A Guide to a Delightful Weekend in Old-World Walhalla

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The moment I arrived into Walhalla through the winding mountainside roads, thick with native forest, I was stunned. It was simply gorgeous.

Why the hell hadn’t I visited (or even heard of!) this stunning time-capsule mountain town earlier?! I constantly seek out unique places in Victoria, and Walhalla is probably one of the most quirky places I’ve visited to date.

“Stepping back in time” is such an overused travel cliche, but with no petrol stations, commercial buildings, and only a couple of pubs, holiday cottages and traditional-style shops, Walhalla really is a true rural escape from mainstream modernity. 

Walhalla is probably the closest you’ll ever get to experiencing what life in Australia was like in the 1800s. I was utterly bowled over by this fascinating museum town. 

Now a weekend in Walhalla is my number one recommendation for anyone who wants a quiet and unique mountain getaway but with plenty of things to do. The charming streetscapes, scenery and abundance of interesting activities like a heritage train ride and underground mine tours provide a perfectly balanced weekend. 

I have been eagerly awaiting the chance to write about, and share my love for this place after multiple visits in my camper van. In this guide, I’ll share how to make the most of a wonderful weekend in Walhalla!

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A Weekend in Walhalla
weekend itinerary walhalla vic
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But Where Exactly is Walhalla?

Walhalla is located in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, near Mount Baw Baw. It’s approximately 130 kilometres (80 miles) east of Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria. From Melbourne, it will take roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive in good conditions.

Be warned that the last few kilometres of the drive to Walhalla along the edge of the mountains is very windy. Be careful of rockfalls (which are common as parts of the road are carved into the rock) and tight hairpin bends.

How Long Should I Spend in Walhalla?

Walhalla Architecture

A weekend in Walhalla provides ample time to take in all the highlights the town and its surroundings have to offer.

In my opinion, spending the night in Walhalla, either camping or in one of the many accommodation options, allows for a more relaxed and immersive experience of Walhalla’s charm and activities. So take a long weekend break and enjoy a leisurely road trip!

Some visitors may opt for just a day trip, as at a squeeze, you could do all Walhalla’s highlights in a jam-packed day. Whether a day trip to Walhalla is feasible really depends on where you’re coming from, and how much driving you’d have to do in a day.

Where to stay in Walhalla

Coopers Creek Campground (free)

Coopers Creek Campground

If you have a tent or campervan, I would highly recommend you camp at the fantastic free campground beside the river at Coopers Creek. It’s about a 15 minute drive south from the town of Walhalla. It’s not huge (about 10 sites), so go early and have a plan B, like Thomson Bridge Campground (apparently open again after renos which were happening both times I’ve tried to go).

Surrounded by forested slopes and beside a broad bend in the Thomson River, you’ll find some grassy areas for tents and gravel car parking for vehicles. Despite most of the site being on a slight slope, it’s an extremely scenic spot and accessible for 2WD vehicles. A compostable long-drop toilet is available, some fire pits and BBQs.

The only downside is that when I was there with my sister we experienced locals hooning around in their 4x4s late at night through the river and nearby 4WD tracks. It could be just bad luck, but it did ruin the tranquillity of such an attractive little spot!

But all was forgotten as I watched the mist roll in over the trees and along the river from my rooftop tent as the sun rose in the morning. 

Erica Caravan Park

erica caravan park

If you’re looking for more comfortable facilities like showers and laundry, then I have also stayed at Erica Caravan Park, about a 20 minute drive from Walhalla.  

The caravan park has perfectly flat and well tended sunny or shaded plots for tents or vans, with fab amenities including a communal area made from old shipping containers and good free WiFi. They also have cabins for rent.

The owners are lovely hard working Aussies and made me feel very welcome as a solo female in my van. Erica is also a super cute little place and I enjoyed walking around the nearby forest and looking at the quirky old Erica Railway Station with its vintage knick knacks in the garden.

An unpowered spot cost me $30 for the night.

– The Mill House

mill house
Image credit: Mill House

For a property to rent for a weekend in the heart of Walhalla, Mill House is a suitably charming historic cottage with a terrace and balcony.

The property is ideal for a couple, but it does also have a single twin room through the master, so it would be suitable for a couple with two kids as well.

A short history of Walhalla

walhalla bridges

Established in the late 19th century during the gold rush period, Walhalla was once a prosperous mining town, attracting many settlers and miners seeking their fortune. 

While the identity of the person who first discovered gold in Walhalla may never be definitively established, the town’s gold rush played a significant role in the development of the region and the growth of the Australian economy during the 19th century.

