November - December is Giranul (Perch) & Wirrap (Cod) Time! This is an especially beautiful time of year in the heart of Victoria so working up an appetite for dinner, show, a movie and a band is highly recommended, with plenty of action during the days at agricultural shows, horse racing carnivals, swap meets and outdoor festivals. For accommodation bookings and more information about the towns and shires mentioned below see: Bendigo Regional Tourism; Visit Maryborough; Castlemaine Maldon Tourism; Visit Hepburn Shire
Friday November 16 – head to Castlemaine, stretch your legs, work up an appetite
Well marked paths and wildlife abound in the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
If you’ve got the dogs with you, you’ll all have a great walk along the Goldfields Track a point-to-point 210km track that takes mountain bikers and bushwalkers through some of central Victoria's most historic towns and beautiful forests
Greater Bendigo National Park, the 60 kilometre Bendigo Bushland Trail goes through part of the park, and the Great Dividing Trail begins here, linking Bendigo, Castlemaine and Ballarat
Castlemaine’s Botanic Gardens, originally designed by Baron von Muller, feature National Trust listed trees, a playground and a bushland too
Have an early bite then see a show
Plenty of food on offer from noodles in Barker Street to fancy nosh at Bistro Lola. Try the local brew at Shedshaker and, depending on your evening’s entertainment preferences, put your head in the door of the Theatre Royal or Phee Broadway Theatre
Take the short drive to Bendigo to see Dendron by CreateAbility, a mixed ability performance company premiering a new work courtesy of Creative Victoria and the RCC at the Ulumbarra Theatre
Saturday November 17 - meander Mount Alexander Shire then continue to Bendigo for YAPENYA
There are plenty of things to do and places to visit before heading to Bendigo for an evening of YAPENYA including a swim in the place the locals call “the res” Golden Point Reservoir. Or just take a walk in one of the places we suggested for yesterday.
Options for a café breakfast – Fig, Saffs and Togs all fit the bill
Take the short meander from Castlemaine to Maldon and on to Newstead for antiques, heritage buildings and art
Drop into the beautiful Buda Historic Home & Garden Open Wed to Sat 12:00pm – 5:00 pm; Sundays & Public Holidays 10:00am- 5:00pm; admission applies
Shades of Gray is open on November weekends - admire the rusty wire sculpture you may have seen in magazines including Vogue Living, Country Style, InsideOut and Marie Claire
Allow time to travel to Bendigo for some exploration of RCC art initiatives and YAPENYA see below.
Wild & Tamed, works by Carolyn Dew & Rhys Jones, Arnold Street Gallery, Bendigo
Mrs Larritt in Upside Down Country an exhibition by Catherine Pilgrim, Dudley House, Bendigo
Robert Milton, Military Artist: Bendigo’s continuing contribution to the Australian Defence Force, Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum, Bendigo
YAPENYA means to dance, to sing; ceremony in Dja Dja Wurrung language. Through bloodline and kinship, the people belonging to the heart of Victoria are the Dja Dja Wurrung. Their Country is a cultural landscape that is more than just tangible objects; imprinted in it are the Dreaming stories, law, totemic relationships, songs, ceremonies and ancestral spirits, which give it life and value. YAPENYA is a new performance ceremony presenting new songs and new dances by Dja Dja Wurrung, the Traditional Owners of the heart of Victoria. Rosalind Park, Bendigo, free event
Sunday November 18 - meander the Central Goldfields from Mount Alexander
If you’re a car enthusiast you may want to drop by the massive Bendigo Swap Meet – the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere attracting over 30,000 motoring enthusiasts. But after that get out into the region:
Heading south-west you will find Booktown on Sundays in Clunes and the renowned Talbot Farmers Market (third Sundays). Clunes has recently unveiled a new sculpture commissioned by Hepburn Shire and is home to some wonderful places to stop including the Bottle Museum and of course that plethora of bookshops.
Meander back east, not forgetting to stop off at Smeaton’s Anderson’s Mill, the Tuki Trout Farm and take note of the seven volcanic hills that watch over your journey through the grassy plans. If the weather is right, you will NOT MISS the YELLOW, YELLOW YELLOW of the canola fields in this area. Wind your way through spa country, with something for everybody’s taste in Hepburn Springs and Daylesford. Eating, art, agriculture - it’s all here.
Got kids? (old or young) How about...
Go for a row on Daylesford Lake – the main one and also Jubilee Lake
Victorian Goldfields Railway runs regular steam trains between Castlemaine and Maldon every Wednesday and Sunday and Daylesford Spa Country Railway offers a regular schedule or excursion trains every Sunday between Bullarto and Daylesford
Convent Gallery in Daylesford is just the beginning of the visual arts offering around here
Pop into Lyonville where the Radio Springs Hotel awaits, or Trentham for a wider array of eating and drinking opportunities. In Trentham, stop to admire the newly installed sculptures on the front of the Community Centre – developed with the support of Creative Victoria
Stroll or hike in the Wombat Bushland Reserve and Hepburn Regional Park
If you’re in Bendigo on Sunday, don’t miss Take Flight, a thrilling showcase of circus and aerial artistry at 6:30 pm at The Capital.
Extend Your Stay
Add Maldon, Guildford and Newstead to your drives between Clunes and Daylesford