Discover the Top 9 Day Trips to Explore from Melbourne

Discover the Artistic Hub of Castlemaine in Central Victoria

While the coast may steal the spotlight with its stunning views and sparkling seascapes, central Victoria, particularly the arty hub of Castlemaine, should be your next weekend getaway destination. In recent years, Castlemaine and its surrounding towns have become known for their vibrant arts scene, attracting artists, musicians, writers, and creatives. From cultural festivals to top-notch restaurants, Castlemaine offers a wealth of experiences that punch above its weight.

Eat at Bistro Lola

Nestled in what was once the ice-creamery of the Theatre Royal, Bistro Lola is a cozy two-tier restaurant that sets the perfect ambiance for a date night. Head chef Sarah Curwen-Walker has crafted a menu that goes beyond quick bites, offering a dining experience worth traveling for. Indulge in dishes like orange and coriander seed-cured Spanish mackerel or Yapunyah chicken involtini with haricot beans, sage, porcini, and speck.

Drink at the Taproom

If you’re looking for a laid-back place to enjoy a beer, look no further than the Taproom. Owned by Doug Falconer of Hunters and Collectors fame, this establishment hosts live music on Sundays and most Fridays, with no door charge. You can also join in on karaoke, comedy, and trivia nights hosted by Falconer himself.

Explore the Mill

Make your way to the Mill, a beautifully restored 1875 woollen mill that has been transformed into a hub for food and artisan manufacturing. The Vintage Bazaar, open seven days a week, is a must-visit with its collection of groovy clothes and homewares. While you browse through furniture makers and artist spaces, kids can enjoy ping-pong and fussball tables, as well as the Ice Cream Social’s delightful treats. Don’t forget to stop by Cabosse & Feve Chocolates for some artisanal chocolates.

Stay at the Empyre Hotel

If you want to treat yourself to a luxurious stay, book a room at the Empyre Hotel. Built in the late 1800s, this boutique hotel showcases gold-rush architecture with its lace balconies and stained-glass windows. Enjoy a full breakfast and relax in the hotel’s elegant bar. The Empyre Hotel is conveniently located near Castlemaine’s main attractions, including the Theatre Royal.

If You Only Do One Thing…

Immerse yourself in the world of cheese at the Cheese School in Castlemaine. Founded by experienced French cheesemakers Ivan and Julie Larcher, this unique school offers classes for industry professionals and cheese enthusiasts alike. Learn traditional French techniques, indulge in tasting classes, and even try your hand at home cheesemaking. The Cheese School is a haven for cheese lovers.

About the Author

“Castlemaine: A Haven for Art Lovers” is an article written by [Author’s Name], a travel enthusiast and art lover. With a passion for exploring unique destinations, [Author’s Name] aims to inspire readers to discover the vibrant arts scene and cultural offerings of Castlemaine in central Victoria.


Central Victoria’s hidden gem, Castlemaine, offers a captivating blend of art, culture, and culinary delights. From Bistro Lola’s intimate dining experience to the Taproom’s laid-back atmosphere, there’s something for everyone. Explore the Mill’s vibrant artisan hub and indulge in Cabosse & Feve Chocolates’ delectable treats. For a truly luxurious stay, the Empyre Hotel is the perfect choice. And don’t miss the Cheese School, where you can immerse yourself in the world of cheese. Castlemaine is a haven for art lovers and a must-visit destination for your next weekend getaway.

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