Victoria’s expansive inland Goldfields region chiefly encompasses Ballarat, Bendigo, Daylesford, Castlemaine, Heathcote and Maryborough, and is the historical heart of the state’s wild 19th-century gold rush. Characterised by magnificently ornate Victorian architecture and pioneering boomtowns, Goldfields is a fascinating historical region that now features museums, boutique shops, cafés and restaurants within its wide streets. Visit eccentric towns, explore historic quarters and sample award-winning wines and gourmet cheeses from the region at farmsteads and cellar doors.
Each gold-rush town will have its fair share of opulent 1850s architecture, distinctive for its weatherboards, broad awnings and ornate iron lace trim. Take a walking tour of the different towns and see preserved Victorian streetscapes in Talbot, Maldon, Dunolly and Clunes. Local museums and monuments trace the timeline of the gold rush period, the dramatic events of Ballarat’s Eureka Stockade and the diverse people who came to seek their fortune in the fields. Discover the legacy of the Chinese goldminers and the lavish gardens that were created by prospectors who struck gold.
Don’t miss a tour of the Goldfields’ fantastic regional galleries, including the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum, the Central Goldfields Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Bendigo Art Gallery and Bendigo Pottery. Many of the Goldfields’ ornate theatres are still operational and are a great place to catch a local performance or film screening.
Outside of the towns, explore the Goldfields’ great outdoors and discover stunning plains and dense forests between historical relics. Go bushwalking, cycling or mountain biking at Lake Wendouree, Lake Weeroona or Kooyoora State Park, or drop a fishing line in one of the region’s trout lakes. Scenic golf courses are dotted throughout the region. Take it all in on a soaring helicopter flight with a Goldfields aerial tour.
You can reach most places in the Goldfields region within 2 hours’ drive from Melbourne. Victoria’s regional V/Line railway service reaches most major urban centres in the Goldfields. The Goldfields’ wide selection of attractions makes it an ideal place to visit at any time of the year.