Goldfield’s and Spa Country Self Drive
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Goldfield’s and Spa Country Self Drive
When gold was discovered in Victoria over 150 years ago it left a rich and legacy in almost every town in the Goldfields.
Today visitors can tour the majestic Victorian streetscapes of thriving regional cities Bendigo and Ballarat or explore delightful villages such as Maldon, Castlemaine, Heathcote, and Dunolly.
Discover gold rush history at one of the region’s historic attractions. Sovereign Hill and the Central Deborah Gold Mine offer fascinating insights into Victoria’s thriving gold rush life during the 1850s and 1860s.
The Goldfields region is an arts and cultural haven boasting outstanding galleries with rich collections of local and European art. Wander through two of Australia’s finest regional galleries – the Art Gallery of Ballarat and Bendigo Art Gallery.
Seek out smaller private collections, contemporary art galleries, and artist studios dotted all over the region.
Take a break from exploring the Goldfields and sample fabulous local produce at cafes and restaurants across the region.
Visit stellar restaurants making use of the region’s fine fresh produce and join the locals embracing cafe culture.
Sample locally produced wines, olives, apples, cheeses, and more, direct from the farm gates and provedores. Get a taste for Heathcote’s famous shiraz and new varieties at cellar doors in the Ballarat, Bendigo, and Heathcote wine regions.
Explore the region’s outdoors along the 210-kilometer Goldfields Track or wander through one of the many stately gardens in the area, some dating back to the 1860s.
Self-Drive Itinerary from Melbourne
Let us organise for you to collect your car hire from the airport or Melbourne city and take a drive out to the Goldfields and Spa Country for a couple of days.
Day 1 – Melbourne to Ballarat
Pick up your car hire and head out to Sovereign Hill which is about 90 minutes away.
Sovereign Hill Museum
Sovereign Hill is a living museum presenting the story of Ballarat as a gold rush boomtown. Gold was discovered here in 1851, triggering the greatest alluvial gold rush the world has ever known. The sleepy pastoral settlement of Ballarat grew rapidly into a fine provincial city built on the wealth derived from its gold.
Covering 15 hectares of a former gold mining site, Sovereign Hill’s Outdoor Museum brings the gold rushes to life through a living township with diggings, underground mines, costumed characters, coach rides and 1850s shops, trades, schools, and dwellings.
The Outdoor Museum experience is supported by a traditional Gold Museum and AURA, an evening sound-and-light show illustrating the history and importance of gold in our region.
- If you want to do the night show, head to Ballarat first for some exploring and then do the night show that evening.
Complete your goldrush adventure with a unique Sovereign Hill evening experience.
AURA is our spectacular new sound-and-light show, and the Lamplight Tour guides you through an exploration of the darker side of goldfields life.
Admission Prices from :$61.00 per adult // $27.00 per child
Continue to explore Ballarat and visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park, or The Art Gallery of Ballarat (Australia’s Oldest regional gallery), Ballarat Botanical Gardens, Eureka Centre Ballarat, Creswick Wollen Mills.
So much to see and do, stay 1 or even 2 nights.
We have a few suggested Accommodation options for your stops along the way, we also can tailor your accommodation options depending on your overnight location, requirements, and budget.
Option 1 – Overnight at Craig Royal Hotel Ballarat
Located on historic Lydiard Street in the heart of beautiful Ballarat, Craig’s Royal Hotel is a destination.
The legendary Australian gold-rush era grand hotel is a true icon of the Victorian period. Opening in 1853, it has played host to poets, princes, and prime ministers over its 160-year history. Now, after extensive restoration, the magnificent accommodation, dining experiences, and business facilities offered are also establishing Craig’s as a modern-day icon.
Stay in one of the 41 luxurious rooms or suites, where elaborate attention to detail is evident in every finishing. Enjoy a coffee and cake in Craig’s Larder café, or a drink in the legendary Craig’s bar, with its antique carved Australian cedar detail. Dine-in The Gallery Restaurant, where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch basking in the sun-drenched conservatory or dinner under the stars.
Option 2 – Overnight at The Provincial Ballarat
The Provincial Hotel sits pretty on Ballarat’s historic Lydiard Street. Built in 1909 the iconic building, recognised by the National Trust, has housed a myriad of publicans and hoteliers, each enriching the hotel with greater grandeur.
Identifying a market for luxury, boutique Ballarat accommodation, coupled with service guaranteed to exceed expectation, Simon and Gorgi Coghlan found the canvas they had been looking for in the form of The Provincial Hotel.
Early in 2018, Simon, a leader of regional Victoria’s hospitality industry, and Gorgi, a media personality with a penchant for design and beautiful styling, brought their vision to life…
Day 2 or 3 – Ballarat to the Hepburn Shire
After finishing exploring Ballarat, head out to the Hepburn Shire for a night or two.
Hepburn is the ‘Spa Capital of Australia’. Hepburn Springs is world-famous for providing traditional wellness bathing and sparkling waters since 1895.
Renowned for indulgence, relaxation, and its spectacular heritage buildings, parks, reserves, and native forests it is a favourite with local and international visitors and tourists.
Mention the word ‘Daylesford’ to people who’ve been there and you’re likely to notice a dreamy, faraway look in their eyes.
That’s the remembrance of time spent in one of Victoria’s most romantic and relaxing towns, a place seemingly uniquely designed to heal what ails you.
