Heathcote became a major gold rush town following the discovery of gold in 1852 at McIvor Creek. At the height of the rush there were around 35,000 people in the town, some living in shanties on the fields, and the town had three breweries, several wineries and a bacon factory. Fair enough too. After a hard day mining, wouldn’t YOU want a bacon sandwich?
You can find most of Heathcote’s shops, restaurants and cafes on the long strip called High Street. Wander the old-fashioned, well-preserved colonial buildings, browse some art works at Mona Lisa Gallery, tuck into some European cuisine as the sun goes down in one of the restaurants or watch a local theatre performance at the RSL Hall.
When it’s wine time, take a trip to the local cellar doors – including some that are right on High Street. Shiraz is one of Heathcote’s specialties! Drop into Heathcote Winery, right in the middle of town, for a wine-tasting session and some local meals made with fresh produce. If you’re around in October, don’t miss the Heathcote Food and Wine Festival. Over one weekend, more than 40 wine producers get together in the Agricultural Showgrounds and offer up over a hundred wines for tasting, complete with live music and heaps of amazing food.
The Pink Cliffs Reserve is one of Heathcote’s most recognisable attractions. These brightly coloured ’cliffs’ are actually scars in the earth caused by sluicing operations during the gold rush. You can wander the little gorges along the walking tracks and do a spot of bird-watching. And that’s not the only walking track in Heathcote. There’s also a Burke and Wills track, and the walk from Viewing Rock – which has excellent views of the town – to Devil’s Cave, a shelter for both Aborigines and gold miners.
Like the sound of Heathcote? Why not take a day trip to Bendigo, just 33 minutes’ drive away? With its amazing-looking streets full of fancy buildings, and exciting arts and dining, it’s another gold rush town worth trying your luck in. Start the journey now, and dig deeper into our Heathcote accommodation.
Hotels in Heathcote start at AU$129 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.