The Central Victorian town of Castlemaine, Dja Dja Wurrung Country, is approximately 120 kilometres north of Melbourne, and 40 kilometres from the thriving regional city of Bendigo. Gold was discovered in 1851 and within months thousands of diggers were working the alluvial creek beds around Castlemaine and Chewton and over the following year or two a hospital, post office, prison and newspaper office were established. Many of these early buildings remain and, along with abandoned gold beds and mine shifts scattered through the bushlands, are a significant part of the town’s history and charm.
Today, Castlemaine and the surrounding region are best known for its vibrant and diverse arts community and activity, its wineries (hearty reds are a speciality) and micro-breweries, its hiking and cycling trails, and its excellent local produce and farmer’s markets. The town’s proximity to Melbourne, its quality schooling and health services and its easy access to places of interest across Central Victoria, combined with attractions such as the historic Theatre Royal, the busy and buzzing Mill District, and the renowned Castlemaine Botanical Gardens support a successful tourism sector and attract an ever-growing number of “tree-changers”.
Adjoining Castlemaine are the townships of Chewton, Campbells Creek, Guildford, Harcourt, Yapeen, Vaughan, Fryerstown, Newstead and historic Maldon. These centres are also strong local communities with a range of attractions, from galleries and cafes to noted gardens and heritage architecture.