Walhalla Walkabout

One of the best ways to explore a place is on foot and the tiny township of Walhalla is no exception. It’s even better if you’re staying the night and feel like being part of a spooky ghost tour.

However, did I want to get the pants scared off me? Or did I prefer to stay by our warm camp fire by the creek, enjoying a delicious three course dinner and drinking red wine under a starry sky.  What do you think this little camper did?

Yep, you guessed it. The camp fire won out.

But during the day, it’s a different story. Walhalla lends itself to exploring on foot.

A bit of history

Hidden in a deep valley in the isolated Victorian alps Walhalla was a boom town of the 1880s and in its prime was one of the richest gold areas in Australia. The gold harvested under the town harvested 72 tonnes. That’s more weight in gold than a Boeing 737.

When the mines closed in 1914 its demise was rapid and the town of roughly 3000 people went bust.

The people moved out and the town lay deserted for most of the twentieth century, buildings were shipped out and the town was practically overtaken by bush. Walhalla became frozen in time, virtually a ghost town.

However some structures remained and in the 1990s, with renewed interest in Australia’s heritage, many of the homes and shops began to be rebuilt. Loving hands have since restored this town to something that resembles a toy town.

Except it’s very real and thanks to dedicated groups and volunteers it’s rich and fascinating history remains.

Main street of Walhalla
Walhalla only has one main street but it’s a pretty one.

Today just 20 people live here, however thousands visit every year. On the Sunday we were there the Traralgon Triathalon club were running marathon circuits through the hilly town. A scenic, strenuous setting.

Interpretative signs line the street making exploring interesting

Walhalla through the years

I can remember visiting Walhalla as a little girl, on day trips that sparked the magic in me. Memories of picnics near Stringers Creek, panning for gold, walks to the hillside cemetery and the cricket pitch and the much photographed rotunda. It felt a bit like a ghost town with its weathered buildings. Years later we returned with our own kids and discovered the town had been given a face lift.

This weekend it was just hubby and I, and for the first time we stayed overnight, free camping in our van by Stringers Creek. The camping is mostly free and casual throughout the town or you can stay in a B and B or cottage, the choice is yours.

For me, walking and climbing the rotunda and exploring the old buildings was like stepping back in time.

The magic was still alive.

Things to see and do today

For such a small place there’s a lot to see and do so a visit to Walhalla can be as relaxed or exciting as you like:

  1. Step into the Old Post and Telegraph Office, to see how they handled “snail mail” before the era of the internet. Walhalla has kept its post office operational which means it technically qualifies as a town, perhaps one of the smallest towns in the world.
  2. Take a challenging one kilometre hike to the cricket ground, which was built high above the town on the top of a mountain.
  3. Or walk up the historic steeped cemetery, perched on the side of the mountain, one of the most unusual and spectacular in Australia.
  4. Indulge in the lolly shop and enjoy a meal at open air cafes, including the quaint Wally Pub.
  5. Explore the Tramway walk, high above the valley, with a birds eye view of the town.
  6. Take a scenic trip back in time on board the Walhalla Goldfields Railway.
  7. Go underground on a tour of the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine, once one of the most successful mines in Australia.
  8. Visit the unique fire station. When the town grew big enough to need a central fire station, and with building space tight in the valley, the station was built directly over a river. It’s now the only fire station on the planet that’s built over a river.
  9. There’s plenty of four wheel driving tracks in the area. We travelled via Bruntons Bridge, down Happy Go Lucky Road, crossing the Thompson River, which was an adventure in itself.
  10. Finally, there are those guided ghost tours!
img_8864
Enjoying a walk, stopping to read and take in all the history

Who needs WiFi

For us this weekend it was more about rediscovering the town. A gentle easy stroll through the main street, soaking up the atmosphere and occasionally stopping to read one of the the 30 interpretative signs, enjoying a leisurely coffee.

I doubt the miners years ago had it so easy!

Walhalla gets into your soul. It’s colourful in Autumn and peaceful in any season. It’s a place that time almost forgot, a town nearly buried and forgotten.

Electricity only arrived here in 1998, it was the last town in Australia to be connected. Perhaps this was because of its geography, its wilderness and isolated location. Even today, there’s no WiFi in town, making it a place to truly disconnect.

Despite it being less than three hours from Melbourne it feels a world away. Sometimes a weekend off the grid is just what’s needed, getting back to basics and savouring some much needed relaxation. No ghost tour needed, just a step back in time.

Hope you all find some time to disconnect and discover that peace.

Wishing you all a happy week ahead. Savour the magic and the moment wherever you are.

