Stawell was first settled as Pleasant Creek in 1853 when William McLachlan found gold there. In 1858, the government renamed it Stawell after the chief justice of Victoria, Sir William Foster Stawell. The Magdala Mine opened in the 1980s and since then it’s remained one of the biggest working gold mines in Victoria.
The Grampians National Park is definitely a major local attraction. At 167,000 hectares, it’s one of Victoria’s largest national parks and has over 160km of walking tracks. You’ll see wildflowers, rugged cliffs, waterfalls and authentic Aboriginal rock paintings, like Billimina Shelter at Buandik Falls. Take the loop walk to the top of Chatauqua Peak for an awesome view of Fyan’s Valley. There are some lakes around you can swim in, and if you like your scenic views with a shot of adrenaline, you can abseil or climb the rock faces. Mount Arapiles has over 2,500 routes to the top ranging from easy to hard.
Prefer a relaxing day in town? No problem. Visit the Railway Station Gallery, housed in an old railway station from 1877, to see paintings and sculptures from local artists. Casper’s World in Miniature is a particularly interesting place to visit, with small-scale models of landmarks from around the world like the Eiffel Tower and pyramids, along with picnic and BBQ areas. Of course, there are also the shops, cafes and restaurants of the town centre to check out. There’s even fast food if you want it.
If you want to burn off the calories after a big meal, there’s one particularly unique way to do it: enter the Stawell Gift. Held at Central Park over the Easter long weekend each April, this 120m race is run up a slight incline on a grass track. Running since 1878, it draws fitness fans from across the globe every year.
While you’re here, don’t forget to drop into Halls Gap, a little town between the mountain peaks of the Grampians National Park. You can kick back with a coffee at a cafe in front of Stony Creek, visit the Grampians Adventure Golf Club or visit the Halls Gap Zoo, the biggest regional zoo in Victoria.
Book a flight to Melbourne with us and it’s only about three hours to get to Stawell by car. Wot are you waiting for? Put on those running shoes and make a dash for our Stawell accommodation for a Grampians stay that’s gold.
Hotels in Stawell start at AU$76 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.