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Stage 3 - Go for a drive in the Victorian Goldfields!

Posted 16/08/2020 in Things to do

Looking for something to do during lockdown? Why not go for a drive in the Victorian Goldfields? If you are in regional Victoria under stage 3 restrictions, and live in or close to the Victorian Goldfields, we've got a huge collection of roadside attractions, lookouts and scenic drives for you to check out, all from the safety of your car!

Under stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria you are allowed to go for a random drive to get out of the house, but the DHHS website states that recreational driving "should not involve leaving your vehicle for any purpose except for the four reasons (shopping for necessary goods or services, care, caregiving or compassionate reasons, exercise, and work or study)" (Source: DHHS).

Remember that although sport or exercise is one of the four reasons, "you should use the parks and public spaces which are closest to your home" (source: DHHS). So if you've gone for a drive and end up an hour from home, you are not able to exit your car for sport or recreation as you are too far from home. 

Things to consider before going for a drive:
  • If you need fuel, visit your local petrol station. Do not get out of the car in a different town to get fuel. 
  • Pack a picnic lunch as you are not allowed to exit the car to purchase food on your drive.
  • Plan ahead and purchase picnic lunch and snack ingredients as part of your regular grocery shopping, so you don't need to make extra trips to the shops.
  • Remember to bring a mask - you need to wear masks even when talking to people through the window of your car, which includes purchasing food or drinks at a drive through.
  • Stopping for a toilet break is not one of the valid reasons to leave your car if you've gone for a drive, so make sure you use the toilet before you leave home and do not plan to be out for too long. 
  • Do not get out of your car to read information signs at any of these places - you will find information about them on this website (links provided below) and the text on most information signs can be found on these pages as well. 
With that said, check out this huge collection of great places you can explore in the Victorian Goldfields without leaving your car!


Drive through the spectacular Mount Korong Nature Conservation Reserve, Glenalbyn VIC

Stunning scenery at 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 dirt road travels around the reserve in a loop. Two wheel drive vehicles can make it into the reserve in dry conditions, but are advised to turn right at the entrance and travel anti-clockwise through the reserve as there are some steep, bumpy sections which may be impossible to climb if travelling the other way. The road is very uneven and gets steep towards the end, so keep this in mind when considering taking your car in. Four wheel drives will have no issues travelling through the reserve. 



Drive around the beautiful St Georges Lake, Creswick VIC

St George's Lake, Creswick VIC

Take a scenic drive around Creswick's beautiful St George's Lake, where St George's Lake Road winds its way around offering plenty of views over the water. Keep an eye out for the small mining tunnel which heads into the ground beside the road on the far side of the lake, and have a look over the landscape at George's Diggings, marked with a roadside sign. 



Take a scenic drive through Steiglitz, VIC

Historic Court House at Steiglitz, VIC

The gorgeous gold mining town of Steiglitz is nestled away alongside the Brisbane Ranges National Park, and is filled with remnants of its rich golden past. Take a scenic drive through the town and take a look at the beautiful heritage buildings, the impressive Steiglitz Court House, the Blacksmiths Cottage, and the beautiful heritage buildings along Regent Street. 



Drive to the Geographical Centre of Victoria, near Bendigo VIC


Take a drive to the exact geographical centre of Victoria about 8km from Bendigo. A plaque marks the spot, and you can pull up right alongside it. Take a look at the beautiful stone Mandurang Uniting Church which stands alongside the parking area, but do not exit your car for a closer look (the building itself is privately owned anyway). 



Take in the views from Mount Moliagul Lookout, Moliagul VIC

Views from the top of Mount Moliagul, Moliagul VIC

Drive to the top of Mount Moliagul to take in the stunning views over surrounding forests and fields. A large parking area at the top allows visitors to appreciate the lookout without even leaving their car. Take Mount Moliagul Road (a steep gravel road) all the way to the top. 



Check out Waanyarra's roadside graves and Morton's Welcome Inn, Waanyarra VIC

Morton's Welcome Inn, Waanyarra VIC

From Bridgewater-Dunolly Road, follow Waanyarra Cemetery Road to check out the fascinating graves lining the road outside the historical Waanyarra Cemetery. 

