This exclusive small group tour invites you into the golden core of Victoria – the Goldfields Region. The fervour of the 1850s gold rush has left an indelible mark on the region, visible in the magnificent townscapes of Ballarat, Bendigo, Maldon, and Dunollyand more.
Join our immersive and personalised journey that transports you to the pulsating golden heart of Victoria, the illustrious Goldfields Region. This area is steeped in rich history and architectural grandeur, a living testament to Victoria’s frenetic gold rush era of the 1850s. As we traverse the splendid streetscapes of Ballarat, Bendigo, Maldon, and Dunolly, you can’t help but feel the palpable echoes of the past reverberating through the grand buildings such as the Maryborough Railway Station and the Market Building in Castlemaine.
Your adventure commences from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Railway Station, setting the stage for an unforgettable exploration of the city of Ballarat. This was the epicentre of the massive Victorian gold rush, and even today, its legacy is showcased through numerous historic locations. A stroll down Lydiard Street is like a step back in time, with well-preserved gold rush architecture at every corner. The famous Craigs Royal Hotel is a delightful venue for morning tea before the day culminates at Sovereign Hill. This outdoor museum recreates the excitement of the 1860s gold rush era.
Beyond Ballarat, we venture deeper into the Goldfields region, traversing old Goldfields towns en route to Maryborough. Here, you will glimpse Creswick’s Woollen Mill, the last of its kind in Australia, and the historic town of Clunes, where the Victorian gold rush commenced. Our exploration extends to Timor, where remnants of the Grand Duke Mine silently narrate tales of a once-thriving gold town.
The latter part of the tour showcases the beauty of Bendigo and Castlemaine. Bendigo is a city that proudly displays its golden past through attractions like the Central Deborah Goldmine, the vintage Bendigo Trams, the Bendigo Pottery and the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum. In Castlemaine, we take a detailed city highlights tour before boarding a fast train back to Melbourne.
Our Signature Goldfields Tour is designed as a journey through time, recapturing the vibrancy and grandeur of the gold rush era. It’s not just a tour; it’s an intimate encounter with the history and heritage of Victoria’s golden heart. Welcome aboard.
2023 Departure Dates.
Wed 06 or Wed 20
Wed 04 or Wed 18
Wed 08 or Wed 22
Wed 06 or Wed 13
Please refer to our Terms and Conditions prior to booking
In the morning you will be met at *Southern Cross Railway Station, Melbourne, by your Golden Nugget Discovery Tours Eco Guide. The Adventure begins as we travel on our fast train to Ballarat,
Today we discover the city of Ballarat, the first of the large gold fields during the 1850’s Victorian goldrush.
First we drive to Black Hill lookout to get great panoramic views of Ballarat and then we stop at several important historical locations, including the Red Hill mine site where they found the Welcome Nugget, a gold nugget which weighed 69 kilograms.
We get to walk the inner city along Lydiard Street to view the best examples of gold rush historic buildings in Australia, then stop at the famous Craigs Royal Hotel for morning tea, before driving to the Eureka Centre. The Eureka Centre is the site of the 1854 Rebellion where the miners had an armed conflict with British Army soldiers.
We visit Lake Wendouree just out from the centre of Ballarat which has many recreational uses by the locals and has lots of bird life, namely the black swan. On it shores are the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, we will have a short walk, looking at at the floral garden beds, statues and imposing trees.
Driving to the outskirts of Ballarat, we come to the town of Buninyong and to Mt Buninyong, an extinct volcano with breathtaking views and wildlife, and to Woowookarung Regional Park with its wildflowers and wildlife.
The afternoon and evening is spent at Sovereign Hill, which is an outdoor living museum depicting Ballarat in the 1860’s goldrush era. You can go down a goldmine, pan for gold, ride a stage coach, or watch a $150,000 pure gold ingot being poured. During the evening we watch the sound and light show named AURA.
Today will see us travelling through the centre of the Goldfields region on our way to Maryborough, stopping at the many old goldfields towns.
First we visit Creswick with its Woollen Mill, the last mill of its type in Australia. Leaving Creswick we drive through the Rivers of Gold mines on our way to Smeaton to see the historic flour mill.
The next old gold town is Clunes where the Victorian goldrush began, we have a walk down Fraser Street, see the Port Phillip Mine remnants and a view over the town.
Talbot is the next town, a quietly fascinating gold rush town with picturesque winding streets of brick and bluestone, and cottage gardens.
On the outskirts of Maryborough are the Box-Ironbark forests where we have our first wild nature encounter to see wildflowers and chance to see wallabies, echidna and native birds, as well as, Aboriginal culture of the Jajawurrong people and relics of the gold mining era.
In Maryborough we do a town tour visiting the town’s splendid cluster of heritage buildings, and views of the town from Bristol Hill lookout. No visit to Maryborough is complete without seeing the historic Maryborough Railway Station.
On leaving Maryborough we head into the northern central goldfields, stopping at Timor which was once a thriving gold town. We see remnants of the Grand Duke Mine, which produced $281 million dollars worth of gold
We are now deep in the Golden Triangle region of Victoria as we drive to Dunolly which once boasted 5 kilometres of buildings, shops and canvas dwellings in the main street.
In the surrounding district more large gold nuggets were discovered than anywhere else in Australia, and we drive to Moliagul to discover where the 72kg Welcome Stranger was found, still today the largest nugget in the world.
We now head to the top of Mt Moliagul to view the surrounding country side, before heading to Bendigo for our overnight stay.
Paddy’s Ranges State Park.
After breakfast we visit the Diamond Hill historic area, part of the Bendigo Regional Park. In the 1880’s Diamond Hill was a bustling town of 10,000 people, today in the eucalyptus forests many relics remain, mullock heaps, water-races, deep sluiced gullies, building foundations and remnant gardens.
At Central Deborah Goldmine we have a unique opportunity to explore a real gold mine, experience what it was like to be a gold miner in the 1940’s, 61 metres below the ground.
We ride on one of the Bendigo Trams, where the guide will tell you of Bendigo’s goldrush history as you move along Pall Mall to the original Chinese Joss House (temple) at Emu Point, built during the gold rush. In the afternoon you learn about the Chinese miners that arrived to prospect for gold at the Golden Dragon Museum.
You visit Bendigo Pottery, which is Australia oldest working pottery and has the most significant collection of ceramic wood fired kilns left in the world in the Interpretive Museum.
On leaving Bendigo we travel to Castlemaine for a city highlights tour before boarding the train for your fast journey to Melbourne, arriving at Southern Cross Railway Station where we say our good bye’s.