Welcome to Lucy's collection of ideas and adventures designed to inspire others to get off the couch and explore our local environment.
Published February 8th 2015
Giant gold nuggets, steam trains, vintage trams and more
The Historic Goldfields Track extends 210kms from Ballarat in the south, to Bendigo in the north. The Goldfields Region was established during Victoria's 1800s gold rush, so visiting this area is a bit like stepping back in time. It is possible to walk the track on foot, ride the track on a mountain bike, or take the journey by car by visiting key towns along the way. We opted for a driving holiday with the kids to explore this interesting corner of Australia and found plenty of ways to keep them occupied every day.
For us the first stop was Ballarat and Sovereign Hill, a living history museum set in 1853. Over two days we panned for gold and struck it lucky, took the underground mine tour, decorated ginger bread men, made candles, learned how to make old fashioned toffee, and sat in an "olden days" school lesson. We also discovered that the most gold in the world was found in this region between 1850 - 1900.
We drove an hour to the north and stopped at beautiful Lake Daylesford for a swim, a kayak and our first taste of mineral spring water. In total, there are seventy two mineral springs in the Daylesford region and each one has a slightly different mineral content, so we filled up our water bottles and headed for an afternoon exploring nearby Lavandula Lavender Farm. The kids loved smelling all the different types of lavender and we all enjoyed lavender scones for afternoon tea at La Trattoria.
Goldfields Track is well signposted - image taken by writer
There are loads of cafes and art galleries to explore in the Castlemaine region, however our kids really loved the playground in the Botanic Gardens (see below), and a ride on the Goldfields Steamtrain is a must if you are visiting when it is puffing along towards the township of Maldon.
Bendigo has officially been recognised by UNICEF and UNESCO as a Child Friendly City, and a highlight for us was riding the Vintage Talking Trams. We stopped off at Central Deborah Gold Mine, Bendigo Joss House, and Lake Weeroona for lunch and a visit to yet another excellent playground.
We really enjoyed our experience of the Goldfields Track and our next visit will definitely be walking and/or mountain biking at least along part of the route. It would have been possible to cover the distance quite quickly, however we were very glad that we allowed sufficient time to take the kids to many interesting playgrounds and lookouts along the way.
Historic towns along The Goldfields Track - image taken by writer