The best outdoor experiences to discover in charming Heathcote

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Walks Heathcote Doused in history and oozing with character and flair, the hamlet of Heathcote is a central Victorian goldfields town that has all the things going for it.

Established in the 1850s, the town boasts grand gold rush architecture and is fast-becoming one of Australia’s most-loved wine regions – enticing travellers to uncover all its finest tourism offerings.

And while indulgent culinary experiences, five-star accommodation, and sweet boutiques are among some of its most alluring attractions, it is perhaps the stunning landscapes, historic streetscapes and serene natural surroundings that make Heathcote one of the most attractive and picturesque places to visit in regional Victoria.

Nestled between the imposing McHarg and McIvor Ranges and sitting at the base of Mount Ida,  a visit to Heathcote will see you soaking up the great outdoors amidst the dense ironbark forests, venturing along one of the many walking trails, enjoying a whole load of recreational activities, or simply savouring the autumnal hues and sights that the fall season bestows.

Here are some of our top picks for a rich and adventure-filled autumn experience in charming Heathcote. So sport your finest outerwear, and get set to explore.

Pink Cliffs

HeathcoteA mesmerising and colourful phenomenon, the Pink Cliffs were brought to light by the region’s early gold-mining activities. The site of major sluicing works until the early 1880s, the colourful, hill-like terrain of the cliffs provides not only an interesting stroll itself but is perfect for bird-watching and spotting wildflowers too.

Valley of Liquidambers

HeathcoteAs the name suggests, this natural wonder will have you immersed in a sea of amber and other autumn tones as you appreciate the true beauty that autumn-time provides. Located close to the centre of town just adjacent to McIvor Creek, you can pack a picnic lunch and relish in the superb colours and splendid views.

Viewing Rock Lookout and Devil’s Cave

HeathcoteTake in the entire township of Heathcote as you power up the incline through the forest and to the rock for a panoramic view of the town and surrounding area. Close to the top of the Viewing Rock, you’ll be able to visit Devil’s Cave – a place used as shelter for the First Nations Peoples and, later, gold miners during their travels. An easy to moderate 90-minute climbing walk, it’s a sure way to get your holiday exercise in while enjoying some solitude.

O’Keefe Rail Trail

Heathcote BikingThis historic journey from Heathcote to Bendigo has been travelled on since the late 1800s when the railway line first linked the two towns. Today, the recreational trail beside the old railway line allows users to journey the full 50 kilometres – albeit at a slightly slower pace. One of Victoria’s most family-friendly journeys, you’ll travel past some spectacular natural bushland, waterways and recreation reserves. Pack a picnic, spot some wondrous wildflowers, and maybe even chat with a platypus or two.

The trail even has water stations at key locations, as well as bike repair stations and interpretive and directional signage – ensuring your adventure is as smooth as possible!

If you’re an avid biker, there are plenty more trails around the town that will provide a decent glimpse into all the region’s glory – coffee included. Find out more here.

Historic Walk

Heathcote WalksTake a self-guided tour of Heathcote’s most iconic landmarks as you travel back in time and admire some of the most beautiful architecture from the Victorian era. The town’s Historic Walk contains 20 sites, each with a rich story to tell, and some which can be entered if visited at the right time. Download your own map here, and let your curiosity unfold.

Lake Eppalock

Heathcote WalksConstructed in the 1960s as a water catchment for irrigation, this iconic lake now acts as one of the major spaces for recreation of all sorts in the region – whether it’s a spot of fishing, waterskiing, boating, swimming or even bird-watching. Located on the Campaspe River and with some impressive scenery to boot – this is the place to be during your autumn escape.

Reserves and National Parks

Walks HeathcoteHeathcote’s location makes for some rather impressive natural wonders. Surrounded by reserves and national parks, your visit is bound to be riddled with adventure and its link to the gold rush past means you’ll likely come across some relics from the gold rush during your outdoor travels. Heathcote-Graytown National Park, Argyle and Spring Plains State Forest and One Eye State Forest are just some of the parklands to explore during your visit – just ensure you steer clear of any uncovered mine shafts still standing from the days of yore.





WHAT: Heathcote in Autumn
FIND OUT MORE: Heathcote

We wish to acknowledge the Taungurung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.