlemaine discover galleries, antique and craft stores, and beautiful historic buildings on a self-guided heritage walk.

Heathcote is a small town nestled beneath the McIvor and McHarg Ranges that is known for its fine produce and wines and also offers plenty of walking opportunities through tranquil bush surrounds.

The Heathcote Food and Wine Festival is a highlight of the calendar, drawing crowds from all over the state each October.

This is just a taste of the richness to be discovered in the stunning Goldfields region. For fine food and wine, history and abundant natural beauty, it’s a destination to savour.

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 Image Courtesy: Getty Images/Tourism Victoria