When the concrete and commotion of the big city become too much, we recommend flocking a little further north to visit Victoria's buzzing hub of arts and events, known as the Regional Centre for Culture. The RCC spans the four shires surrounding Bendigo, Daylesford, Castlemaine and Maryborough – and we recommend that you try to explore as much of it as possible in the coming months.
Choosing a place to stay in these parts comes down to the type of holiday you’re after. Would you like to soak up the arty atmosphere of Castlemaine or embrace the bush around Marysborough? Is it a relaxing stay you’re after? Daylesford and Hepburn Springs have you sorted there. Travelling on a budget but want to skip the motel chain life? Not a problem. Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’ve found 12 accommodation options that show off this region’s charming hospitality scene.
For more insight into all the exciting festivals, events and surprises that the Regional Centre for Culture has in store, check out our ultimate guide to the RCC.
Accommodation in the Regional Centre for Culture
This upscale bed and breakfast lets you experience small country charm and modern luxury all rolled into one. Part of a heritage-listed property, inside be&be’s studio-style building you’ll find mid-century trappings beside throwback seventies furniture. It’s in a prime location too, right on the top of a hill in Castlemaine. Enjoy your morning cuppa joe in be&be’s picturesque garden that’s lush with succulents, rock beds, bonsais and a crop of hundred-year-old gums.
Daylesford is perfect for a day trip, but if you want to extend your stay, it’s hard to go past this level of luxury. Built in 1908, the Dudley House has been fully renovated to a five-star standard, boasting a bunch of swanky guest rooms that come with all the sides: full breakfast for all guests, an attentive concierge service, as well as access to the hotel dining room, library and gym. Pro tip: swan dive onto those beds as soon as you enter the room – they’re decked out with quality Actil linen and marshmallow soft quilts, plus there’s even a pillow menu. A pillow menu!
While in spa country, snag a room at the charming Edwardian-style Bellinzona Grange. It’s located just a smidge outside of Daylesford, so it feels like your very own hidden oasis, plus there’s a range of guesthouse and cottage accommodation options on offer to suit all your getaway needs. Our pick is the self-contained cottages that boast private lounges, wood heaters, fully equipped kitchens and luxe spas. This place thrives during wedding season and there’s no prizes for guessing why.
Located only a few minutes from central Castlemaine, the Diggers Store was established in 1857 and originally functioned as a gold-mining supplies store. Today, the space has been transformed into an art gallery and project space, with the neighbouring stable converted into a charming bed and breakfast. Each room in this self-contained stable has retro-cool vibes that would make Wes Anderson blush, including interesting vintage detailing and artefacts from the Gold Rush period. There’s an open fire, a fully equipped kitchen, a record player with assorted vinyl, comfy couches, books, board games, Wifi and Netflix. Step outside and you’ll be greeted by a sweet country garden too.
Bring the little ones or rediscover your inner summertime kid at BIG4 Bendigo, Bendigo’s premier holiday park offering both all-inclusive cabins and sites to park your campervan or tent. It’s all about choosing your own adventure here: there’s a four-level indoor play centre, swimming pool, heated spa and a huge jumping cushion, plus you can hire pedal go-karts to use around the park too. With Bendigo city centre only a short distance away, it’s a pretty perfect place to base yourself while you check out the best of Victoria’s Goldfields region.
Check into the sumptuous Lochinver Farm, a property that has cottages and apartments spread across 1000 acres of rolling farmland. With a backdrop of wattles, gums and peppercorns, our pick of the lot is the Blue Wren Cottage, a quintessential Australian farm house complete with retro fixtures and a breezy front veranda. Originally a 1860s miner’s cottage, this spot is great for couples, groups of friends or even a family. Bring along your doggo too as the place is pet-friendly.
It’ll be hard to return to your regular life after a few nights at the Lake House. First off, no, this isn’t the house from that mediocre Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves romance film that you’re thinking about – but something much better. Daylesford’s Lake House is a country Victoria institution, sitting on the banks of Lake Daylesford, and including 33 rooms and suites in either a waterfront or garden lodge setting. Relax here at their Salus Spa, take a walk through the neighbouring Wombat State Forest or enjoy a meal at their world-renowned fine dining restaurant – however you choose to spend your time, expect to be treated like royalty. Now, someone go fetch the corgis, it’s time for your morning mineral soak.
Treat yourself (and a dozen of your best pals) to luxury with a capital ‘L’ at Daylesford’s Manor House. This vast and lavish mansion is damn swoonworthy. It was purposely built as a group guesthouse and features eight individually-styled bedrooms – each with their own ensuite bathroom, we might add – centred around a dual-sided fireplace. There’s flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and parking. We suggest cooking a feast for you and your pals in the schmick kitchen and retiring to the four-metre dining table with 15 of your chosen friends or family.
After a day exploring Bendigo, wind down at Quest Bendigo Central. Modern and flooded with natural light, these serviced apartment style hotel rooms have all the amenities of home: LCD TVs with Foxtel, high-speed internet, comfortable king beds plus access to Quest’s outdoor swimming pool and alfresco barbecue area. And then, of course, there’s the location. It’s within walking distance of the CBD, the Bendigo Art Gallery, the Ulumbarra Theatre and Lake Weeroona, meaning you’re never far from the action.
Maryborough is a regional Vic jewel, unhurried and unassuming. Just off the main drag you’ll find Maryborough Caravan Park, a bargain pitstop only a short drive from countless Goldfields attractions. They kick casual accommodation up a notch: there’s cabins, villas, powered caravan parking spots and camping options with nightly rates starting from a measly $32 during low season. The best part? It’s right opposite the picturesque Lake Victoria.
The rooms at the quaint Celestine House bed and breakfast are soaked in vintage charm, touting four suites, a studio apartment and a private and self-contained cottage. This home away from home is equipped with a cosy wood fire, a double spa and a patio with views to forever. With old-fashioned Aussie hospitality as its big drawcard, Celestine House is located in the tiny country town of Guildford, just a short drive south from Castlemaine.
It’s every wine lover’s dream to live next door to a winery, and at Byronsvale you get to do just that. The Stables at Byronsvale offer three restored and renovated self-contained apartments as accommodation for travellers in the region. Each apartment beautifully blends old-timey flavour (including lovely sandstone walls and brick floors) with contemporary amenities. The best part is the views: located within a 160-acre property of picturesque farmland, you’ll be surrounded by some of Bendigo’s oldest shiraz and cabernet vines. We’ll toast to that.
Discover more of the RCC
What do the four shires surrounding the buzzing Victorian centres of Bendigo, Daylesford, Castlemaine and Maryborough have in common? In 2018, they’re teaming up to form the Regional Centre for Culture. Over 12 big months, the RCC will host music festivals, shows, exhibitions and community events. For a comprehensive look at where to go, stay and eat, check out our guide to the RCC.