Published on 24th May 2017
by Linsey Rendell

This regional gold-rush-era town is now a hub of produce makers, artists, markets, fine food and drink. Here's our guide to Castlemaine.

In mid-1851 one of the largest alluvial gold deposits in the world was discovered beneath the fertile soils of Dja Dja Wurrung country in Central Victoria. Soon 25,000 diggers were living in the area, and the town of Castlemaine swiftly transitioned from a valley of native bushland to a gold-rush tent city, and then Euro-grid town. Many of these 19th-century buildings are still standing today.

The surrounding fields, orchards and vineyards now brim with high quality produce, so many of the town’s cafes and restaurants champion local produce. Similarly, in the past six years the town has grown from harbouring just a handful of espresso machines to dozens.

Colloquially known as “Northcote North”, Castlemaine has lured and nurtured a slew of creatives over the years. They are drawn by the town’s supportive community of artists, musicians, designers and makers, and its leafy landscape. Vintage items and antiques have a stronghold too, and there are pastries and pastas to soak up the many locally made drinks.

Castlemaine is a 90-minute drive north-west of Melbourne up the Calder Freeway, and about the same if you take the V/Line from Southern Cross Station.

Welcome to Castlemaine

EAT

From plentiful pastries, to seasonal lunch fare and hearty dinners by a fireplace, Castlemaine oversupplies on the delicious food front.

Peddling Pastry

Shop

Start your day with pastries and a remarkable cup of coffee.

Permanently Closed

The Governor's Cafe

Cafe

Excellent eats with a view of the town from the Old Gaol.

Johnny Baker

Shop

It’s first in, best fed at this drive-through patisserie.

Fig

Cafe

Mum-style cooking next to the fireplace.

Permanently Closed

Public Inn

Restaurant

Euro-bistro eats and a fun wine concept.

DRINK

Round out local wine and cider tastings with a cleansing ale at one of the town’s many drinking establishments.

Margot Wine Bar

Bar

Your favourite lounge room wine bar in the country.

The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine

Bar

Noteworthy live music and Collingwood-esque pub grub.

Bress Wine, Cider and Produce

Bar

Biodynamic wine tastings and long lunches among the barrels.

Das Kaffeehaus

Cafe

There’s lots to sip at this creative precinct.

Boomtown Winery Co-op

Bar

A community-driven winery and cellar door.

Shedshaker Brewing

Bar

The town’s one and only brewery.

DO

Musicians, artists, makers and producers all gather under reinvigorated historic roofs in this creative community.

STAY

From a quiet bush retreat, to a vintage bed and breakfast above a recording studio, there’s plenty of intriguing sleeping quarters around town. Check out even more places to stay in Castlemaine.

The Diggers Store

Accommodation

A cosy B&B; in a converted 1850s stable.

Riversdale Retreat

Accommodation

A private bushland retreat in quaint Chewton.

Itinerary

Winter Getaway in Castlemaine

Comforts abound in this hub of agricultural and creative talent. A winter-ready town, Castlemaine provides numerous opportunities to huddle up by a fireplace – with cake at a cafe, whisky at a bar or at your lodgings.