It’s almost impossible to picture this gold rush outpost as it once was, home to thousands living in houses clinging to surrounding cliffs that are now covered in forest.
Hidden in a ravine high in the Victorian Alps lies Walhalla, a small town with a very small population (under 20).
It’s almost impossible to picture this gold rush outpost as it once was, home to thousands living in houses clinging to surrounding cliffs that are now covered in forest. Springing into existence in 1863 when gold fever gripped the area, Walhalla serviced one of the richest gold mines in Australia, with more than 72 tons of gold held in the Bank of Victoria’s vault on its main street. The gold mines were abandoned in 1914 and, very much as though the miners simply dropped their tools and walked out, much has been left to rust, never to be used again. Of the 72km of mines, a small section is open for tours. There’s a general store (doubling as a post office), an info centre and a museum with photos of dirty-faced miners peering out. The only other remnants of this era are the pioneer buildings – the prize of which is the brilliantly restored and maintained Star Hotel – and the well-stocked, steep, hillside cemetery.
Where? // 180km (2.5hrs) east of Melbourne.
Did you know? // It takes a 45min trek to reach Walhalla’s cricket ground, on a plateau overlooking town. Australian captain Warwick Armstrong once bet that he could hit a ball onto the roof of the local hotel, which is just over 200m away. He couldn’t and was out for a duck.
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