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21 amazing day trips from Victoria's Central Goldfields

Posted 28/11/2019 in Adventure
Grand Canyon, Grampians National Park VIC

Do you live in Victoria's Central Goldfields? Check out this collection of 21 amazing day trips and start planning your next adventure! Discover nearby waterfalls, caves, swimming spots, historical sites, gorgeous gold rush towns, beautiful scenery and more. 

Mount Alexander Regional Park

Dog Rocks, Mount Alexander Regional Park, Harcourt North VIC

Take a day trip and explore the natural treasures of the Mount Alexander Regional Park. The mountain was called "Lanjanuc" by the Jaara Jaara people and it was important as a sacred ceremonial ground and a high vantage point. The first European to climb the mountain was Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836. Gold was discovered nearby in 1851 and news of the "Mount Alexander Diggings" swept the world! It quickly became the richest shallow alluvial goldfield ever known in the world and experienced one of the largest gold rushes of the 19th century. Today visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch at Leanganook Campground, explore the stunning rocky outcrop known as Dog Rocks, and appreciate beautiful mountainside views from multiple vantage points including Shepherd's Flat Lookout.

The Cascades

The Cascades, Metcalfe VIC

Take a trip to Metcalfe where 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. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the nearby Metcalfe Recreation Reserve. 

Visit local Waterfalls

Granite Falls, Lal Lal VIC

Although the Victorian Goldfields are typically characterized by dry bushland and sun-baked clay, did you know there are also lots of waterfalls tucked away throughout the region? You can view a list of all the waterfalls in the region here, but many are dry at this time of year. Several local waterfalls do continue to flow later in the year, including: 
A handy way to check water levels of waterfalls before you visit is to search public posts on Instagram for #trenthamfalls, #turpinsfalls, etc. You will often find someone has uploaded a picture of the falls within the last few days or weeks. 

GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK

The Pinnacle, Grampians National Park VIC

The spectacular Grampians National Park is located right next door to the Victorian Goldfields and is one of Victoria's most popular holiday destinations. The park features countless incredible attractions including walks, waterfalls, lookouts, caves, lakes, creeks, and Aboriginal art. Traditionally known as Gariwerd, The Grampians is home to the largest concentration of Aboriginal rock art sites in the state. 
Travel distances to Halls Gap, Grampians National Park:
  • Maryborough to Halls Gap: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Ballarat to Halls Gap: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Bendigo to Halls Gap: 2 hours 20 mins
  • Castlemaine to Halls Gap: 2 hours 15 mins

Melville Caves

Melville Caves, Brenanah VIC

Within Kooyoora State Park in Brenanah, Victoria lie the spectacular Melville Caves, named after notorious bushranger Captain Melville who supposedly used the caves as a hiding place in the mid 1800s. The caves are formed beneath huge boulders which are staggered across the mountainside, and the views from the top are simply breathtaking.

Bridgewater Swimming Hole

Bridgewater Swimming Hole, Bridgewater VIC

The scenic Bridgewater Swimming Hole has been a local favourite for generations, now featuring a beautiful picnic and barbecue area which overlooks the water, and easy riverside walking tracks complete with viewing platforms. The grassy picnic area features an undercover electric barbecue, picnic tables, bench seating, and a toilet block.
Explore Castlemaine and surrounds


Spend the day exploring the treasures of Castlemaine and surrounds.

Carman's Tunnel

Carman's Tunnel, Maldon VIC (image source: www.weekendnotes.com)

Around 1882 the Great International Quartz Mining Company commenced work in Carman's Tunnel, Maldon, in an attempt to drive a tunnel straight through Mt Tarrangower and intersect rich reefs which had been previously mined from shafts on the mountain.  After processing only about 600 metres, work at Carman's Tunnel was abandoned at the end of 1884 after a mere two years of operation. While no gold bearing rock was cut, this tunnel is an excellent example of 1880's mining techniques.

Opened to the public in 1964, you can now book guided, candlelit tours of Carman's Tunnel and explore the unaltered features and techniques of 1880's gold mining. The tour operators are very knowledgeable and passionate about the history of the mine and the local area. Alongside the mine entrance you will find a fascinating collection of information boards, maps, mineral displays and mining machinery.

Prices are amazing at just $7.50 for adults and $2.50 for children.

