Recreation & outdoor activities
Hit the books in Clunes – one of only 15 internationally recognised Booktowns in the world. Wander along Fraser Street to take in the ornate gold rush architecture and mix it with the Australia’s literati during festival time.
Every May Clunes hosts the Booktown Festival – a literary celebration featuring everything from book sales, author talks and workshops to live music, panel discussions, theatre and food, as well as plenty of fun for the kids. Hear stories, be a part of the conversation, and fossick through the book racks where you’ll find collectable, rare, second-hand, new, and small press books on sale.
Literary activities aren’t just confined to festival time. Browse the numerous bookshops and explore this vibrant gold rush town. Talk about your favourite books and while away afternoons in the village’s charming cafes, boutiques, bookstores and wineries. Time your trip to coincide with one of the Booktown on Sundays writers’ talks ¬– held on the third Sunday of each month.
The discovery of gold in the area in 1851 signalled the beginning of Victoria’s gold rush in Victoria, and in its heyday Clunes was the fifth largest town in the colony. Relive the glory years with a walking tour to discover the charming architecture, like the 1860s Clunes Museum, the former London Chartered Bank (1871) and Italianate Post Office (1878).
The Clunes Visitor Information Centre, housed in a school dating back to 1881, incorporates the Lee Medlyn Bottle Collection, a collection of over 3,000 dolls, local mining artefacts, an antique market and a working display of an 1860s soft drink factory.
Clunes’ pristine streetscape has been used as a location for films, television series and commercials, including Ned Kelly (2002) and Mad Max.
Head out of town to Mt Beckworth State Park for bird watching, bushwalking and picnicking, and visit in spring to see the abundant wildflowers in full bloom.
Clunes is 148 kilometres north-west of Melbourne or about 90 minutes by car along the Western Freeway.