Tour Description

Golden Easter

Six Days: 9th – 14th April 2020

Twin Share: $1875 per person. Sole Use: $2195 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

This year we enjoy Easter in the golden town of Ballarat. Unlike many other towns established during the goldrush, the Ballarat fields experienced sustained high gold yields for decades and the prosperity of the time can still be seen in Ballarat’s streetscape today. We explore this historic City, discover the beauty of nearby Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, plus spend a day celebrating at the Bendigo Easter Festival. Come with us this Easter to discover the diversity of this goldrush region.

 

Day One – THURSDAY 9 APRIL 2020

(includes light lunch and three course dinner)

After completing home pick-ups (limited areas*), we begin our journey by travelling through the beautiful Mount Lofty Ranges.

We pause for morning tea at Tailem Bend before continuing towards the Tatiara. Traveling through Coonalpyn, Tintinara and Keith, we reach our lunchtime destination of Bordertown and stop to relax in the local bakery or cafe.

Our afternoon journey leads us through Nhill to Horsham where we stop to stretch our legs.

We continue along the highway to Stawell and our accommodation for the night at Magdala Motor Lodge (Ph. 03 5358 3877), which is set amongst the backdrop of the stunning Grampians.

Day Two — FRIDAY 10 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Following breakfast, we make our way east to Maryborough, situated on the northern slopes of the Great Dividing Range and surrounded by bushland. A gold mining town dating back to the 1800’s, one of the highlights of a visit to Maryborough is the historic buildings which have been so well-preserved. These include the commercial streetscape along High Street, the post office and the grand railway station which was built in 1890.

After morning tea we set out for the beautiful town of Creswick built from the proceeds of rich gold deposits, like so many towns in this region of Victoria. Creswick Woollen Mills is a local icon that has been designing and producing high quality, natural fibre products suitable for Australian conditions, since 1947. Home to the last remaining coloured spinning mill of its type in Australia, we can learn about the heritage of this industry, take time to look through the fantastic shop and enjoy lunch on site at The Mill Cafe.

Continuing to Ballarat, this afternoon we visit The Gold Museum, housed in an impressive glass-fronted building with commanding views. Opened in 1978, the Gold Museum is Ballarat’s regional social history museum and cares for around 150,000 items, covering a diverse range of collections from mining and military history, through to costume and photography.  As its name suggests, the museum contains an impressive and valuable collection of gold nuggets, alluvial deposits, priceless gold artefacts and gold coins. There is also an award-winning gift shop specialising in the sale of gold nuggets, Australian-made gold jewellery and fine giftware.

Following our visit, it is just a short distance to the Bell Tower Inn (Ph. 03 5334 1600), where we will be staying for the next four nights. There will be plenty of time to unpack and settle in before dinner.

  Day Three — SATURDAY 11 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Just months after Victoria was granted separation from New South Wales, the gold rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to one of the most significant Victorian era boomtowns in Australia. By 1855, the population had exploded to 100 thousand people and impressive buildings were erected, financed by the wealth from the gold diggings. This morning a local guide will join us for a tour of the city, showing us the sites and sharing stories of the history of this region.

After farewelling our guide, we head to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, situated on the western shore of the picturesque Lake Wendouree. Now 159 years old, it is one of Australia’s most significant cool climate gardens boasting a remarkable collection of marble statues set amongst colourful displays of flowers and plants. The garden is also home to 52 mature trees listed on the National Trust Significant Trees Register and we’ll admire these beautiful surrounds as we stop for morning tea.

Located at the southern end of gardens is the Ballarat Tramway Museum and Depot. Here we have the opportunity to ride in one of the authentic historic trams which provided Ballarat’s public transport until 1971.

The journey takes us along Wendouree Parade through the beautiful Botanical Gardens on the western side of Lake Wendouree. On our return we’ll spend time discovering the story of the Ballarat trams and its people, told through photographs, historic films and tramway memorabilia housed at the museum. All the tramcars are on display including Horse Tram No 1 dating back to 1887.

From here, we drive a short distance to the Eureka Centre located at the historic site of the 1854 Eureka Stockade rebellion. On arrival, we’ll enjoy lunch in the Café, before having time to wander through the Centre. The iconic Eureka Flag is the centrepiece of the museum, which houses a variety of engaging and interactive exhibits that explore the history and impact of the goldrush and events of 1854.

