Streetscape, Tourism Victoria

Population 9124

Castlemaine is a classic goldmining town known for its grand old buildings and sprawling botanical gardens. This area was the site of the greatest alluvial gold rush that the world has ever seen. Now the town relies largely on agriculture and the manufacturing sectors, as well as being home to a thriving artistic community that takes inspiration from the area's red hills.

Visitor Information

Historic Market Building, 44 Mostyn St; (03) 5471 1795 or 1800 171 888

Nearby national parks

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

Nearby towns

  • Maldon

    Maldon is one of Victoria's best-known gold towns and a popular weekend getaway for Melburnians. The town has been wonderfully preserved,...more

  • Kyneton

    Part of Victoria's picturesque spa and garden country, Kyneton is a well-preserved town with many attractive bluestone buildings....more

  • Daylesford

    Daylesford is at the centre of Victoria's spa country. The area developed with the discovery of gold, which lured many...more

In Town

Art Gallery Housed in an elegant Art Deco building, the gallery was designed in 1931 by Peter Meldrum and is renowned for its collection of Australian art. Along with the permanent collection, many exhibitions appear here. Works by Rembrandt, Francisco Goya and Andy Warhol have all been displayed at this delightful gallery. 14 Lyttleton St; (03) 5472 2292.

Buda Historic Home and Garden Buda is considered to have one of the most significant examples of 19th-century gardens in Victoria. The house itself is furnished with period pieces and art and craft created by the Leviny family, who lived here for 118 years. Ernest Leviny was a silversmith and jeweller. Five of his 6 daughters never married, but remained at Buda and pursued woodwork, photography and embroidery. Open 12–5pm Wed–Sat, 10am–5pm Sun; 42 Hunter St; (03) 5472 1032.

Victorian Goldfields Railway This historic railway runs from Castlemaine to Maldon. The steam train journeys through box-ironbark forest in a region that saw some of the richest goldmining in the country. As well as the regular timetable, it also hosts special events throughout the year. Castlemaine Railway Station, Kennedy St; recorded information (03) 5475 2966, inquiries (03) 5470 6658.

Theatre Royal: hosts live shows and films and also offers luxurious backstage accommodation; Hargraves St.

Botanical Gardens: one of Victoria's oldest and most impressive 19th-century gardens; cnr Walker and Downes rds.

Food and wine producers: dotted throughout the area; food and wine trail brochures from visitor centre.


Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park The wealth on Castlemaine's streets springs from the huge hauls of gold found on the Mt Alexander Diggings, east and south of town. Towns such as Fryerstown, Vaughan and Glenluce, now almost ghost towns, supported breweries, schools, churches and hotels. Visitors can explore Chinese cemeteries, mineral springs, waterwheels and old townsites. Details of self-guide walks and drives from visitor centre. 4 km s.

Chewton: historic buildings line the streets of this former gold town; 4 km E.

Harcourt: this town is known for its many wineries, including Harcourt Valley Vineyard and Blackjack Vineyards, with tastings and cellar-door sales. Also at Harcourt is the Skydancers Orchid and Butterfly Gardens. The town hosts the Apple Festival in Mar and spring, and the Orchid Festival in Oct; 9 km NE.

Big Tree: a giant red gum over 500 years old; Guildford; 14 km SW.

Koala Reserve: Mt Alexander; 19 km NE.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Bold Cafe Gallery

On the approach into Castlemaine from Melbourne, look for this quirky cafe adjacent to the Bold Garden and opposite the venue for the Wesley Hill Saturday-morning market. A bakery during the gold-rush era, the building... Find out more

The Empyre

This 1860s two-storey hotel has been lovingly restored to become the most elegant accommodation in town once again, with a range of dining options. The former front bar morphs into a classy cafe for breakfast and lunch,... Find out more

Saffs Cafe

The buzzy cafe is housed in an 1890s shopfront, with pavement seating at the front and two rooms inside that spill onto a rear deck and into a back garden with summer seating. Regulars come for eggs Benedict and eggs... Find out more

Togs Place

When this welcoming cafe opened 18 years ago in an old miner’s cottage, it was the first cafe in town. Today it is so popular it has seats on a pavement verandah and even on the roof – the views over the... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Holgate Brewhouse 42 km

Paul and Natasha Holgate have travelled a decidedly different path to most other craft-brewery operators over the past decade or so. They started brewing ales from a shed adjacent to their family home in Woodend in the... Find out more

