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Walhalla is a town full of history and interesting stories of a bygone era, yet the town is not dull or lifeless, in fact it's much the opposite. If you let your imagination take over and really give your 5 senses a chance to absorb everything in this small town, you too will be left mesmerised and wanting to explore further.
Although there is a lot of history and heartache in this town, it's spectacular, warm and inviting. There is no denying the appeal of this former gold mining town, that is not just rich in gold but also in community spirit.
To get the most out of your experience in Walhalla I suggest spending the day strolling around the town, or even staying over night to experience the town when the sun is going down and when all the day visitors have gone. Apart from a few tourists and 15 permanent residents the town will pretty much be yours.
First stop for us was the former post & telegraph office, opened in 1886. Still in original condition with the housing quarters furnished with the same contents as was left when Doreen Hannan took over as post mistress in 1928 before purchasing the building off the Commonwealth Government in 1948, she retired in 1963 at which time the post office relocated to the general store.
Doreen lived in the building until she passed away, she never married as a women was not allowed to hold an important position after marrying.The building has never been renovated and most of her items remain on display. Entry is by donation.
Next up was a ride on the restored Walhalla Goldfields railway, which has spectacular scenery as the line follows Stringers Creek on one side and a hand picked rock wall on the other all the way to Thompson river.
Across from the shops is a park with a playground, BBQ, tables and chairs, a shelter and toilet facilities. A perfect spot for a picnic lunch. We weren't so organised as to pack lunch but the general store makes good sandwiches.
On finishing lunch in the park we heard an unusual sound of bag pipes, looking up we noticed a man dressed in a kilt playing the bag pipes perched on the hillside overlooking town. According to the man in the lolly shop he comes and plays the bag pipes randomly from time to time, much to the enjoyment of visitors to the town .
There are a few other places to eat in town including the Walhalla Lodge Hotel (Wally Pub), Grey Horse Cafe, Parker's Restaurant at the Star Hotel and Walhalla Coffee ( not all places are open everyday, especially during the week so check beforehand).
Star Hotel on the left and Grey Horse Cafe on the right
After lunch a tour of the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine is a must to get a real sense of the town's history. Topics covered in the tour include the different licence holders, pay rates for the miners, working conditions, tools used, life expectancy for the miners, gold extracted and much more.
Ultimately the mines are what made Walhalla and this tour is a big part of what keeps the town running today. Although it's a tourist attraction, it's kept it's originality and isn't a gimmick.
Tours of the gold mine run daily at 1:30 pm and three times daily on the weekends. Tours cost $19.50 for adults $14.50 concession and $49 for a family.
From the gold mine entrance you will notice a walking track that goes along the hillside above the town, if you follow it to the right it brings you out at the end of the town where the free camping ground is.
A visit to the cemetery is possibly not on everyone's agenda when visiting a town (mine included) however, after visiting the mines and hearing many stories of the former residents and gold mine workers, I almost felt compelled to visit.
The cemetery is known as the most unique in Victoria and is positioned on the steep side of a hill overlooking the road going into town. There are over 1300 known burials, with the earliest recorded in 1866.
A sad part of history with 1 baby and 2 toddlers buried here with their father (grandfather of one child)
If you would like to stay overnight there are plenty of great options, my favourite, for their wonderful gardens is the Valhalla House but there is also the Star Hotel, Windsor House and many more private B&B's which can be found here.
You could also buy your own patch of Walhalla with the bank vault land for sale and the general store, but even though the town only has 15 permanent residents you can still expect a hefty price tag with the asking price for the general store being $695,000.
Walhalla is approximately 185km from Melbourne's CBD and takes around 2 and a half hours driving time. For directions from Melbourne to Walhalla, click here.
So for your next day out why not discover all that Walhalla has to offer .