Due to the area’s riches, the town was named after the Norse legend of Valhalla, a heavenly abode for warriors who died in battle.

In the museum, I read that Walhalla actually became quite an ugly and dirty place as all the trees were cut down to fuel the mine machinery and the pollution was terrible. With its lushness and fresh mountain air, it’s hard to believe that today!

By the early 20th century, the easily accessible gold deposits were depleted and the population declined, leading to the eventual abandonment of many of the buildings. 

In the latter half of the 20th century, the town was rediscovered and revitalised as a tourist destination. Today, Walhalla is a popular destination for weekend escapees and history buffs, who come to visit its well-preserved buildings and learn about the town’s fascinating cultural heritage.

Things to do on a Weekend In Walhalla:

Whether you’re into historic sights or exploring the outdoors, you’ll find lots of interesting things to do in and around Walhalla. Your only difficulty will be deciding in what order to do everything.

Here’s a few things you can comfortably do on a weekend exploring Walhalla.

1. Visit the Walhalla Cemetery

Cost: free

Duration: 20-30 minutes

walhalla cemetary

As you drive into Walhalla, the first point of interest is Walhalla Cemetery on your right, established in the late 19th century as the final resting place for many of the town’s early European settlers and gold miners.

From the road, it’s a couple of minutes walk, though it’s a very steep path. Walhalla Cemetery is said to be one of the most unique cemeteries in Australia as it’s positioned on a steep hill and so many of the graves are tunnelled into the hillside.

Although I personally find cemeteries a bit weird as a tourist attraction, it’s a very attractive setting and really fascinating to read the old fading headstones. It’s especially sad to see just how many young children are buried here. It’s clear that life in such an isolated town in the 1800s was a very tough place.

Lookout for the ‘cursed grave’ where a deceased miner has a foretelling of doom for anyone who stands on his tomb!

2. Join a Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mining Tour

Cost: $25 per adult

Duration: 1 hour (+ 15 minutes for the museum)

gold mine tour walhalla

The cornerstone of Walhalla’s founding is the gold mine, now open to the public for hour-long tours, which run multiple times per day. You can book online, or grab a ticket on-the-door.

It was once the state of Victoria’s wealthiest gold mine, producing over 13 tons of gold during its operation from 1865-1911, making the Walhalla Gold Mine an integral part of Australia’s mining legacy.

Your journey begins at the gold mine visitor’s centre. There’s a small museum with various mining equipment and memorabilia, so it’s well worth heading there 15 minutes early to have a look around. 

You’ll then don a hardhat and descend into the mine as the outside world fades away, replaced by a chilling silence and the cool, damp air that wraps around you. Your expert guide (often an ex-miner), torch in hand, will lead you through the tunnels, illuminating the stories of the men who worked here and their tough lives. 

Just make sure you bring a waterproof jacket and add a layer or two, as the mine is pretty cold and wet, and you may get dripped on. Good footwear is also important as it’s pretty slippery.

3. Ride the Walhalla Historic Goldfields Railway

Cost: $30 per adult (return)

Duration: 1 hour (return journey)

walhalla goldfields railway

Riding a historic train on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway, across the historic bridge to Thomson Station, is a wonderful opportunity to step back into the golden past, chugging along the tracks that were once the lifeline for this gold-rich town. Kids will certainly love the experience. 

Once you arrive at Thomson Station, you have time to explore the area, enjoy a picnic, or grab an ice cream from the station shop, before returning on the next departure to Walhalla. 

Make sure you sit on the right hand side of the carriage (the opposite side to where you enter) initially, to ensure you’re in the best position to see the mountainside views. 

historic train walhalla
interior of hitoric train

The historic trains operate on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, setting off from Walhalla at 11am., 1pm, and 3pm. However, the 3pm service is not available from June through to August. During school holiday periods, the frequency of these services is increased. 

4. Pop into the Post Office Museum

Cost: Donation only

Duration: 15- 40 minutes

walhalla telegraph office

With the lure of gold suddenly founding a new town in the isolated hills of Victoria, people needed to communicate with their loved ones back home.

In March 1886, up popped the Post Office, standing grandly beside other prominent buildings such as banks and the Roman Catholic Church. 

The Old Post Office & Telegraph Office is the last remaining government building in Walhalla, miraculously surviving the many local disasters including fires and floods that otherwise destroyed much of the rest of the township. It’s an absolutely fascinating time warp as to how life was here. It remains pretty much untouched from when the last postmistress left it.

old post office walhalla
post mistress house walhalla

Look through the rooms, read the information and take your time exploring all the weird and wonderful knick knacks from the 1800s. 