In light and love

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No ghost stories, just a mesmerising campfire

Sharing for Jo’s Monday walks


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95 thoughts on “Walhalla Walkabout

  1. Miriam, you have posted such wonderful photos and obviously you are having a good time ….with wine.😊 .
    I was utterly confused though to see the Viking sagas Valhalla in Australia??
    In Nordic mythology it was the majestic and enormous hall of Odin. Odin being the head God.
    Freya, Tor etc are known names too.

    How come that someone named this little town after Odin’s hall?

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A perfect post to end the blues. It’s been a hectic Monday and I am on my way home reading through the post smiling and feeling excited about the place and it’s beauty. Loved the way you gave a virtual tour of the place and helped connect with its rich heritage. We need to have more disconnect zones like these around 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Miriam, you have no idea how badly I want to disconnect and go camping with you guys!! It would be so fun! I have to say though, getting the crap scared out of me and then sipping wine by the fire sounds like my kind of night. Ha! Love seeing your photos, your smile always warms my heart. Have a fabulous week, Miriam! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An absolutely gorgeous place to explore, Miriam. I really adored your camp fire setup. How romantic! Loved this post and I thank you for showing us and informing us of a place many of us will not ever see. I really enjoyed these pictures! Happy travels!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Top post Miriam. Everything reminded me of our trip to Walhalla when we were in Victoria. Fascinating place and just like you we walked our socks off all day exploring. So much to see and so much to read too. Brilliant place.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Just 20 people! That’s incredible, Miriam 🙂 🙂 Isn’t it nice that somewhere like this can be given a new lease of life and bring so much pleasure? You’ll have to excuse me. I’m off to hike up that hill 🙂 Many thanks for joining me!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for this wonderful Walhalla walkabout! Looks a lovely place to unwind and disconnect. I like the idea of the cricket pitch up on high – what happened when someone hit it for six?! “Go and get the ball, mate!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yeah I know what you mean. It’d be a bit of a hike down. They probably had dozens of balls just in case.
      Apparently the Walhalla boys back in the day were quite good and even bet the Melbourne team.

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      1. It was the altitude advantage! Allegedly, visiting hockey teams say that the Flames have an advantage being used to the thinner air in Calgary compared to other NHL venues. Not that they seem to win that many home games…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Walhalla is a fascinating place. I haven’t been there for some years now but can distinctly remember those incredibly steep hills and the narrow view of the sky far above. That cemetery is definitely haunted!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Looks like a wonderful place to visit. In the area where we live, it isn’t hard to find small little places that were boom towns 100 years ago, but now are just remnants of their former selves. Some have been rejuvenated, while others not so much. Each place has a rich and fascinating history though.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sounds like a won a wonderful place to visit! I love historic towns that have been so well preserved. And you are right, there is something truly magical about them. It’s like stepping back in time and seeing how people used to live. I loved it as a child, and I still love it as an adult. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Miriam. You are such brillant writer, you transport us to Walhalla, and we enjoy the experience as if we where there too. What a talented writer you are and I like ypur writing style too. Beautiful photos to really gets in the groove. Regards bella

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  12. Wow! What an amazing town with its rich history and beautiful location … I’m glad it’s being looked after and less of a ghost town. Haha…I’m not surprised your camper and three course meal and red wine won the vote!! I love the photos and you and your husband look happy and relaxed!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow, what a place! I’m so glad that you went to visit, and that you had such a good time. I can really see you there as a little girl, Miriam. That touched my heart.

    I found a place to move to – it’s such a graceful journey. Will be sharing more tomorrow …. keep it in the Light for me ok? Thank you!

    You are incredible, and your blog is such a bright star in this world. I love you. Big hugs from LA.
    Love and Light,
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you Debbie. I always love it when you come visit. And yes, this was a wonderful place and weekend. Brought back lots of fond memories of my childhood. I’ll look forward to reading more on your journey tomorrow and I’ll definitely keep you in my thoughts. Hope all is going well for you. Big hugs and lots of love from me from here xx 💕

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  14. This sounded like such a relaxing trip through Walhalla, Miriam. The little town does boast quite a few accomplishments as you mentioned – last town in Australia to be connected to electricity, still has a post office up and running, and it’s a bit of a friendly ghost town! The campfire option sounded very cozy…I wouldn’t have minded a ghost tour, though. Never know who I may encounter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I could relate to this post Miriam as we did a steam train trip last winter to Walhalla and loved it all. It was like a trip into another place in another world! You’ve captured it all in your post and photos, and your telling of the history too. It’s an amazing little place and well worth the visit!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. lol absolutely, got compost loo part fitted today … always easier to have a loo but builder has really stuffed up the outside fittings. Will do a review to post on my notes site plus blog. Somethings he did very well but somethings are so wrong but it’s still my dream.

        Liked by 1 person

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