A grave alongside the road in Waanyarra VIC.

From the graves, continue along the road until it turns into Morton's Lane, where you'll find the impressive remains of Morton's Welcome Inn, built by convict Michael Morton in 1850. The building is located right alongside the road on the left, you'll get a great view from your car window!

Click for more information on the Lonely Graves of Waanyarra and Morton's Welcome Inn.


Check out the State Gold Battery, Gold Puddler, and Lone Grave at Wedderburn, VIC

State Gold Battery at Wedderburn VIC

Head over to Wedderburn and drive by the interesting State Gold Battery, which stands right alongside the road at the entrance to the Hard Hill Tourist Reserve. Known as "New Hope", the battery was paid for by the government and opened in 1905 in hopes that it would lead to a revival of mining in the Wedderburn area.

If you drive in to the Hard Hill Tourist Reserve, you can get a view of the eucalyptus stew pot and a reconstructed gold puddler from the parking area. 

Reconstructed gold puddler at the Hard Hill Tourist Reserve, Wedderburn VIC

While you're in Wedderburn, head out into the bush on Bernarra Street to check out the roadside lone grave of Thomas Whyte, a miner during the gold rush who died here in 1855.




Take the scenic drive around Daylesford's Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens

Adorable statue at the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Daylesford VIC

The Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens in Daylesford is set atop an extinct volcano and offers beautiful scenery, a vast display of plants, and an enchanted atmosphere. The vehicle entrance off Central Springs Road takes you on an unmissable scenic drive around the gardens! 



Check out the impressive Cornish boilers at the Battery Dam and Distillery, Daisy Hill VIC

Cornish boilers at the Battery Dam and Distillery, Daisy Hill VIC

Take a drive into the Craigie State Forest just outside Maryborough and pull up right alongside the historic Battery Dam and Distillery site. The stamp battery which once stood here was powered by steam supplied by a Cornish boiler (the one set in stone - the second boiler was brought to the site at a later date), and was used 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. The parking area is right alongside these impressive boilers. 



Pull up alongside Bell's Cottage, just outside Tarnagulla VIC

Bell's Cottage, Llanelly VIC

This beautiful stone cottage lies just out of Tarnagulla, a gorgeous little town within the Loddon Shire. Built in 1937 by WW1 veteran Herbert Bell before he served in WW2, the cottage is an impressive testament to Bell's determination and hard work. Bell gathered the stones with his bicycle and cut the timbers for the doorways and gables from the surrounding iron bark trees using a one man cross cut saw and broad axe. Bell's Cottage is located alongside the Wimmera Highway, and you can pull up right beside to cottage to admire its impressive stonework and charming aesthetics.



Drive up Mount Warrenheip, with views over Kryal Castle and beyond

Mount Warrenheip, Dunnstown VIC

The Mount Warrenheip Nature Conservation Reserve is a forested inactive volcano located 10km from Ballarat, Victoria. A bitumen road winds its way up around the mountain through beautiful scenery before opening up into a large gravel parking area at the top. Views are limited from the top of the mountain due to the trees surrounding the parking area, however there are several roadside parking spots on the way up which offer gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside. The unique and impressive Kryal Castle is located at the foot of Mount Warrenheip. The road up the mountain takes you behind the castle and offers a fine view over the castle walls and turrets!



Take a drive through Castlemaine, Chewton and Campbells Creek


One of the most significant gold rush areas of the Victorian Goldfields, Castlemaine and surrounds has a great collection of roadside attractions to explore from the safety of your car.

Take a drive out to the impressive site of the Garfield Water Wheel at Chewton, view the fascinating roadside Castlemaine Anticlinal Fold, drive up to the Burke and Wills Monument and check out the views over Castlemaine from your car window, stop in at the Monster Meeting Site where thousands of diggers gathered in protest in 1851, have a look at the Miners Statue in the centre of the Forest Street and Hargraves Street roundabout, and take a drive into the Castlemaine General Cemetery to check out the beautiful wall of headstones which runs alongside the road. 


Take the scenic drive up Mount Franklin

Forested crater of Mount Franklin, VIC

Drive up into 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. The best views from Mount Franklin are offered from the road as you ascend to the top, making this a great place to head out for a drive! 

