Stay close, go further
Explore historic towns and regional cities on a road trip through the Wimmera Mallee region of western Victoria. Take in sky-high outdoor art, treat your tastebuds to regional produce, and stretch your legs while exploring ancient, volcanic landscapes and mountains.
1. Rediscover the golden days
In the mid-19th Century, over a third of the world's gold came right here from Victoria’s central goldfields. That rich ore helped build up some of the state's biggest towns, such as Bendigo and Ballarat, and you’ll find nods to this golden past scattered throughout the region.
Try your luck panning for gold at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, learn about the role Chinese immigrants played in the Gold Rush at Bendigo's Golden Dragon Museum, or descend underground on a guided mine exploration at Central Deborah Gold Mine.
2. Go wild
Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park may be the region's most recognisable landmark, but the Wimmera Mallee region is full of volcanic plains, lakes and dramatic rock formations to discover, as well as the wild inhabitants who call this rugged landscape home.
Keep an eye out for rare mallee fowls on a self-guided walk in Little Desert National Park or grab a paddle with Go Paddle and spot egrets and emus from the water. For family-friendly fun, head to Ballarat Wildlife Park, where you can hand feed kangaroos and meet koalas, wombats and little penguins.
3. Art and culture
Discover art and culture, both modern and ancient, on this road trip. Turn into Halls Gap and visit award-winning Brambuk – The National Park and Cultural Centre, where you can see Indigenous artefacts and art. If you want to mix culture with the outdoors, Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park has five shelters open to the public where you can see Indigenous rock art.
Ballarat and Bendigo are also thriving art hubs, with some of Australia's oldest regional art galleries. Castlemaine and Maryborough hold their own too, with Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum's collection of notable artists housed inside a historic art deco building.
Another great option is to hit the road on the Silo Art Trail – a 200-kilometre trail that's also Australia's largest open-air art gallery.
4. Silo Art Trail
While it's possible to complete the Silo Art Trail in a few hours, to really savour the experience it's best to go slow. Wind your way along the country's biggest outdoor gallery, which continues to evolve with new art works, and stop in to explore towns like Nullawil, Rosebery, and Kaniva along the way.
We recommend setting aside three to four days for the trail, perhaps spending a memorable night in Sea Lake, the gateway to salt-encrusted Lake Tyrrell. Its reflective surface makes it ideal for photographing at both sunrise and sunset.
5. Unforgettable stays
Live large or go off the grid, you can do both on a road trip out west. Shacky in the Grampians is your secluded, self-sufficient and stylish retreat near Halls Gap, or combine glamping with a working farm stay at Rocklea Farm.
At the other end of the spectrum, RACV Goldfields Resort makes an ideal place to either explore the region, or stay in and enjoy the in-house restaurant and bar, tennis courts, heated outdoor swimming pool, golf course and modern rooms.