I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published March 2nd 2017
Victoria's Goldfields Highlights
There really is a little bit of everything in Victoria's Central Goldfields, making anywhere in the district a great 'get out of town' destination.
I've put together a list of my Top-5 favourite attractions in the region and have barely scratched the surface. Rest assured a trip to this fascinating and historic part of Victoria will not disappoint.
1. Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
The minute you enter Sovereign Hill the clock is turned back to the 1850's and there is little to shatter the illusion that you've stepped back in history to the Victorian gold rush era.
Along Main Street you will find shops going about their business just as they did in the 1850's. You can purchase gold at the Waterloo Store, have your photograph taken at the authentic Red Hill Photographic Rooms or mail a letter at the fully functioning Post Office. There's the cabinet makers workshop, Soho Foundry and the Criterion Store, the Gold Office, The Colonial Bank of Australasia and, for those with a sweet tooth, Brown & Co Confectionary.
Authentic to the last bump Sovereign Hills Cobb & Co coach is just part of this award winning historic precinct. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
2. Bendigo's Talking Trams
The Bendigo Tramways Vintage Talking Tram Tour operates a fleet of 17 trams on hourly services daily (except Xmas Day), between 10am and 5pm. The six stops on the network provide access to some of Bendigo's premier attractions including the Central Deborah Mine, Alexandra Fountain & Pall Mall, the Tramways depot, Lake Weeroona, Tyson's Reef Hotel and the Bendigo Joss House Temple.
When: Hourly services daily (Except Xmas Day) 10 AM to 5 PM
Bendigo's Talking Trams operate services through the centre of town. Photo; Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
3. Bendigo's Central Deborah Mine
The Central Deborah Gold Mine, the last commercial mine operating in Bendigo is today is a multi-award winning tourism attraction and offers one of the best underground tour experiences available with many original features remaining to ensure visitors get a truly authentic mining experience.
When: Daily (Except Xmas Day) 9 AM to 5 PM
Where: Violet St, Bendigo
Phone: (03) 5443 8255
The Central Deborah Mine offers one of the best underground experiences available in Australia. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
4. Magical Daylesford
Daylesford is a classic Central Victorian town founded in 1852 as the result of an alluvial gold strike and best known today as the mineral springs capital of Australia home to about 80 % of all such springs in Victoria.
Alternative living is a feature of modern day Daylesford and the town has become home to a thriving alternative health and spiritual wellness industry.
Lake Daylesford and the Boathouse Cafe are just one attraction in this picturesque goldfields town. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
5. Bendigo's Golden Dragon Museum
The best way to get a truly fascinating insight into Bendigo's Chinese history is with a visit to the Golden Dragon Museum, fittingly located on Bridge Street and home to one of the world's great collections of Chinese ceremonial dragons as well as numerous displays depicting Chinese culture and life on the goldfields.
Bendigo's dragons parade for special occasions and cultural festivals. They are a key part of the city's annual Easter Festival and parade.
When: Tuesday to Sunday 9.30 AM to 5 PM. Closed Mondays and Public Holidays.
Where: 1/11 Bridge Street, Bendigo
Tel: (03) 5441 5044
The Golden Dragon Museum offers an intriguing insight into Chinese life on the goldfields. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
In Bendigo take advantage of the Bendigo Experience Pass. Costing Adults $56.50, Concession $50, Child $31.50 or Family $155. It includes admission to:
Bendigo Tramways Vintage 'Talking' Tram Tour
Central Deborah Gold Mine Mine Experience Tour
Golden Dragon Museum
Added bonuses include:
10% off purchases in the Golden Dragon Museum Gift Shop
25% off wheel throwing lessons at Bendigo Pottery
Pick up your Bendigo Experience Pass from any of the participating attractions or the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre.
I've highlighted my Top-5 attractions on the goldfields but there's lot's more to see including the fabulous Victorian Goldfields Railway based in Maldon. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Why? Discover the history and present day attractions of Victoria's central goldfields, the scene of one of the greatest gold rushes the world has ever seen and an event which change Australia forever.