Road trip to Dimboola, Victoria

by possandruby

Almost halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide lies the small rural town of Dimboola.  It is believed the name is based on a Sri Lankan word that translates to ‘Land of Figs’. Aboriginal people call the area Watchegatcheca meaning ‘Wattle Tree and White Cockatoos’ both of which can be found in abundance in the area. Dimboola rose to fame from Jack Hibberd’s 1969 stage play and subsequent screen play ‘Dimboola’, based on a real life wedding plagued with small town drama and family foibles.

The town is complemented by the peaceful Wimmera River which runs alongside it and the nearby Little Desert National Park.  The river is ideal for fishing, canoeing, boating, and swimming, especially in the hot summer months. Heritage buildings line the wide streets and are transforming into exciting new businesses from gift shops to galleries, cafes to accommodation.

Located in the vast Wimmera region, renowned for broad acre grain farming and sheep growing, the town maybe small but the locals have big hearts and warmly welcome visitors. Get back to nature and take time out to slow down and enjoy country living with a visit to ‘Dimmy’. 

Things to see and do in Dimboola

The Little Desert National Park

Dubbed the ‘Gateway to The Little Desert’, Dimboola is an access point to the 132,000-hectare park which stretches west toward South Australia. The Park is bordered by the Wimmera River and is home to a vast array of native flora and fauna, a paradise for birdwatchers and photographers. Camping is permitted in designated areas (bookings required) and there are a variety of walks on offer.  The short Pomponderoo Hill Nature Walk is the best introduction to the Park, giving visitors sweeping views across the landscape from its elevated lookout. Dotted along the walk are ten marked sites to educate visitors about plants and animals of the region and explain the impact of a bushfire that swept through the area in 1977, evidence of which can still be seen today. The Park is extremely popular in Spring for stunning displays of native wildflowers. Visitors should note that many driving tracks are 4WD only.  Visit the Parks Victoria website for more information.

 The Wimmera River

The local Wimmera River is an inviting body of water that runs between Lake Hindmarsh in the north and Elmhurst in the south, and meanders along the periphery of the town, into the Little Desert National Park and beyond. The river is wide and calm – great for boating, kayaking, swimming, fishing and stand up paddle boarding.  Pontoons have been introduced along the river bank near town to provide easy water access for fishing and water sports. A gravel walking trail follows the river with park benches dotted along the way providing a beautiful view of the waterfront, especially in the cooler months when water sports are less appealing.

As Time Goes By River Cruise

Board the comfortable river boat and begin a relaxing cruise on the Wimmera River, following the sweeping bends lined with gnarled river red gums and native reeds.  Local birdlife including wood ducks, cockatoos, corellas and galahs announce the boats arrival with a squark and a flutter of wings.  There are two options for crusing; the 2 hour Chartered Cruise, which can accommodate up to 10 passengers or for those who are more adventurous, there is a self drive option.  Self drivers can book the boat for 4 or 8 hours (conditions apply). Guests are invited to bring their own beverages and snacks aboard and for those on the charter there is a bathroom break at a riverside reserve mid cruise. As capacity is limited visitors are encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

As time goes by River Cruise, Wimmera River, Dimboola

Pink Lake

A short 7km drive to the west of Dimboola is Pink Lake, a large salt lake. The pink colour is derived from a bacteria that lives in the salty water. The intensity of the pink is enhanced when there is less water in the Lake.  There is commercial harvesting of salt from the Lake in partnership with the traditional owners of the land, the Wotjobaluk people. A rest stop provides ample parking for visitors to stop and take in the view across the large salt lake. It is a short walk down to the edge of the lake on a well-trodden dirt path. 

Pink Lake, Western Highway, Lochiel

Shopping in Dimboola

Dimboola Imaginarium

A magical experience awaits as you enter the doors of the old National Bank Building where exquisite things line the walls, floors, ceilings and any surface that is spare. Jamie and Chan are exceptional hosts, greeting every customer as if they are a VIP guest in their spectacular space. From handcrafted fragrances and notebooks to artwork, jewellery, toys and homewares in the Imaginarium you will find a gift for even the most difficult to buy for. Visitors are invited to enter the original bank vault and step back in time with a pictorial history of the Bank, displayed artfully behind the heavy door. Exciting plans are underway for accommodation above the store in the very near future.

