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australian tours

orange bulletCentral Victoria Holidays

Central Victoria stretches from the Goulburn River in the east, the Grampian Mountains in the west, the Murray River flats in the north and south to the Macedon Ranges. This is the Victorian heartland and one of the centres of Australia's gold mining history at Ballarat and Bendigo.

Authentic gold mines and living museums allow today's generations to experience the world of their forefathers. This is an area steeped in history much of which is preserved and/or recreated for future generations.

It is a region of historic sites, gold mine towns, relics and recreations, prospecting, fossicking, music and theme festivals, theatre, shearing sheds and Cobb & Co coaches.

It is a popular holiday region and visitors will find hot air balloons, hang gliding, hot mineral springs, fishing, water skiing, Captain Melville's hangout, underground mines, heritage sites and historic buildings everywhere you look.

orange bulletPlaces of Interest - Central Victoria

Ballarat - the gateway to the goldfields and one of the major towns of the region. The Southern Woolshed is Australia's largest working shearing shed. Visit the nearby Ballarat Wildlife and Reptile Park and the popular family attraction which is the historic town recreation at Sovereign Hill. Tour through Eureka Street and the Stockade Precinct, sites of the civil uprising battle. Ride a Cobb & Co coach or a paddle steamer on Lake Wendouree. View the excellent period architecture in Lydiard Street. Explore the relics at Lal Lal and the water wheel at Andersons Mill. Local wineries produce some well known labels. Nearby Buninyong hosts the annual Gold King Festival in February. Arts, crafts, galleries and antiques all year round.

Stawell - continue on the Western Highway from Ballarat. The town is best known for the annual Stawell Gift, a professional foot race with a history back to the gold rush days. There are National Trust classified period buildings and the Chiming Clock with animated figures of working miners. Hang glidiers can be seen launching from Mt Cole Forest Range. Watersports and fishing are popular at Lake Fryans.

Maryborough - not to be confused with its Queensland namesake. Visit the restored railway station which is now a complete tourist complex. Take a drive to nearby Talbot for some country cooking and continue on through the gold prospecting townships of Carisbrook or Majorca or several others in the area.

Castlemaine - the home of the State Arts festival. Take a walking tour of the Mostyn St Market, Court House and Theatre Royal. Visit Buda Historic Home and Garden. See Australia's wild dog, the Dingo, at nearby Chewton. Try out your panning skills at the Forest Creek Historic Gold Mine. The renovated Castlemaine Gaol offers a restaurant and budget accommodation. Nearby Maldon retains most of its period charm and invites a stroll through the town centre. Ride a working steam train or visit the intricacies of an underground gold mine at Carman's Tunnel. Pay a visit to the award winning Porcupine Village with its original slab buildings and antique cottage accommodation.

Bendigo - take a tour on the vintage Talking Tram to get your bearings and see the architecture of Australia's best preserved Victorian streetscape. Go underground at the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Enjoy yourself at the Discovery Science and Technology Centre. Compare the old and new at the Bendigo Pottery, Australia's oldest and a popular visit. View excellent art from the gold rush period at the acclaimed Bendigo Art Gallery. See the mohair production cycle at the Bendigo Mohair Farm or ride a camel into the local bush. There are bushwalking and cycling tracks in the local state parks.

For exposure to some different culture, visit the Golden Dragon museum to better understand the role played by Chinese in the history of Bendigo. See "Sun Loong" the worlds longest Chinese Imperial dragon who awakens for each Easter Monday parade. The Chinese Joss House is open to visitors.

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