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Published September 27th 2015
Golden relics from the past
Walhalla is a two and a half hour drive from Melbourne in West Gippsland and has a range of exciting family activities. Walhalla can be reached from Melbourne by taking the Princes Highway to Moe and then diverting north towards the mountains of Mount Baw Baw via Erica and Rawson.
On the way, keep an eye open for farmers who sell produce such as potatoes along the side of the road.
If you want to get an overall perspective on the gold history of Walhalla take the Walhalla Self-Guided Town Walk (pick up a brochure for the walk from the Visitor Information Centre) and explore the town. The trail has 30 interpretation signs with photos and stories of the past.
Walhalla Long Tunnel Mine
Experience the life of a gold miner by taking a tour of the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine in Walhalla. The mine was first started by the Hercules United Gold Company in 1865 but they were unable to find any gold. After eight years the mine was then taken over by the Long Tunnel Extended Company which found a viable reef of gold. The mine was Victoria's fifth largest gold mine during the colonial era.
Now there are daily underground tours where visitors can don a miner's safety helmet and walk 300 metres into a large chamber with underground machinery. The guide provides stories about the mining methods used in the past and the trials of life as an underground gold miner. There are a range of exhibits and old equipment to explore on the surface also.
There is one tour a day on Monday to Friday and three tours on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. Tours take 45-50 minutes to complete and the price for a family ticket is $50.
Another highlight of the Walhalla region is the Walhalla Goldfields Railway. The railway between Moe and Walhalla was opened in 1910 but didn't prove a success and the service to Walhalla closed in 1944. However, some rail enthusiasts rebuilt the spectacular section from the Thomson River to Walhalla via Stringers Gorge and trains have been operating to Walhalla since 2002. The diesel trains pass over large trestle bridges that criss-cross Stringers Creek Gorge.
Walhalla Goldfields Railway
Trains operate every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, public holidays and daily during holiday periods. A family return ticket is $50.
Learn more about Walhalla's interesting history (via some spooky and tragic stories) with a Ghost Tour. The tours operate every Saturday evening and cost $75 for a family.
Other family activities in the area include the Baw Baw National Park (take a walk to the Mushroom Rocks from Erica), walk a section of the Great Walhalla Alpine Trail Walk or visit Mount St Gwinear (just 30 minutes from Rawson).