Mid-afternoon there will be free time to browse the local shops, explore more of the city or simply relax back at the motel, before coming together again for dinner in the restaurant.

 Day Four — SUNDAY 12 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Happy Easter!

After a hearty breakfast we make our way to Mount Franklin, an extinct volcano located north-east of Daylesford. This picturesque area is home to the Chocolate Mill, where hand-made chocolates are sold exclusively on site. There will be the opportunity to view the chocolate making process from the viewing window and you may like to treat yourself, or someone else, for Easter with a few purchases. While here, we will take time to enjoy a delicious morning tea.

Late morning we continue our drive travelling into the stunning Daylesford-Hepburn Springs region. With over 80 natural springs in this area rich in calcium, magnesium and an abundance of other minerals, its no surprise that the indigenous people of this land, the Dja Dja Wurrung, recognised this area as a place of healing waters. Gold was discovered here in the 1850’s and many beautiful historic buildings from this time can be seen throughout the towns. One such building is the Convent Gallery.

Built on a hill, the Convent is surrounded by six acres of manicured gardens and has spectacular views overlooking Daylesford and beyond. It houses seven galleries with work from over 100 local, national and international artists. Featuring fine art, sculpture, limited edition prints, ceramics, glassware and textiles, the exhibition programme changes every eight weeks and showcases a diverse array of traditional and contemporary artwork. We’ll enjoy lunch in the café before taking time to explore.

The rich history and stunning scenery of this area will be evident as we take a scenic drive, admiring the superb architecture, beautiful surrounds and delightful gardens. A visit is not complete without a stop at the Hepburn Springs Reserve, to taste the water from the springs and fill our bottles!

After exploring the surrounding countryside, we return to our accommodation with time to relax before we gather again for our evening dinner.

Day Five — MONDAY 13 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

After breakfast we begin our day travelling north to historic Maldon, noted for its 19th-century appearance that has been maintained since the gold-rush days. Here we can get a glimpse of what life was like during that period as we pass old weatherboard homes, solid stone buildings and decorative shop fronts in this lovingly preserved Australian goldmining town.

We will stop here for morning tea before continuing to Bendigo, a city of beauty with magnificent architecture and a fascinating history. In 1851 the Bendigo region exploded into life with the discovery of gold. The city is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded by a number of hilly suburbs featuring wide tree-lined streets, bushland, and several large reserves which create a pleasant and green environment.

Now in its 150th year, Bendigo Easter Festival is the longest, continuously running community festival in Australia. It celebrates Bendigo’s unique Chinese heritage and community spirit and showcases Bendigo’s history, arts, culture and lifestyle. Bendigo’s beautiful Rosalind Park and surrounding streets will be transformed into a vibrant precinct bursting with entertainment. There will be so much to see and enjoy, including The Rotary Art and Craft Market with its range of handmade goods, unique treasures, collectables, tasty produce and much more.

The Gala Parade is one of the highlights and marks the end of the festival. It provides a gorgeous display of colour and excitement, and paying tribute to the Chinese heritage of Bendigo, this year it will feature the city’s newest Dragon Dai Gum Loong. This is definitely a site to behold as the world’s longest ‘Golden Dragon’ weaves its way through the historic streetscapes of Bendigo.

At the end of a ‘day with a difference’, we make our way back to Ballarat for our last night together on this tour.

Day Six — TUESDAY 14 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)

This morning we farewell our hosts to begin our journey home. We travel through Ararat and Stawell before stopping in Horsham for morning tea. Passing through Dimboola, we cross the border into South Australia.

The beautiful countryside continues as we travel to Keith for a hearty two-course lunch. Refreshed, we continue on and are soon passing through Tintinara and Coonalpyn. We pause in Tailem Bend for a comfort stop and a chance to stretch our legs.

Once over the Murray River, the landscape becomes familiar, and we are soon through the Adelaide Hills. Arriving in Adelaide late afternoon, we begin returning everyone home with thoughts of celebrating a wonderful Easter in stunning country Victoria.