The golden silence will descend upon The Sup’ at 7am Monday morning and gates close at 1pm after a late checkout. There’s no camping Monday night but, if you don’t want the goldenness to end, there’s plenty to do or see in the Golden Plains Shire.
There are pubs in most of the surrounding towns and Clyde Park Vineyard, on the Midland Highway just before Bannockburn, has some awe-inspiring views over the Moorabool Valley, hearty country grub and wine tastings from 11am. They’re also catering at the festival so you can compare wash-up notes with Terry and Sue, if they’re still standing.
Both of the pubs in town will be open Monday. Rest your weary bones with Damian and Claire at the Royal Hotel (the Bottom pub), or Hearn’s Meredith Hotel (the Top pub). The Meredith roadhouse sells deep fried treats, as well as ice creams and various other consolations. There’s also the Back Creek Café and Dorothy’s Kitchen, which sell treats and local produce and which will be trading at various times over the weekend.
A Ghostly Pick Me Up
Feel like death? Why not check out some of the local cemeteries to remind yourself it’s not as bad as you think. Some of Victoria’s earliest European cemeteries can be found in the Golden Plains Shire, giving you a glimpse into some of the lives that once roamed the plains. There are historic cemeteries located in Teesdale, Bannockburn, Steiglitz and Meredith itself, as well as a few of the other small towns that dot the landscape.
Way Back Then
Feeling old? Why not visit an historic town and remind yourself that you’re still an adolescent in the larger scheme of things. There are a number of largely preserved towns a short drive from Meredith, including the Smythesdale Historic Police Precinct, which was once the centre of law and order in the region. Ideal for bushwalkers, fossickers and bird-watchers, the town’s ancient gallows are also still intact, so you can act out your favourite period drama. There’s also the historic town of Steiglitz, on the way to the Brisbane Ranges National Park (which is also worth a visit), that looks pretty much like it did in 1882.
And if you head towards Ballarat and take a right not far past Elaine, you’ll also find Lal Lal the town (with pub) and Lal Lal Falls (with picnic grounds and bbq). A natural wonder that’s pretty dry this time of year, the falls drop 34 metres down a gorge and have moved around a kilometre and a half down stream during the last 2.5 million years. The place was also home to an annual race meet that at its height in the 1880s attracted around 20,000 spectators.
Gold fever came to the area when an itinerant German struck it slightly rich in Monroe’s Gully, just out of Meredith. As a result of the pandemonium that followed, there’s now over 300 disused mines within the bounds of the shire. This includes the Jubilee Mine, which dates back to 1887 and is one of Victoria’s best preserved original gold mines. It’s located on the other side of Mount Mercer and not too far from Flagstaff Hill Lookout, where you can gaze across the pastoral scene all the way to Bass Strait, the Otway Ranges and the Grampians.