Located in the heart of stunning region of Goldfields, Ballarat and Creswick are famous gold mining towns. But they both boast some seriously great food, wine and craft brews too.
HOW TO GET THERE
Just an hour and 15 minutes west of Melbourne.
Driving Take the 110km journey along the Western Freeway.
Train Direct from Melbourne’s Southern Cross station, swipe your Myki to arrive in less than 90 minutes on the direct V/Line train at the 19th century-built Railway station right in the centre of town.
Airport The road trip from Tullamarine or Avalon airports to Ballarat takes about one hour. Options to get you here direct from the airport include hiring a car, or booking the Airport Shuttlebus which departs from Tullamarine.
Creswick is located on the Midland Highway, a scenic twenty minute drive to either Ballarat or Daylesford, is the picturesque and historic township of Creswick.
We spoke to local Shannyn Harris about her favourite spots.
Shannyn is part of the wine making team at Mitchell Harris Wines. Together with husband John, her brother Craig and his wife Alicia, they have transformed an 1890s produce store into a thriving wine bar. Recently awarded the highest (3-glass) rating by Gourmet Traveller Wine in 2016 (their winery is also 5-star Halliday rated), Mitchell Harris Wine Bar and Wine Store is a sought-out spot to explore regional wines. It is well worth a stop if you're in the area.
- Breakfast/Brunch at Webster's Market and Café - the pulled ham hock Eggs Benedict and the House-cured Salmon are particular favourites.
- Lunch in the bustle of L’Espresso - try the Confit Duck.
- Forge Pizzeria hard to beat at any time of day for a delicious pizza -our favourite is the Shearer - slow cooked Western Victorian lamb and Meredith Goats Cheese.
- Have a perfectly seared steak at the Farmers Arms. Great local wines and craft beers too.
- Don’t miss the gourmet Thai experience at Catfish. Street hawkers’ morsels leading into a whole fried snapper.
- Kick off the morning with a heart-starting coffee at Fika - seriously good brews!
- For another recharge, enjoy a Padre coffee and browse the fascinating Middle Eastern larder atMacarthur Street Larder.
- For a great drink in a true craft beer pub, hit The Mallow Hotel in the afternoon for the best curated range of craft beers in the town.
- And of course later in the evening, even we’d find it hard to go past our own creation, Mitchell Harris Wines - with great wines and food of Western Victoria and beyond.
- Don’t miss Regional Australia’s largest art collection at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, with amazing exhibitions throughout the year.
- See the jewel in Ballarat’s crown with a #lapofthelake around Lake Wendouree. Run, ride, walk or paddle around -amazing way for all ages to while away the day.
- For the energetic, it’s hard to beat a cycle from Ballarat to Creswick along the Goldfields Track. This cycle path takes you through old diggings and beautiful forest for as far as you wish to pedal.
- If you’re wandering through our historic city, check out Ballarat Revealed for an augmented reality of what Ballarat has looked like through the years. It’s like a visual smartphone tour guide, with free wi-fi throughout the City of Ballarat!
- Great places to stay include the newly revamped RACV Goldfields Resort. Smart, luxurious and a great setting amongst the forest and golf links.
- For an unforgettable truly Ballarat stay, it has to be Craig’s Royal Hotel. A legendary gold-rush era grand hotel in the heart of the city.
- Just out of Creswick, Aghadoe Estate is an amazing farm experience with luxury accommodation on a working farm.