Clunes, one of the most original and intact gold towns in Australia, is nestled in a scenic valley 25 minutes north of Ballarat.
The discovery of gold in the area in 1851 signalled the beginning of the gold rush in Victoria, and in its heyday Clunes was the fifth largest town in the colony.
Today, Clunes is an attractive centre for artists, authors, historians and photographers. It’s known for an intriguing range of accommodation, cafés, shops, galleries, wineries and old stores offering antiques and collectibles.
Take a walking tour and discover the charming architecture and history of the town. Among the many historical buildings are the 1860s Clunes Museum, the former London Chartered Bank (1871), the grand Town Hall and the former Post Office.
The Clunes Visitor Information Centre, housed in a school dating back to 1881, incorporates the Lee Medlyn Bottle Collection, a collection of more than 3,000 dolls, a display of local mining artefacts, an antique market and a working display of an 1860s soft drink factory.
Clunes has been used as a location for many films, television series and commercials. See if you can figure out where Ned Kelly (2002) and Mad Max were filmed.
Head out of town to Mt Beckworth State Park, a lovely spot year-round for bird watching, bushwalking and picnicking, and particularly beautiful in spring when the wildflowers are out.
Clunes is 148 kilometres north-west of Melbourne or about 90 minutes by car along the Western Freeway.