Castlemaine, Clunes and Creswick – character and culture
In the same way gold attracted prospectors to central Victoria during the Gold Rush of the 1800s, bringing these regional towns and villages to life in the process, the surviving architecture is a magnet for those wanting to escape the concrete jungle and step back in time. Castlemaine, Clunes and Creswick – each one only a half hour drive from Daylesford – have preserved many of their historic buildings, so you can stroll along 19th century streetscapes, which are lined with contemporary cafes, wine bars, restaurants, antique stores and galleries.
Castlemaine is known for being an artist’s enclave, with Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, Fawkner Gallery and The Left Bank Gallery among several galleries exhibiting work within the town centre, not to mention all the local artist's studio galleries.
There’s more art to be found, plus vintage wares, food and wine at The Mill, a sprawling site located opposite the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. Castlemaine is also home to the stone that now takes up residence at RACV Cape Schanck Resort.
Bibliophiles will want to make a beeline to Clunes, one of only 15 internationally recognised Booktowns in the world. Each May, Fraser Street (where Heath Ledger shot scenes for his starring role in the film Ned Kelly) is transformed into a massive book fair for The Clunes Booktown Festival. Endless stalls and marquees sell collectable, rare, second-hand, small-press and new books while the surrounding venues are alive with author talks and workshops.
There’s also food trucks, live entertainment, and activities for children, with Creative Clunes also running other literary events in the area throughout the year.