Roadtrip to Castlemaine, Victoria

by possandruby

Fancy a country escape? Castlemaine is just a 90 minute drive from Melbourne travelling north – west along the Calder Freeway. The town, like many in this region, was built on the gold rush of the 1850’s and has evolved into a centre of history and arts. Wide streets lined with Victorian buildings and one of the oldest regional botanic gardens in Australia, the old Castlemaine Gaol and the Market building are the historic foundations that still remain today.  

A regional arts and culture hub, visitors to Castlemaine will find plenty of events, exhibitions and live music at venues dotted around the town. The Castlemaine State Festival is the leading local, biennial arts event stablished in 1976. The festival runs March through April with a diverse program of performance, music, visual arts, film and literature.

Food experiences are a staple part of a visit to Castlemaine with a mix of traditional country bakeries, wine bars, cafes and surrounding wineries, breweries and cideries. A visit to The Mill will reveal artisan makers including a chocolaterie, ice creamery, small goods manufacturer and cheese room.

Things to see and do in Castlemaine

The Mill

This precinct is home to makers and manufacturers of almost everything from beer, cheese, chocolate to underwear furniture and  art. You can spend the day (or more) getting lost among the vintage warehouses and grazing at the various food outlets including Das Kafeehaus, The Taproom and Sprout Bakery, Icecream Social, Long Paddock Cheese and Cabosse and Feve Chocolaterie. The site was originally home to a woollen mill and gradually the owners are creating more and more spaces for more makers in a sustainable manner.

The Mill, 1-9 Walker Street, Castlemaine

Castlemaine Botanic Gardens

The Castlemaine Botanic Gardens are one of the oldest in Victoria being gazetted in 1860 and then rapidly established. The gardens are home to many significant trees which are registered with the National Trust. Lake Joanna is a popular place for walking and picnics and the gardens are also home to a large children’s playground.

Castlemaine Botanic Gardens, 2 Walker Street, Castlemaine

Castlemaine Art Gallery and Museum

The gallery and museum are located just out of the main centre with the gallery located upstairs and the museum downstairs. The gallery presents a range of contemporary exhibitions in numerous spaces featuring local, national and international artists. The museum below provides a detailed history of Castlemaine with an incredible collection of local artefacts on display. 

Castlemaine Art Museum, 14 Lyttleton Street, Castlemaine

Buda – historic home and garden

Take a step back in time and visit Buda, a home built in the 1861. The home is set as it was in the 1860’s and beyond. The tale of the Leviny family who spent the most time in the home weave through the rooms, photographs and artefacts and extend to the expansive 1.2 hectare garden. Visitors can enjoy a self guided tour of the home and gardens for a small fee. Regular public events take place here and can also be hired for private events.

Buda, 42 Hunter Street, Castlemaine

Places to eat in Castlemaine


Modern food and styling meets historic charm at Wild with high ceilings and large windows opening out to the wide street.  The service is excellent and staff assist to make decisions to suit your taste and desires. The menu celebrates seasonal, fresh, local produce and the extensive wine list provides lots of options. Highly recommend the Reisling by Reislingfreak!

Wild Food and Wine, 26a Templeton Street, Castlemaine

Run Rabbit Run

A beautiful historic two storey shop front has been transformed into a friendly cafe where the coffee machine hums steadily and locals pop in to get ‘the usual’. The breakfast serves are generous and the eggs are farm fresh, there is also a substantially loaded pastry case with plenty of baked sweet treats. The cafe is licensed featuring many local wines to accompany your lunch.  Upstairs is a gallery space which houses ‘Heavenly’ an exhibition of wedding dresses and accessories from across the country.

Run Rabbit Run, 24 Hargreaves Street, Castlemaine

The Bridge Hotel

A local pub offering great food and entertainment at the top end of town located within walking distance from the Botanic Gardens, The Mill complex and the Big4 Caravan Park. The menu here has all the traditional pub favourites and some not so traditional dishes too. The pub serves a range of local beer, cider and wine from local brewers including Shedshaker Brewing, Love Tap, Bress Winery, Guildford Winery, Harcourt Valley Winery and Sutton Grange Winery. A fantastic outdoor dining area is enticing on sunny days.

The Bridge Hotel, 21 Walker Street, Castlemaine

Places to stay in Castlemaine

At the Big 4 Castlemaine Gardens camping is taking on a whole new meaning with the addition of three luxury glamping tents at the rear of the park.  Beautifully furnished with luxury linens and furniture the tent is a far cry from the camping of old. Complete with a mini fridge, fan, heater, electric blanket, wine glasses and crockery it is a perfect escape to the country in style.

Big4 Castlemaine Gardens, 1 Doran Street, Castlemaine

Have you visited Castlemaine? Let us know about your experience in the comments below or leave a comment on our social channels @possandruby on Instagram and Facebook.

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