The self proclaimed "hot-rod" capital of Victoria, car enthusiasts will have plenty on their plate as they tour the numerous private collections throughout the city. As you drive, soak in the grandeur of the rich streets - a lasting reminder of the immense prosperity of the gold mining days. You will spot impressive architecture and classic Victorian buildings on almost every corner. The first stop for history lovers is the Theatre Royale, the oldest continuously operating theatre in Australia. First built in 1857, it has been running ever since.
To get your bearings, drop by the visitors information centre in the Castlemaine Market. A true showcase of the gold rush days, this building has been around since 1862. If peace and quiet are more your thing, visit one of the oldest gardens in Victoria. The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens is home to ancient elm and oak trees that have been standing for over a hundred years. An afternoon spent in their shade is a fantastic way to unwind after a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants in town.
Just outside of Castlemaine, the real feel of the gold rush days is preserved with the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. Boasting over 7,500 hectares of beautiful countryside, you can even check out relics of the gold mining era. Grab a fossicking licence and see if you have any luck discovering your own fortune. The farmers' market is a must see and held on the first Sunday of every month (except January). Here, you can stock up on delicious fresh produce that is all locally grown.
Castlemaine is only 120 kilometres northwest of Melbourne and 40 kilometres fromBendigo. Book your Castlemaine hotel today and start planning an ideal weekend trip. Get away from the rate race and explore this historic region, you may even discover a little bit of gold rush fever in yourself.
Hotels in Castlemaine start at AU$100 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.