Whether it’s physical sustenance at one of Daylesford’s award-winning eateries, or spiritual nourishment in world-famous mineral springs and spa resorts, you’ll leave Daylesford planning your next return.
Natural attractions abound in Daylesford, from the stately gardens of Wombat Hill Botanical Park, to the superb serenity of Lake Daylesford, to the rugged terrain and trails of Hepburn Regional Park.
In Daylesford, browse the galleries exhibiting local and international work beneath the soaring ceilings of the Convent Gallery.
Enjoy exquisite local produce at Daylesford’s Lake House or visit the Farmers Arms, Daylesford Hotel or Kyneton’s Royal George Hotel for restaurant-quality tucker in gastropub surrounds. Cliffy’s in Daylesford does a fine trade in gourmet pantry delights and and Larder and Koukla Cafe turn out great coffee and brunch options.
Kyneton’s Piper Street is lined with great cafes and restaurants.
Hepburn Springs: Not only was it founded by Swiss-Italian immigrants, but like that famous Swiss spa town, Hepburn sits smack in the middle of the highest concentration of mineral springs in the country.
There’s no better place to rest, rejuvenate, and relax. Unwind in a local spa, ‘take the waters’, or give your weary muscles over to the hands of some of Australia’s best healers and massage therapists.
And when you’re fully refreshed, get out and see the rest of this historic town with its restored Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco architecture, charming cafes, and quirky galleries. Explore the springs and trails of Hepburn Regional Park, hike the Tipperary Track, and venture forth Mount Franklin Reserve, Hepburn Regional Park, and the Old Hepburn Pool.
Or combine a round of golf with a wildlife safari at the 18 hole Hepburn Springs Golf Club, where you’ll more than likely play through a mob of mildly curious kangaroos.
Hepburn Boat House and Spa
Hepburn Springs’ only historic Bathhouse, has been providing traditional wellness bathing since 1895.
Drawing mineral rich waters directly from the natural source, this century-old phenomena delivers a health-for-life experience of rejuvenation, relaxation, and enhanced overall wellbeing.
Many different mineral and spa experiences to enjoy.
For those who would like to experience Nature Head to the
Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve
Bring an empty water bottle and fill up on your favourite mineral waters from Australia’s first mineral reserve, created in 1865. Visitors can sample water from the Soda, Sulphur, Locarno, Wyuna, and (a couple of kilometres’ walk away) Argyle springs. The reserve is a delightful picnic and walking area, with a playground for the kids, barbecues, graded walking trails, the Pavilion Cafe, and the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa.
Option 1 – Overnight at Peppers Mineral Spring Hotel
Experience Victoria’s Spa Country from the comforts of an elegant 1930’s Daylesford hotel, transformed into a deluxe retreat that seamlessly blends heritage architecture, contemporary interiors, and the lush countryside.
Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel takes Daylesford accommodation to another level. Experience European-like vistas, award-winning dining, a multi-award winning day spa and a Tuscan inspired Villa for a continental-tinged escape, wedding or conference.
This unique accommodation in Daylesford represents simple luxury, Italian style.
Option 2 – Overnight at The Dudley Boutique Hotel
Perched right at the edge of the forest grounds where nature is literally at your doorstep, it can be hard to put your finger on what makes
The Dudley Boutique Hotel so special. Perhaps it is the luxury beds that are made for long lie-ins, could it be the help-yourself treats when you need a midnight feast, or the decor and styling of Old meets New, or the fact that this Hotel only has six rooms.
Either way, keeping things small means this boutique hotel is big on luxury.
Day 3 – Hepburn to Macedon Ranges to Melbourne
On your way back to Melbourne head through the Macedon Ranges and visit some cellar doors or breweries on your way back to Melbourne, or why not follow the old Cobb and Co stage Coach route.
Kick off the morning with a one-hour horse-drawn vintage carriage ride through the historic hamlet of Carlsruhe (approx 40 minutes from Hepburn Springs)
Established in 1837, Carlsruhe is on the old Cobb & Co stage coach route to the Bendigo goldfields.
On this ride you’ll pass historic landmarks including a pre-gold rush hotel, school, church and goldfields toll road markers.
You can choose to ride in an authentic 1890s ‘canoe front buggy wagonette’, or a larger wagonette with canopy that seats up to 6 average size adult passengers.
Then head to the village of Woodend which is only 15 minutes from Carlsruhe.
In addition to a fantastic children’s adventure playground with excellent undercover BBQ facilities, there are a couple of great pubs for lunch.
The Victoria Hotel has a cracker kiddies menu, a fireplace for cold days, and a beer garden for sunny sessions.
Or try nearby Holgate Brewhouse, with a sophisticated on-site distillery to brew their own boutique beers, classic pub fare, and a popular beer garden.
With lunch under your belt, it’s time to get those legs moving.
Hanging Rock is only a ten-minute drive from Woodend and is well-known for its amazing volcanic rock formations and views from the summit.
The summit walk is approximately 50 minutes return and is reasonably easy for people of average fitness. May take longer with young children in tow! However, you don’t have to make it all the way to the summit to experience unique rock formations and beautiful scenery.
Afterwards, pop by the Hanging Rock Cafe for a coffee, baby chino and an afternoon tea snack before making your way back to Melbourne.
The cafe boasts a roaring fireplace on chilly days and an al fresco dining area under the gum trees perfect for warmer months.
Arrive back in Melbourne late afternoon to drop off your car hire.
4 day car hire from $115.00