Campsites around town

Mount Alexander camping area (bush camping) 10 km

You can go bush camping throughout this park. Talk to the ranger about the best places to pitch a tent on the slopes of Lanjanuc, which is the Aboriginal name for the mountain. Along with Dog Rocks, the Langs and... Find out more

Vaughan Springs camping area 11 km

There’s only space at Vaughan Springs for a few caravans and a half-dozen tents, so get there early if you want to stay during holiday periods. To the north are the old Spring Gully Junction Mine and a walk along... Find out more

Warburtons Bridge camping area 11 km

This basic campground is accessed off the Vaughan–Drummond Rd. It’s in the same part of the park as the Vaughan Springs camping area, which may prove useful if Warburtons Bridge is full. Up in the north of... Find out more

Butts Reserve camping area 15 km

Butts Reserve is west of town on Mt Tarrengower Rd. After visiting the collection of artefacts at the North British Mine and exploring the adjacent Carmans Tunnel, climb the fire tower on Mt Tarrengower and also scale... Find out more

Mount Franklin Reserve camping area 23 km

The crater of the extinct Mt Franklin volcano makes a wonderful setting for an overnight camp. Separated from Hepburn Regional Park proper by the Midlands Hwy, the reserve is an enclave of large conifers that makes a... Find out more

Bush camping 42 km

Permitted within the forest. Contact ranger for details.... Find out more

Firth Park camping area 44 km

Firth Park is an old sawmill site in the northern section of Wombat State Forest; there are visible remnants of the logging that was done here. There’s plenty of room for tents, but the space available for caravans... Find out more

Blackwood Mineral Springs Caravan Park 46 km

Blackwood struck it big (albeit briefly) as a goldmining area in the 1850s and visitors can still pan for gold here. They can also take numerous walks in the area, including to the springs, along the Lerderderg River and... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

The Empyre

One of the original hotels from the fabulous gold-rush era of the mid-1800s, this two-storeyed hotel offers the most elegant accommodation in the area. There are four luxury suites upstairs in the main hotel building and... Find out more


This historic home takes its name from the distinctive facade, the name an ode to the black lines between the handmade bricks and the blocks of local stone that welcome visitors to this 1907 home, a tasteful blend of... Find out more

Sage Cottage

This two-bedroom miners cottage is cute enough to want to cuddle it. Brass double beds and the potbelly (gas) heater seem true to the miner theme, but the electric blankets, microwave and in-house movies are modern... Find out more

Shack 14 @ Prospect House

This eco-friendly, low-impact bush cabin outside of Castlemaine has been designed by environmentally attuned architect Ken Latona of Tasmania’s Bay of Fires fame. Its clever design incorporates two bedrooms to... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

MillDuck, Harcourt North 17 km

This strawbale house won a Most Energy Efficient Home award (North West Region) when it was built. More than 1000 trees have been planted on the property since it was purchased, and it is now an alpaca stud. The B&B,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Jessie Kennedy rest area 6 km

6km S of Castlemaine (R) or 30km N of Daylesford (L)

Adjacent to the highway among a few trees.

Vaughan Springs camping area 10 km

T/O 9km S of Castlemaine (L) or 27km N of Daylesford (R)

Small campground 6km east of the highway via Vaughan Springs Rd in Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. Facilities at nearby picnic area.

Ravenswood rest area 17 km

20km S of Bendigo (R) or 130km N of Melbourne (L)

Just off the highway.

Jock Comini rest area 19 km

18km S of Bendigo (L) or 132km N of Melbourne (R)

Secluded off the highway among a few trees.

Mount Franklin rest area 23 km

26km S of Castlemaine (L) or 10km N of Daylesford (R)

Secluded area 1km off the highway in a shady forest setting.

Happy Jacks rest area 26 km

At Lockwood on alternative Calder Hwy (A790)

Just off the highway among shady trees 100m north of facilities.

Bendigo South park area 31 km

At Bendigo

Adjacent to the highway overlooking the lake on the south side of town.

Bendigo North park area 36 km

At Bendigo

Adjacent to the highway near the lake on the north side of town.

Huntly rest area 45 km

At Huntly

Small area just off the highway among some large trees.

What's on around town

Farmers Market: 1st Sun each month.

Wesley Hill Market: each Sat; 2.5km E.

State Festival: odd-numbered years, Apr.

Festival of Gardens: Nov.

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