Discover this hidden pocket of charm in central Victoria

Recently, over a home-cooked meal and a bottle of Shiraz, some dear friends told us of their recent European holiday that didn’t quite go to plan: so much so that they began questioning their willingness to travel abroad again. 

As caravanners who love regional Australia, we know the joys of a simple midweek getaway: no crowds, time to clear the mind, small-town hospitality … you know what we mean.

As our evening drew to a close, we suggested they join us on a midweek break to Heathcote, just a couple of hours’ drive from Melbourne.

To our delight, they agreed and, over the next few weeks, plans were put in place.

Our destination was the Heathcote Queen Meadow Caravan Park, just a few minutes’ walk from Heathcote’s main street. While our friends booked a cosy cabin, we opted for a powered caravan site and a fire pit: perfect for gathering around on chilly autumn evenings with nibbles and a glass of wine.

Heathcote, as is so often the case in regional Australia, unfolded its tapestry of attractions, offering scenic walks, historic sites, and charming shops. The town’s craft co-op, housed within the historic Heathcote Court House, showcased the talents of local artisans and provided a glimpse into the building’s rich past. 

After exploring the co-op, a visit to one of Heathcote’s many wineries was in order. Munari Wines, located 12km north of Heathcote, was open for tasting and lunch and it didn’t disappoint. Despite initial reservations about the winery’s exterior, the cellar door revealed an eclectic treasure trove of sights and delights. The wines and generous charcuterie board were amazing, and the wood-fired pizzas delicious.

Despite all that Heathcote provided during our three-day getaway, the highlight was the time spent relaxing around the fire pit with our good friends and a glass of wine.

And as we hooked up our caravan for the trip home, their parting words to us were, ‘Where to next?”

Getting there: Heathcote is one hour and 40 minutes from Melbourne.

What to do: Water sports lovers can enjoy plenty of options on Lake Eppalock, just a half-hour drive away. Take a step back in time down the main street with the abundance of gold-rush era buildings.

Insider’s tip: Find your fortune. You can buy a Miner’s Right for under $30 and fossick for gold or minerals on unreserved crown land (of which there is plenty around Heathcote). Visit here to purchase your permit.

Have you been to Heathcote? Why not share your advice about where to go in the comments section below?

Also read: State by state guide to Australia’s whale watching hot spots

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