Lake Eppalock


Lake Eppalock is a vast reservoir which was constructed on the Campaspe River in the 1960s. Lake Eppalock is located just 25 minutes from Bendigo and is a popular destination for boating, water sport, fishing, swimming, bushwalking, barbecues and picnics. There are lots of fantastic visitor facilities at various locations around Lake Eppalock including multiple picnic areas with electric barbecues, public boat ramps, several public toilet blocks, and a kiosk. Camping facilities are provided in multiple caravan parks around Lake Eppalock. Please note that free camping is not permitted around the reservoir. 
  • Lake Eppalock - this page links to many fantastic swimming, boating, fishing and barbecue spots around Lake Eppalock

Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens


The Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens in Ballarat East commemorate one of Australia's most defining historical events - the Eureka Stockade Rebellion of December 3, 1854. The park is extensive and has many excellent features including a musical playground, fantastic barbecue and picnic facilities, sweeping green lawns, and a scenic lake and walking track. The beautiful gardens are also home to a cafe and the Eureka Centre, where the iconic Eureka Flag can be viewed.

Explore Daylesford and surrounds


Spend a day in Daylesford exploring beautiful parks, scenery and mineral springs.

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. Calembeen Park features a multi-level diving tower, a separate shallow swimming area, walking tracks, beautiful scenery and more. Excellent barbecue and picnic facilities are located on a sloping lawn overlooking the lakes. There are plenty of other places to explore around Creswick while you are there.


Explore Inglewood

Pioneers Memorial Park, Inglewood VIC

Visit the grand gold rush town of Inglewood and explore gorgeous 19th century architecture, quaint yesteryear shops, boutique wineries and a Eucalyptus Distillery Museum. 

Redbank Alpacas at Blue Gum Rise


This fantastic Alpaca farm is open to visitors in Redbank, Victoria, and offers the opportunity to feed, pet, and walk with their herd of twenty five (and counting!) gorgeous pedigree alpacas. Owners Debra and Andrew have been raising, breeding, and showing alpacas for several years and are very knowledgeable about their beautiful animals. Redbank Alpacas is conveniently located along the Sunraysia Highway between Redbank and Stuart Mill. It's an easy 30 minute drive from Maryborough, and just over an hour's drive from Ballarat and Bendigo.

Sisters Rocks

Sisters Rocks, Stawell VIC

Sisters Rocks are a huge cluster of enormous granite boulders heaped in the bush alongside the Western Highway, a few kilometres from Victorian gold mining town, Stawell. The rocks are spectacular and have been a popular tourist and picnic destination since settlement in the area during the 19th century. Sisters Rocks are fantastic for climbing! You can make your way between and beneath the rocks through a series of amazing cave-like chambers, much the same as those at Melville Caves in Brenanah, Victoria. 

Graffiti artists have decorated the rocks as high as they can reach with interesting pictures, slogans and names. Opinions are divided over this graffiti - some say that the paint has ruined the natural beauty of the rocks, while others insist that the art serves as a unique guestbook and only enhances the attraction of this popular spot. Some of the graffiti dates back to the 19th century and can certainly be seen as a historical record of sorts. This activity is unique to Sisters Rocks, none of the other rocky outcrops of the region have been given this treatment.

Mount Franklin

Mount Franklin, Mount Franklin VIC

A gorgeous and peaceful campground rests within the scenic crater of an extinct volcano at Mount Franklin. Bordered by conifer forest, the crater has been decorated with ornamental trees such as Silver Birch, White Poplar, Sycamore and Californian Redwoods. A large, central lawn area is surrounded by a ring of campsites with picnic tables and wood fire barbecues. A toilet block and water tank/tap is located close to the entrance of the campground.

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. The gorgeous park and gardens are located right across the road from the infamous J Ward Asylum, making it a great spot for visitors to relax and picnic after taking tours of the impressive historic asylum.

Mount Korong

Mount Korong, Glenalbyn VIC

Mount Korong is a beautiful granite outcrop located between Inglewood and Wedderburn. Countless gigantic boulders are heaped across the mountain and surrounding hills, creating unique shapes, caverns and spectacular scenery. A short climb up any hillside is rewarded with stunning views down over the rocky landscape. 

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.

Explore Lal Lal


Spend a day in Lal Lal near Ballarat exploring waterfalls, the remains of an iron mine and blast furnace, Lal Lal Reservoir, Bungal Dam and the Bungal Historic Area. 

Quartz Mountain Geological Reserve

Quartz Mountain, Lillicur VIC

Quartz Mountain Geological Reserve, also known as Amherst Reef, Big Reef and Big Hill Reef, is an impressive reserve in Lillicur, not far from Talbot VIC. The reserve features the largest outcrop of pure quartz rock remaining in Victoria. The reef forms a north-south ridge approximately 0.8 km long. Huge masses of quartz stand over six metres high and in one spot a massive forty tonne boulder balances perilously atop the reef. You can see evidence of old mining operations in the form of a deep mine shaft covered by a steel grate and an old adit going in from the east side. These mining efforts were made in the 19th century and had very limited success. The site was abandoned in favour of more profitable areas, leaving this spectacular reef intact for us to see today.

What's your favourite day trip from the Central Goldfields? Let us know in the comments below! 


 

 

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