I am an academic and writer living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne, regional Victoria and other parts of Australia have to offer.
Published January 1st 2017
A trip into history
Two and a bit hours from Melbourne, among the tall, majestic trees, lush tree ferns and many shades of green, lies a town steeped in history, Walhalla. The photos don't do justice to the atmosphere, quaintness and magic found in this tiny town with a permanent population of 20. To get the full sense of what this little town offers, you have to visit, linger a while and enjoy the experience.
And it is a truly wonderful experience. Driving up through the tall- treed forests, fog often creeps into the scenery offering a mystical, magical expectation. Yet when you get to Walhalla, the fog is gone and you are presented with a small town offering much for the visitor. The village feels as if you have stepped into a history book page. Cute and well-looked after miners' cottage line the winding street and make you stop and wonder about how people lived there during the Gold rush of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Walhalla offers a chance to relive history in an authentic, unspoilt way. There is the Long Tunnel Gold Mine Tour where the guide will take you though the original mine or you can visit the Post Office which has remained largely unchanged since 1886. A trip on the Goldfield Railway through the narrow Stringers Creek Gorge gives you a sense of the precarious position this rail track was built on, as well as close-up view of the lush bush landscape that surrounds Walhalla. The cemetery perched above the town provides a history and insights into the lives of the gold miners and their families.
For bushwalking enthusiasts, there are many hiking opportunities, suitable for different levels, leading from and around Walhalla. A short self-guided town talk will take you from one end of town to the other and give you a glimpse into the town's interesting history. You can download a map of the town here. Further afield, there are many bushwalks starting from Walhalla, for example to Thomson Station (5km) or to the Poverty Point Bridge (8km).
If walking does not appeal, 4WD tours can take you to long-forgotten gold sites and villages left behind after the Gold Rush.The Greyhorse Cafe offers a chance to sit down, reflect and enjoy some coffee and a bite to eat. The Wally Pub serves substantial pub meals that can be enjoyed in the garden or on the terrace.
And if tempted to stay overnight or longer to fully explore this wonderful area there are accommodation options for camping, self-contained cottages, staying in the iconic Walhalla Star Hotel or in one of the B&Bs in town. Plan well ahead of time especially in busy holiday periods.
Despite the fact that many of the houses had to be rebuilt in the 1990s, Walhalla is a step-back in time and gives the visitor a chance to experience life as it used to, even if just for a day. And did you know Walhalla was the last Victorian town to be connected to electricity in 1998?