1. Head To The Hills
With rolling hills, rocky outcrops, stunning scenery, breathtaking waterfalls and tracks for days, the best way to explore this region is to head up, up, up! There is so much to explore here that jumping on a tour to help you navigate it, isn’t a bad idea. And if you’re not much of a walker, you can still appreciate the area and get to some of the lookouts by car. Views at Reeds Lookout and The Balconies, Boroka Lookout and Mount William can all be accessed by car.
2. Get Arty!
This region is abundant with local art galleries, exhibitions and museums. Bendigo and Ballarat in particular are particularly rich with art-related attractions. Check out Castlemaine Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Ballarat and Bendigo Pottery.
The Bendigo Art Gallery features an outstanding exhibition program. When a major exhibition is in town, all of Bendigo gets involved – The 8m statue of Marilyn Monroe still at Rosiland Park is testament to that.
Or, if you like your art at a more rapid pace, take the Goldfields Art Trail or the Silo Art Tour.
3. Visit Lesser-Known Towns
There are so many quaint little towns that get overlooked in the guidebooks, but take some time to explore and you won’t be disappointed. Plus supporting business in small towns is always a great thing to do.
Try Harcourt and visit La Larr Ba Gauwa Park (great for mountain biking), some of Victoria’s best regional wineries and the Oak Forest – a well-kept local secret. Or head to Clunes, a picturesque old gold rush-era town (and Australia’s only official Booktown) and take the creek walk, go to one of the Booktown on Sundays events (3rd Sunday of the month) or visit nearby Mount Beckworth, where you can find rare cork oak trees.
4. Gold Experiences
Unsurprisingly, this Goldfields region provides multiple opportunities to get up close and personal with gold mining. Check out the Bendigo Central Deborah Mine to see a large-scale production; wander through the 1800s gold mine at Carman’s Tunnel in Maldon, or visit the Garfield Wheel. Wherever you are, make sure to keep your eye out – locals and tourists are always on the lookout for the next ‘Welcome Stranger’, a gold nugget weighing in at 96kgs found in Moliagul.
The Golden Triangle is every gold fossickers delight. Hire gold detectors at the Gold Centre in Maryborough – though make sure to get your license online in advance. You can also try your luck gold panning in some of the creeks and rivers. A popular historic gold area camp is Waanyarra, located just near Dunolly, with lovely shade areas and toilets.
5. Take A Drive
Travel north from the Little Desert National Park to Big Desert National Park with its pink lake in the centre. This trip takes you along great tracks, with bush camping in the sand or along the Wimmera River, fishing and stargazing.
6. Get On The Water
It’s not just adventures on land that this region provides in droves, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water too. Lake Cairn Curren (30km from Castlemaine) or Lake Eppalock (55km from Bendigo) both have an abundance of fishing and water activities, toilets, barbeques and a natural sand edge where boats can easily pull up.
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