Dimboola Imaginarium, 7-9 Lochiel Street, Dimboola

Tilley and Mango

Local artist Melanie Obst always had a dream to sell her art locally and this dream came true recently with the purchase of a shopfront in Lloyd Street. Opening in May 2020, Melanie worked tirelessly to make the store the perfect haven for shoppers and art enthusiasts.  The space is bright and welcoming and brimming with fabulous goodies perfect for gifting or a treat for yourself. Melanie creates much of the stock by hand, from the original artworks on canvas to jewellery, cards, and totebags. There are also workshops available but get in quick as they book out fast.  

Tilley and Mango, 102 Lloyd Street, Dimboola

Rural Industry

If you love rural industrial chic then look no further! Situated in the front room of the Star Theatre (which used to be the candy bar) the walls are lined with homewares and collectables with a rural flavour. Kitchenwares that your grandma would have used – wooden spoons, mason jars, baking tins and carving plates have been refurbished to their former glory and are all for sale. Shop here for statement small furninture pieces and accessories to bring a little country into your home. There are also some new items including candles, crockery and ornaments that compliment the classics.

Rural Industry, 117 Lloyd Street, Dimboola

Where to eat in Dimboola

The Victoria Hotel

The imposing two story Hotel sits at a cross roads, just one block off the main street and is commonly known by locals as ‘The Vic’. It is the only pub in town, after fire destroyed the other pub, The Dimboola Hotel, many years ago.  The Vic is the only place in town for dinner and has a classic pub menu complemented by a selection of traditional pizzas (available for dine in and take away).  The front bar is the perfect place for a cold beer on a hot day and a chance to get to know the locals. The ecclecticly decorated Elbow Room is a cosy nook to settle into the deep sofas for a long chat over a few drinks. A beer garden sits out the back, ideal for long lazy summer evenings. Local is the key theme of the business, employing locals and sourcing local produce and ingredients where ever possible. You will not feel like a stranger here as staff and locals will warmly welcome you with a ‘G’day, how ya goin?’ Accommodation is also available onsite for families, couples and individuals.

The Victoria Hotel, 32 Wimmera Street, Dimboola

The Dimboola Store

The towns only cafe is humming from open until close, serving locals their morning coffee and offering a menu of sweet treats and savoury snacks. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or just a cuppa and a chat. An outdoor seating area is also available. The store is so much more that just a cafe with a selection of gifts, clothing and homewares for sale as well.

The Dimboola Store, 86 Lloyd Street, Dimboola 

The Wimmera Bakery

Every country town has a bakery that supplies locals with fresh bread and baked goods and Dimboola is not alone. The Wimmera Bakery has been servicing the region for well over 40 years and is a local institution. You can’t go past a pie or a pastie and the signature coffee scroll has been a local favourite for years. 

The Wimmera Bakery, 72/78 Lloyd Street, Dimboola

Where to Stay

RIverside Holiday Park

The Riverside Holiday Park is located within walking distance of the main street, eateries and is ideally positioned on the banks of the Wimmera River. There are a selection of onsite cabins available plus numerous powered and unpowered sites for caravans and campers.  The well-kept grounds house a camp kitchen, toilet and shower block including a laundry and a bookable function space. In peak periods, a coffee cart pops up in the park to serve guests fresh coffee and light refreshments. River access is via a gravel trail and is less than a 2 minute walk from most sites.

Riverside Holiday Park, 2 Wimmera Street, Dimboola

Getting to Dimboola

There are V/Line train and bus services from Melbourne and Adelaide taking approximately 5 hours. The combination of train and bus varies based on the route selected. It is a fantastic drive for the road trip to Dimboola with lots of great stops along the way. From Melbourne take the Western Highway north-west, the drive is approximately 4 hours. Coming from the north? Take the Borung Highway south east from Warracknabeal. 

Have you visited Dimboola? We would love to hear about your experience. Please leave comments below or tag us on social media @possandruby

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