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How are you all settling into the groove of Winter? The Boy and I have freshly returned from our super amazing trip overseas but before we delve into that and share with you our sunburnt adventures, here’s one that is much closer to home and easily accessible for a weekend getaway. Go on, do it! We know you want to 🙂

A few weeks ago, Michèle and I embarked on our #hazandmazshow (follow our adventures on Instagram) alongside with photographer extrodinaire, Ewen Bell and Hatch Communications with a whirlwind visit to the Goldfields Region in Victoria.

Where you ask? The Goldfields Region in Victoria encompasses the gold rush towns of Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Dunolly, Heathcote, Maldon, Maryborough and Talbot.

Here’s a snapshot of our adventure and what you too can get up to when you pay the region a visit!

Day 1

Wallis House
6, Bond Street
Talbot VIC 3371
Tel: 0423 078 677


This quaint little cottage includes a few buildings. The main house with the living areas and two bedrooms and the second house which is the dining and kitchen area, a third house showcases a private third bedroom. There’s also an outdoor dunny and shower house between the buildings. Definitely an experience of country life here.

Go to sleep in front of the fire inside the house or outside and then wake up in the morning to adorable bleating from lambs and sheeps in the paddock next door.


We even had breakfast ingredients provided for us in the fully equipped and stocked kitchen. Whilst Maz pottered around the house taking gorgeous photos, I rolled my sleeves up and got breakfast ready 🙂 What do you think? We had amazingly crisps bacon from the Daylesford region too!


Bryce Bistrot
Scandinavian Crescent
Talbot VIC 3371
Tel: 03 5463 2521


For dinner that first night, we had a lovely hot meal at a local, Bryce Bistrot located on the main street area of Talbot.


Day 2
Castlemaine & Maldon

Cafe Republic and Eating Depot
26 Templeton Street
Castlemaine VIC 3450
Tel: 03 5472 1582

Besides the fact that we had a huge breakfast that morning which I cooked up, we thought it would be rude to not go ahead with a second breakfast as good hobbits do. We met with the rest of the group at Cafe Republic and Eating Depot. Initially, Maz and I were going to share our meals, but upon tasting each of our first choices, we stuck with our own meals instead 😛

Are you able to guess which is mine?



12 Templeton Street
Castlemaine VIC 3450


After our second breakfast we toured the area of Castlemaine and discovered this cute little shop of ribbons and buttons. I must admit I went a little mad in there 🙂


Apple Annies
31 Templeton St
Castlemaine VIC 3450
Tel: 03 5472 5311


Shopping for ribbons is quite tedious and tiring, so we just had to replenish our energies at Apple Annies across the road. Sit out the back and fall in love with the Japanese Maple trees. Also order the Paris Brest. You won’t regret it!

Castlemaine Restorers Barn
129-133 Mostyn Street
Castlemaine VIC 3450
Tel: 03 5470 5669


Stroll into this shop for some cool antiques and vintage items. Your wallet will come out lighter 😛


After walking the streets of Maldon and Castlemaine we continued on with our journey towards Bendigo.


The Schaller Studio
Corner of Lucan and Bayne Streets
Bendigo VIC 3550
Tel: 03 4433 6100


The Schaller Studio, part of the Art Series Hotel recently opened up in Bendigo (on the front grounds of the Bendigo Hospital) and we happened to stay there on the first weekend of operation. I particularly loved all the little touches of decoration in and around the lobby and reception area.

The rooms are quite tiny and made me think of the hotel I stayed in when I visited Poland. Tiny tiny shoebox room sizes. If you are thinking the rooms would be big and magnificent as the other Art Series Hotel rooms, then prepare to be disappointed.


But like I said, I loved and appreciated the little touches of decoration, particularly the giant paintbrushes palette located outside in the car park area.



The Dispensary
9 Chancery Lane
Bendigo VIC 3550
Tel: 03 5444 5885

For drinks before dinner, head on down to Chancery Lane and discover The Dispensary. This tiny hole in the wall bar is busy most nights and where interesting cocktails and a fine selection of beers are served.

Of course it made sense that we got ourselves each a cocktail 🙂



Masons of Bendigo
25 Queen Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
Tel: 03 5443 3877


Hands down, if there was one reason that I had to choose to return to Bendigo, it would have to be Masons of Bendigo. Food served was good quality (and better than some city establishments). Service was excellent and the vibe in the stark white washed industrial walls and heavy dark drapery was kind of hip and inviting.


