Castlemaine was once legendary for its gold and is now renowned for its beautiful heritage buildings, wide streets, European gardens and stunning scenery. Just 120km north west of Melbourne and 110 km from the Melbourne International Airport, Castlemaine is a dynamic central Victorian community nestled between Bendigo and Ballarat. Home to the richest shallow alluvial goldfield the world has ever seen it is now celebrated for its eclectic community of artists, writers, actors, musicians, artisans and designers. Boasting a host of galleries, music venues, festivals, heritage, history and scenery, bookshops and boutiques, hot rods and trains, fine food, wines and beers, Castlemaine today is a creative and innovative city.
Castlemaine is famous for its arts scene, from the 100’s of artists that open their doors for Arts Open to the major Australian and International works at the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum. Around 400 practising artists have made the region their home and you will find sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, paintings, textiles, music and everything imaginable in between.
The Castlemaine State Festival is held in autumn, and major venues such as the Theatre Royal, Australia’s oldest continually operating theatre, hold events all year round. Add to the growing list the arts hubs of Lot 19 and The Mill and you’ll find a cultural scene far outweighing towns of similar size.
Castlemaine’s history moved from the Goldrush to major manufacturing with several 1875 factories still standing such as Thompsons Foundry and The Old Castlemaine Woollen Mill. Today a culture led economic regeneration is in progress. Craftspeople and artisans embrace and preserve our built history by repurposing and redefining heritage spaces and contribute their skills to Castlemaine with vision and integrity. They can be seen at work at The Mill, The Old Goods Shed, cottages and heritage buildings throughout the town.
Foodies and wine and beer lovers won’t be disappointed. Try the local brew at the Shedshaker Brewing Taproom or buy your freshly roasted coffee at Coffee Basics own roastery. Stock up on olive oil, cheeses, preserves and fresh regional produce at the Castlemaine Farmer’s market, Icecream Social for handmade ice-cream and multicultural cuisine in funky cafes, and restaurants committed to organic and seasonal food.
Antiques, collectables and recyled
Enjoy a trip down memory lane. Browse the Restorers Barn in Mostyn street, then take a stroll to discover the little shops around each corner such as the Corner Store Merchants and Junkyard Mama. Check out the Salvage Yard for the biggest range of reclaimed building materials, then head for the fascinating wall-to-wall vintage and collectables at the Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar at the Mill.
Heritage and History
Explore Castlemaine’s rich history and heritage with a self-guided tour of its grand public buildings, wide streets, ornate hotels and century-old shops. You’ll find a range of self-guided walks that take in the village and beyond. Hire an MP3 player from the Visitor Information Centre in the historic Market Building on Mostyn Street and start exploring, or take a steam train ride for Castlemaine to Maldon and back with the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
The great outdoors
After a visit to us, Buda Historic Home and Garden with its magnificent 19th Century gardens and house, enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the lake in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. Established in 1856 it now boasts an award winning children’s playground. Head out along the Goldfields Track by foot or on two wheels. where there are amazing historic sites, ruins and relics to discover in the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park or for the cycling enthusiast, the recently opened Harcourt’s La Larr Ba Gauwa Mountain Bike Park is a must ride.