The Goldfields history drive covers the highlights of the historical goldfields that put the state on the map back in the gold rush of the 1850s. Re-live those gold rush days by touring areas which brought so much prosperity to Victoria and left lasting legacies which can still be seen today.
Situated about 110 kilometres west of Melbourne, Ballarat offers visitors the unique Sovereign Hill experience that many travel so far just to see. With daily shows of the events that lead up to the Eureka Stockade in 1854, this bustling modern town is build upon the history of its ancestors. You can see real gold nuggets in the local museum and check out the process that turns the raw product into coins.
With accommodation options to suit most tastes and budgets, you may wish to stay a while in Ballarat to really soak up the hustle of Sovereign Hill, the historic architecture, wineries, pretty botanical gardens and Lake Wendouree.
A short distance north of Ballarat on the Midland Highway is Creswick. This town is very stately in looks and history, having housed the miner's union that were the catalyst for the Eureka Stockade way back in the 1850s.
Continuing along the Midland Highway takes you to Daylesford. Daylesford is a true testament to its Swiss-Italian heritage, as both types of international miners settled here during the gold rush days hoping to get rich quick.
There are over 100 therapy-related centres in the area, including detox and health centres, beauty salons, massage parlours, hydro-therapy specialists and much more. A place to come to once you've saved your pennies for a couple of days of pure indulgence.
Castlemaine is located just under 40 kilometres past Daylesford and is a town that still grips tightly to its gold mining heritage. See the hectares of former gold digging territory along Barkers Creek, visit the National Heritage Park and drive along the Kalimna Tourist Road to sample the scenic views and bushwalking trails on offer.
Maldon provides a fascinating step back in time to the prosperity of those gold rush days with its perfectly preserved streetscape. It's very much a tourist town with cafes, antique shops and galleries open to enjoy and explore. You can even experience a journey on a tourist steam train.
When you arrive in Bendigo, which is about 40 kilometres from Maldon, you will be enticed to stay a few days to learn all you can about the living treasures of the gold prospecting era that put the town on the map.
Note the German architecture that lines the streets of the town, and enjoy the food spoils courtesy of Bendigo's strong Chinese heritage, that dates back to its 1850s beginnings as a place for gold seekers to come and settle.
Originally one of the major commercial and administrative centres of the Victorian goldfields during the goldrush days, there's plenty of history to discover on the streets of Maryborough today. One of Maryborough's grandest buildings is its railway station, proclaimed by visiting American author Mark Twain as being a railway station with a town attached.
An important mining town in gold rush times, Avoca is characterised by its wide main street and several historic buildings which line this boulevard. These days, Avoca's prosperity lies with its wine industry, with numerous vineyards located in the foot hills of the scenic Pyrenees Ranges.
Take a short drive to Ararat where you will find a rural city steeped in its past success as a gold, wool and wine producer. Ararat, and neighbouring Great Western, is the place to come for days of wineries tours that will only whet your appetite for more.
Formerly known as Pleasant Creek, Stawell enjoyed a gold rush boom during the mid 1800s. These days gold is still the go with Victoria's largest operating gold mine located in Stawell.
Nearby is the Grampians National Park - a favourite Victorian adventure holiday destination surrounding the mountain village of Halls Gap.