It’s free to visit the Post Office Museum, though donations are appreciated so you can support the preservation of such an important link to Walhalla’s past. 

5. Take a Self-Guided Walk Around Town

Cost: free

Duration: 1-2 hours

walhalla shops

One of the most captivating ways to discover Walhalla’s abundant history is by taking a leisurely self-guided walk through its streets.

Start at the main road near the cemetery and wander through the heart of the town, soaking in its preserved charm whilst admiring all the cute cottages and traditional shop fronts. Walhalla really reminds me of the living museum of Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, a day trip from Melbourne I would recommend to all history buffs!

Ensure you stop at the information boards around town which tell tales of interesting local people and point out historic buildings and other areas of interest.

ned stringers park
Walhalla Bandstand

As you continue your exploration, the attractive historic bandstand stands as a testament to Walhalla’s vibrant community spirit where it was once a focal point for gatherings, musical performances and celebrations.

There are also plenty of shops to pop into such as the Corner Store which is the current visitor centre, offering a collection of old-world and modern goods and souvenirs, as well as a small free museum at the back of the property. 

6. Visit the St John’s Church

Cost: free

Duration: 15 minutes

st johns church walhalla
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If you can, try to find the tiny St. John’s Anglican Church nestled up on the hill, above the main street, accessed by winding past some very attractive houses. The church itself if a very basic wooden structure nuilt in 1918, but really, it’s the journey there which is quite lovely.

Services are held here on the third Sunday of every month at 3pm, but it’s open to pop your head in and have a look around the rest of the time.

7. Enjoy a Cream Tea at the Walhalla Witchery Cafe

Duration: 30 minutes

After a delightful stroll, there’s nothing more comforting than enjoying a traditional cream tea. The Walhalla Witchery Cafe is the perfect spot to do just that. Nestled amidst the town’s historic architecture, the cafe serves up a delightful assortment of scones with cream and jam, complemented by a pot of freshly brewed tea.

The cafe’s ambience, with gothic Victorian era decor, only enhances the experience. Afterwards, check out their shop for some wonderfully witchy trinkets and gifts.

8. Be Spooked on a Nighttime Ghost Tour

Cost: $30 per adult

Duration: 1.5 hours, Saturday nights only

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As darkness envelopes Walhalla, the town takes on a wholly different, and more sinister persona. For those that like a thrill, a nighttime ghost tour is an experience during your weekend in Walhalla that’s not to be missed!

Led by knowledgeable local guides, these weekly tours unearth mysterious tales and legends that shroud Walhalla’s streets. From unexplained occurrences and sightings of long-departed souls, to tragic stories of those who died above, and below ground in the mines.

If you’re the kind of person that likes a hit of adrenaline, then you’ll love these walking tours. Just make sure you contact them nice and early to request a booking as you can’t directly book online.

9. Grab a Parma at the “Wally Pub”

The Wally Pub

After your ghost tour or perhaps for your Sunday lunch before you head home, enjoy a pint and a parma of your choice from the huge dedicated parma menu at the old-school Walhalla Lodge Hotel. A local I sat next to assured me they are the best parmas within a 50km radius!

Just make sure you book a table in advance. We didn’t and this little pub gets very busy. We only just managed to get a small table on the balcony outside with the smokers after waiting for about 10 minutes.

From its gold-mining roots to the breathtaking scenery of its natural surroundings, Walhalla invites visitors to step back in time and savour a slower pace of life. If you’ve never considered it before, a weekend in Walhalla might just be the charming Victorian getaway you’ve been seeking.

Heading to Australia soon? Don’t forget these essentials!

Flights: compare and search using Skyscanner

Accommodation: hotels to hostels, glamping to apartments I always use Booking.com

Tours: to search and compare the best group tours and activities worldwide (with up to 20% off), use Viator

Visa: don’t forget to check the entry requirements for Australia on the government website for the passport you are travelling with

Inspiration: Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia or for your next trip, how about Lonely Planet’s Guide to the World?

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6 thoughts on “A Guide to a Delightful Weekend in Old-World Walhalla”

  1. It looks such a charming place to visit and one I would have loved to explore when I was in Victoria but I hadn’t heard of it before now! I love these towns that ooze old-world charm and have a rich history. Riding the train would have been high on my list of things to do.

  2. I’ve never heard of Walhalla before! The train ride looks like a really fun and unique experience which I would love to try! The ghost tour also looks really interesting.

  3. Your weekend adventure in Walhalla sounds like a magical escape! What a charming town. I’m personally interested in the cemetery! It looks so green! Thanks for sharing this gem!


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