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20 amazing places for kids to explore in the Victorian Goldfields

Posted 18/05/2019 in Things to do

Black Hill Reserve, Ballarat VIC

There are so many amazing places for kids to explore throughout the Victorian Goldfields! My own kids have had so much fun on their adventures through this amazing region that it was hard to choose just twenty of our favourites for this list. If you're after a new outdoor adventure for your family, look no further - the following twenty locations are absolutely unmissable and are always a big hit with the kids.

1. The Cascades

The Cascades, Metcalfe VIC

A series of cascades sweep over layers of bedrock as the water whirls down through rockpools, crevices and little caverns. Relax in a rockpool, take a dip in one of the larger swimming holes, or make your way across the stunning bedrock and boulders to wander along and appreciate the scenic beauty of the Coliban River. Children will absolutely love climbing over the rocks and through the pools of water, but be aware that there are unexpected deep holes within the water in some places - always carefully check the depth of swimming holes before allowing small children to paddle in them. This extraordinary hidden gem is tucked away in the quiet town of Metcalfe, Victoria, just 25 minutes from Castlemaine and 40 minutes from both Bendigo and Daylesford. Read more...

2. Charlie Fox's House

Charlie Fox's house is a gorgeous feature at the foot of Maldon's Rock of Ages. A large stone nestled among a cluster of green plants has been painted up to look like a quaint little home, with the words "Charlie Fox's House" painted on the far side. This is a wonderful spot for children to explore! Read more... 

3. Calembeen Park

Calembeen Park, Creswick VIC

With its gorgeous twin lakes, sweeping displays of waterlilies, abundant bird life and plenty of fish, Creswick's Calembeen Park is a beautiful haven for relaxation and recreation. My kids are always amazed at how many living things they can spot while taking the scenic walk around Calembeen Park. Read more... 

4. Ferntree Falls

Ferntree Falls, Raglan VIC

Ferntree Falls is a stunning seasonal waterfall nestled among the huge ferns and moss covered rocks within the spectacular Mount Buangor State Park. A short and easy 250 metre walk takes you to the falls where you can clamber over the rocks and among the gorgeous ferns right beneath the waterfall. By crossing a bridge over Middle Creek from beneath the falls, you can continue on the Waterfalls Nature Walk and access several other walks including the walk to nearby Cascade Falls. Read more...

5. Melville Caves

Melville Caves, Brenanah VIC

The spectacular Melville Caves lie within the Kooyoora State Park in Brenanah, Victoria. The caves are named after notorious bushranger Captain Melville who supposedly used the caves as a hiding place in the mid 19th century. Children will love clambering through the caves, over the rocks and climbing trees, but make sure they are well supervised because there are dangerous cliffs surrounding the area. Read more...

6. Sailors Falls

Sailors Falls, near Daylesford VIC

Sailors Falls Mineral Spring is located just outside Daylesford and features a stunning seasonal waterfall, mineral spring taps, two undercover picnic tables and excellent information signs/displays. Sailors Falls is spectacular with or without water flow due to the impressive rock face and beautiful ferns lining the creek. The falls are worth visiting all year round, but water is most reliably flowing in winter/spring. Read more...

7. Rise and Shine Nature Conservation Reserve

The Rise and Shine Nature Conservation Reserve is a beautiful patch of bushland with an educational self guided tour, located between Newstead and Daylesford. A walking track follows the path of an ancient river, and 21 numbered information points allow you to refer to your park notes (available in a container at the beginning of the walk) and learn about each feature. Discover native plants and animals, fascinating geological features, and the impact both animals and humans have had on the land. Read more...

8. Alexandra Gardens

Alexandra Gardens, Ararat VIC

Alexandra Gardens is a spectacular park in Ararat, Victoria with a lot to offer. An incredible multi level walk-in fernery slopes down toward the terraced lawns and ornamental lake. An 800m pram/wheelchair-friendly walking track makes its way around the lake across pretty bridges and through the Japanese themed islands. Close to the fernery lies a fantastic playground with lots of unique play equipment, toddler play space and shade sails. Read more...

9. Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, Maldon VIC

Rock of Ages is a spectacular rocky outcrop atop Mount Mooral, overlooking Maldon, Victoria's first notable town. Enormous boulders (strikingly similar to those of Melville Caves) are staggered across the top of the mount and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Children will have a great time climbing up and around the boulders, but be wary of steep drops and uneven ground - supervise small children at all times. Read more...

10. Welcome Stranger Monument and Picnic Area

The Welcome Stranger monument and picnic area is a peaceful, fascinating and educational place to go for a barbecue or a picnic lunch. A large stone monument commemorates the discovery of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget (largest alluvial gold nugget discovered in the world so far), and there's a beautifully presented information sign with plenty of interesting details about the discovery and the lives of the lucky miners who found it right here in 1869. You can take the Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk, which is an 850 metre circuit track. The Discovery Walk travels around the surrounding bushland and takes you past many interesting examples of former alluvial and reef mining efforts. You will walk by the house sites of John Deason and Richard Oates (the two miners who discovered the Welcome Stranger gold nugget), puddlers, a Chinese grave and the site of a Chinese camp. Read more...

