Michelle is a Melbourne-based writer and editor who loves finding fun new activities and events to entertain her two kids.
Published April 12th 2019
It's the perfect time of year to visit Maldon
Easter is nearly upon is and if you're considering getting away for a few days, try the hidden gem of Maldon. This picturesque heritage town just one and a half hours from Melbourne is transforming into an Autumn wonderland, making it even more Instagrammable than ever. It's also about to come alive with a Heritage Festival beginning over the Easter weekend. Whether you are after a romantic getaway or a quiet family retreat, Maldon is the kind of place where you can slow down, relax and enjoy the serenity.
1. Heritage Festival Maldon, 18 April – 19 May 2019
The Heritage Festival gets underway in Maldon on Good Friday. Not only can you enjoy the Easter Procession on Monday April 22, 10.30am, you can learn all about the town's previous Easter festivals at a pictorial exhibition at the Maldon Museum and Archives over the weekend – Saturday 20, Sunday 21 and Monday 22 April. The tradition was born in 1878 when the first Maldon Easter Charity Fair enthralled crowds.
2. Charming buildings
Maldon is a photographer's paradise. The former Gold Rush town was a thriving hub in the 19th century as the promise of fortune lured prospectors from near and far. Many of the buildings from the 1850s onwards are still standing today, including shops, hotels, churches and quaint cottages. They can't be altered unless permission is first granted by The National Trust, because Maldon was the first town the organisation ever classified, in 1966. Stroll down the town's main and surrounding streets and you'll spot the Kangaroo Hotel, the Post Office, Museum, Court House and many more. Take yourself on a self-guided tour with a brochure from the information centre (93 High Street) – that should sort you out.
Maldon may be a small town but you will be well-nourished by the selection of eateries on offer, many with a strong emphasis on sourcing produce locally. The historic aforementioned Kangaroo Hotel (89 High Street), dating back to 1856, is renowned for its quality meals and I can vouch for this as the eye fillet, mash and veggies I had during my visit was the best pub meal I've had in a long while! I was also enthralled to learn there are still a series of tunnels beneath the hotel, where gold was secretly and securely ferried from the bank to the Cobb & Co coach for transport to Melbourne, bodies transported from the morgue (the pub lounge) to the undertakers across the road, men would visit the ladies of the night, and god knows what else!
Maldon Fudge and Ice Creamery (22 High Street) will keep you and the kids happy, and The Spotted Cow (24 High Street) restaurant has a solid reputation, especially for steaks. A French deli, Le Sel (12 Main Street), is simply a must visit. Delicious, smooth coffee, a selection of pastries including chocolate-filled danishes, stacks of baguettes, French wine, impressive cheese selection, fresh pasta, chocolates – you get the picture. I was ready to move in.
Maldon seems perfect for romantic weekend getaways, perhaps for a birthday or anniversary, however, we enjoyed it with our young family. I was utterly charmed by our beautiful little house, Sinnamon's Cottage. Immaculately restored and tastefully decorated, the 2-bedroom cottage is so cosy with a built-in fireplace and comes with a quaint garden and egg-laying chooks. Behind the house, is 'Anzac Hill', with a steep walking track leading to a reserve with stunning views over the town. We used the hill to run up and down – very handy to work off all the French food and ice cream treats we enjoyed. To learn more about this secret haven, check out maldongetaways.com.au
5. Nearby towns Maldon is surrounded by intriguing towns which you can visit during your stay, or enjoy via your road trip there or back. It's only a short drive from the spa town of Daylesford and equally charming Castlemaine. We stocked up on bakery treats from the Pastry King Cafe and Bakery in Daylesford and enjoyed a sensational lunch at Austrian café, Das Kaffeehaus (The Mill, 9 Walker Street) in Castlemaine, which has a delicious brunch menu and of course, strudel. There's a brewery - Shedshaker Brewing - located in the same complex and The Bridge Hotel is also nearby. It's all across from the Botanic Gardens which has an inviting lake and excellent children's playground with plenty of shade!