Indeed, it felt as if I had walked into a restaurant in the Brunswick, Fitzroy, Collingwood area. It didn’t feel as if we were dining in the country town of Bendigo. Everything we ordered was magnificent and I cannot wait to return to eat the other half of the menu 😛


Just so you know what we ordered, here’s a list of some of it:

  • Crispy fried soft shell mud crab, cucumber, beanshoot & avocado salad, nam prik mayonnaise
  • Seared Hervey Bay scallops, curried cauliflower, salmon caviar, coriander vinaigrette, prawn crackers
  • Salt Bush roasted Rockwood Cottage lamb cutlets, pickled shoulder, crisp lamb belly, sherry carrots
  • Ballotine of Yapunyah chicken, Istra pancetta, sarladaise croquettes, Mildura fig, organic leek, jus gras
  • Spit roasted Cambour goat shoulder, ancient grains, tatziki, Medjool date, eggplant crisps
  • Salt and pepper king prawns, Melvor Farm sticky pork hock salad, fried noodles, nuoc cham dressing, lime
  • Steamed Melvor Farm pork buns, pun chun
  • Roasted cauliflower, ricotta croquettes, tahini & yoghurt dressing


For dessert, we had separate stomach spaces for a Salted Caramel Ice-Cream, popcorn & hazelnut cluster and salted chocolate.

Maz and I shared a Masons Tasting Plate which included Coffee Brulee, Favourite Flavours ice-cream sandwich, lime & coconut pannacotta, chocolate mousse and a lemon curd




Day 3

Lake Weeroona


Call us crazy, but Maz and I decided that it made perfect sense to catch the sunrise on our last day in the Goldfields Region. Luckily for us, The Schaller Studio owns two beautiful vintage bicycles which are rented out to hotel guests (we were the very first people to use them!).

We cycled to Lake Weeroona which is around the corner from the hotel for our photographic escapade.


The rain went away, the clouds cleared and we caught the beautiful sunrise.


Brewhouse Coffee
402 Hargreaves St
Bendigo VIC 3550
Tel: 03 5442 8224


I had it from good Bendigo authority that Brewhouse Coffee is where all the cool people hang out for breakfast. Yes, I’m looking at you CS 😛 So the three of us were easily convinced to head there on our final day. It didn’t take much other than words associated with “coffee” and “bacon” to get us agreeing to this spot.

Must order: Pulled Pork and Bocconcini Pizza (with slow cooked egg on top).


Bendigo Conservatory
Rosalind Park
Bendigo VIC 3550

Interesting fact: The conservatory gardens were laid out in 1886 on land previously used as a rubbish tip.


You wouldn’t know that just from looking at the beautiful park and flowers inside and outside the conservatory.

Sit back and relax and breathe in the natural air. Get out with the kids and run around the park. It’ll do you some good.


Dai Gum San Precinct
1 – 11 Bridge Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
Tel: 03 5441 5044


Enjoy the peace and tranquillity the DGS precinct has to offer. It houses the famous Golden Dragon of Bendigo as well as the Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) Temple and Yi Yuan Gardens.


Great Stupa/Atisha Centre
25 Sandhurst Town Road
Myers Flat VIC 3556
Tel: 03 5446 7568

The Great Stupa of Universal Peace is currently being built near Bendigo. Its finished height will be nearly 50 metres high and 50 metres (164 feet) square at its base making it the largest stupa in the Western World.

It’s so amazing to see this in the heartlands of Victoria.


If you are a Buddhist (or even just a history buff), you will be astounded by the many Buddhist relics and holy artifacts that is encased in the building. Normally to view relics of any kind in the Buddhist world, you would have to line up amongst tens of thousands that throng to see a strand of Buddha’s hair or relic. At the Great Stupa Exhibition Centre, you can see so many. I was awed and felt completely blessed to have been given that opportunity.


When the stupa is completed, the famous Jade Buddha (currently touring USA) will be housed within it.

I would like to thank the people behind Victoria Goldfields Tourism for making this weekend getaway possible and for opening up my eyes to places and things I have never seen or encountered before.

[Ms I-Hua travelled as a guest of Victoria Goldfields Tourism and Hatch Communications]