Mount Franklin was created by a volcanic eruption about 470,000 years ago. The caldera (a large volcanic crater, especially one formed by a major eruption leading to the collapse of the mouth of the volcano) is one of the deepest in the Central Highlands. Lava flow from Mount Franklin and other volcanoes in the area had buried the gold-bearing creeks that would become the 'deep leads' sought out and excavated by gold miners.



Check out the Porcupine Flat Gold Dredge, near Maldon VIC

Impressive Gold Dredge at Porcupine Flat, VIC

This abandoned gold dredge and dragline lies right alongside the road near Maldon. A gravel parking area sits right alongside the dragline, and you can view the dredge across the water from the roadside. Mr George Heywood started working the site in 1958 where he developed the dredge operation on Porcupine Creek. He purchased the dredge sometime after 1958, although it may not have been operational until after 1973. Operations continued with moderate success until 1984.



Have a look at the massive ancient tree at Big Tree Park, Guildford VIC

Spectacular tree at Big Tree Park, Guildford VIC

Big Tree Park in Guildford, Victoria is home to a spectacular, ancient River Red Gum thought to be somewhere between 500 to 1,000 years old. Thought to be one of the largest examples of the species in Victoria, it has been recorded as having a height of 30m, a canopy spread of 34m, and trunk circumference of 9.35m.



Drive up to the One Tree Hill Lookout, Ararat VIC

Check out the views from your car at One Tree Hill, Ararat VIC

One Tree Hill is a lookout point at the edge of Ararat Hills Regional Park, which offers spectacular panoramic views over the town of Ararat and surrounding areas. A narrow road climbs One Tree Hill and opens up at the top as a large gravel parking area.



Check out the poppet head at the Red, White and Blue Recreation Area, Muckleford VIC

Poppet head at the Red, White and Blue Recreation Area, Muckleford VIC

The historic mine at the Red, White and Blue Recreation Area is a sight to behold, featuring a poppet head complete with winding wheels and remains of timberwork, a mine shaft, machinery site, mullock heap and dams. The poppet head was originally from the Bendigo Deborah United Mine. You can drive right up alongside the poppet head to take a look without leaving your car!



Drive to Melville Caves and Barrys Rock, Brenanah VIC

Barrys Rock, Brenanah VIC

Take a drive through bushranger country and take in the beautiful scenery of the Kooyoora State Park. Although you cannot drive right up to the Melville Caves lookout, the drive up Melville Caves Road takes you through plenty of gorgeous scenery. Be sure to stop in for a look at Barrys Rock along the way! The caves are named after notorious bushranger Captain Melville who supposedly used the caves as a hiding place and lookout in the mid 19th century. 



Drive to the discovery site of the Welcome Stranger, the world's largest alluvial gold nugget ever found

Monument commemorating the discovery of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget, Moliagul VIC

Head out to the bushland of Moliagul to check out the discovery site of the world famous Welcome Stranger, the largest alluvial gold nugget ever discovered! Cornish miners John Deason and Richard Oates unearthed the massive gold nugget in 1869, and it was found mere inches beneath the surface! You can check out the monument and the large surfaced area from your car window. 



Check out the massive stone arch of the Grand Duke Mine, Timor VIC

Remains of the pump house at the Grand Duke Mine, Timor VIC

The Grand Duke Mine in Timor was renowned for its massive pumping engine. This impressive arch is all that remains of the pump house that used to remove water from this mine. The pumping engine's building has beam walls six feet wide and over 26 feet long which rest on foundations 16 feet deep. The granite used to construct the arch was quarried at Mt Hooghly, some eight or nine kilometres away. You can get a great view from the parking area off Grand Duke Mine Road.


Head out to Carisbrook and check out the gorgeous historic Log Gaol

Carisbrook's gorgeous Log Gaol.

This original log gaol is located right alongside Bucknall Street in Carisbrook VIC, and is a fascinating piece of local history! The gaol was originally located in the police paddock, but was moved in 1873 when the Carisbrook Primary School was opened on Camp Street, and again moved in the early 1900's to its present site. You can pull up right beside the gaol to take a look from your car window. 



What are your favourite drives in the Victorian Goldfields? Let us know in the comments below!


 

 

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