11. Loddon River Weir Walking Track

This scenic walking track along the Loddon River takes about 20 minutes and leads to the base of the Cairn Curran Weir. When flowing, the water from the weir cascades dramatically down over layers of huge rocks - a very impressive sight! The walk itself is a narrow track winding through pretty shrubs and trees alongside the Loddon River. Along the way you will find a rope swing suspended from a tree overhanging the river and hear the lovely sound of unseen rushing water get louder and louder as you progress. Read more...

12. Avoca River Nature Trail

The Avoca River Nature Trail is a beautiful, scenic walk through gorgeous parkland along the banks of the Avoca River. The walk begins at the Lions Club Park. Educational signs alongside the track provide details about the river's history, vegetation, and resident fish. The walking track also takes you past the tranquil Avoca Chinese Garden and the Avoca Skate Park. The track is gravel and is pram friendly. Read more... 

13. Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings

Bring a picnic lunch and take an easy stroll through the Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings in Castlemaine for a fun and educational afternoon. An easy, pram friendly, 400 metre walking track travels in a circuit around the site past many points of interest and detailed information signs. An ancient river bed, mine shafts, the engine shed, water pipes and machinery are among the many fascinating features of this short walk. Read more...

14. Dunolly Dredge Hole Walking Track

Dunolly Dredge Hole, Dunolly VIC

The Dredge Hole in Dunolly is a picturesque little lake surrounded by some bushland, lots of peppercorn trees, and a pleasant walking track. With plenty of great climbing trees and clear grassy areas for the kids to run and play, this is a great spot to bring the family. Read more... 

15. Hard Hill Talbot Recreation Reserve

Looking for a quiet spot for the kids to bring their pushbikes for a race? The Hard Hill Public Recreation Reserve in Talbot is an oval field of attractive shrubs bordered by a dirt road which travels around the reserve in a circuit. The whole area is surrounded by bushland. This peaceful loop of road is fantastic for bushwalking and cycling. Read more...

16. Mount Moliagul Lookout

The top of Mt Moliagul offers spectacular views of the surrounding bushland and fields. The lookout is a large clearing with a steep, grassy slope at one side which is littered with interesting rocks, logs and trees for kids to explore. Read more...

17. Black Hill Reserve

Black Hill Reserve, Ballarat VIC

The Black Hill Reserve in Ballarat is an impressive patch of parkland just minutes from the CBD which offers amazing views over ballarat, remnants of open cut and shaft mining, incredible scenery, beautiful (but steep) walking tracks, picnic tables, and an excellent Mountain Bike Park. Walking tracks head off around the reserve in all directions. The bike tracks are marked with signs - walkers must avoid these tracks for safety. Wooden steps descend down through pine trees into the beautiful open cut gorge, a remnant of the site's mining days. All along the walking tracks you will find gorgeous scenery and some parts open up to offer fantastic views. Read more...

18. Settling Pond Track Picnic Area

Settling Pond Track Picnic Area, Paddys Ranges, Daisy Hill VIC

The Settling Pond Track Picnic Area is a great place to explore Paddys Ranges State Park, a beautiful Box-Ironbark forest which bursts into colour during the spring when the wildflowers bloom. The bushland is filled with remnants and relics of the region's history. A pram friendly walking track takes you from the picnic area to a nearby old Eucalyptus Distillery dam. Read more...

19. Bull Gully Battery Dam and Distillery

The Bull Gully Battery Dam Historic Site is located just outside Maryborough in the Craigie State Forest. The area was used during the gold rush to crush and process quartz from mines in the area. After gold processing operations ceased, some of the equipment was adapted to be used for a eucalyptus distillery. Today it features a picnic area, walking tracks, gold processing and eucalyptus distillery relics, and beautifully illustrated information signs. Read more...    

20. Vaughan Springs

Vaughan Springs, Vaughan VIC

This spectacular park features several free electric barbecues, picnic tables, a gazebo, a giant slide, mineral spring taps, swimming spots, a few great trees for climbing, scenic walks, a miniature railway line within a fenced area (great for little kids), toilets and plenty of educational signs. Children adore the giant hillside slide! There is a sturdy wooden stair case to reach the slide as well as tyres to climb up the hill beside it. Please note that the slide is made of metal and can be very hot in summer, so if visiting in the hotter months be sure to bring a small blanket to sit on while sliding. The creek is excellent for swimming and there's a concreted area with a paddle pool (subject to season/water levels). Read more...

What's your favourite place to explore with the family in the Victorian Goldfields? Let us know in the comments below!




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