Central Goldfields

In 1851 the Gold Rush began in central Victoria, with gold strikes drawing thousands of prospectors from all corners of the world to this area in search of wealth. The Gold Rush has left behind a rich and lasting legacy within towns in the region, particularly in the larger cities of Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine. Beautiful architecture, grand public buildings, statues, fountains and exquisite gardens are all features of those cities.

Touring through Central Victoria you'll pass sights that are signatures of the region today - historic bluestone buildings, boutique shops with windows full of treats, sighposts to cellar doors and fresh farm produce, reflecting the impressive array of wineries and fruit-growing orchards in the region.

Around Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges is the largest concentration of natural mineral springs in the country. Their therapeutic waters are a major drawcard, and a thriving industry has been built around physical and spiritual wellness including spa treatments, massages and acupuncture.

How To Get There

Ballarat is on the eastern perimeter of the Central Goldfields region, so travellers are advised to take the Western Freeway from Melbourne.

To visit Kilmore or Heathcote, take the Hume Freeway as far as Wallan, where you branch off onto the McIvor Highway. For most other destinations, take the Calder Freeway. Midland Highway links Ballarat to Castlemaine, Bendigo and then Echuca, on the Murray River and NSW border.

The major towns of the Central Goldfields are all accessible by train from Melbourne, and make excellent single day destinatioons from the capital. Trains depart from Melbourne's Southern Cross Station at regular intervals throughout the day.

Best Time To Go

As Victoria has a temperate climate, there is no one season or month that the visitor needs to avoid, except perhaps summer (December - February), if you find hot weather unbearable. In and around Melbourne, which gets more cloud and disturbed weather despite a lower rainfall, sunshine hours per day in winter (June - August) are three to four as against seven to eight in summer. Cold spells are brief and never severe on the coast, and temperatures can drop much lower inland in winter.

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