Australia’s spookiest town – the historic gold mining town of Walhalla nestled up in the hills in Victoria, provides the perfect unique break away from the hustle and bustle of city life and has so many amazing things to see and do!
With spooky ghost tours and goldmine tours, and a beautifully preserved – if somewhat mysterious town centre that feels like you’ve stepped back in time, Walhalla has to be seen to be believed!
Of all the places in Victoria I have visited, Walhalla is definitely the most memorable!
Walhalla is a small, charming town about 2.5 hours drive (184km) east of Melbourne up in the hills in the Shire of Baw Baw.
It is home to some of Victoria’s most historic sites, and the township has been preserved so well that it is easy to feel like you have time-travelled at least a hundred years!
Whether you’re doing a Sydney to Melbourne road trip, or you’re in Melbourne and are looking to plan a unique weekend away, Walhalla is the perfect place to spend a day or two.
The town of Walhalla was established in 1862 during the Victorian gold rush, after gold was found there in 1861.
Hordes of people made the difficult journey to Walhalla in the hopes of making their fortune in the booming new gold-rush town.
Walhalla because a thriving gold mining town very quickly, and the 1870s were Walhalla’s gold-rush heydays – when 3500 residents lived here and there were 10 pubs!
It’s hard to believe it when you come to Walhalla – as nowadays there are only 20 residents and one pub! Despite that, over 100,000 visitors come to Walhalla each year to experience this unique authentic ghost town for themselves!
The old gold mining town has become a popular tourist destination as people are keen to see the gold mining heritage, the historic buildings and the iconic spooky town that is set in the most scenic mountain spot!
Is Walhalla Victoria Worth Visiting?
Walhalla is 100% worth visiting if you want to see a real ghost town! Even if you aren’t too fussed about the ghosts, Walhalla is extremely picturesque and quaint there is so much character in this town.
There are so many interesting things to learn about this historic town and it’s unlike anywhere you’ve been before!!
Walhalla genuinely feels like it has been frozen in time, and I loved how it is a genuine ghost town and not a replica.
The gold-rush residents who lived here had incredibly tough living conditions at the time and many people died young due to typhoid, smallpox and the harsh conditions of mining.
So many of the gold-rush residents have a busy afterlife in Walhalla that’s for sure.
What also makes Walhalla so special and unique to many other ghost towns is that this is still a living town to this day, and not a replica or some kind of outdoor museum (like Sovereign Hill, Ballarat) or an abandoned run-down old ghost town.
People still live here, and they are incredibly friendly.
The remote location of Walhalla makes it perfect for those looking for a quiet relaxing getaway to unwind, as well as those wanting to experience an exciting action-packed outdoors adventure amongst some of Victoria’s most stunning scenery.
Walhalla is surrounded by lush green mountains and forests, which offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, horse riding and fishing.
The town itself is also home to a number of interesting attractions, including the gold mines, the Heritage Precinct, the Goldfields Railway and the cemetery which are all must-sees when in the area.
For a ghost town, Walhalla is very much alive. The buildings in Walhalla are very well-intact, after having been resorted brilliantly. Mains power only arrived in Walhalla after the year 2000, and it only gained mobile phone coverage (Telstra only) in 2019!!
And in keeping with its character, any new buildings in Walhalla need to adhere to the gold-era style so there’s no chance of Walhalla losing its charm.
Therefore, I would say if you are only going to visit one ghost town in Australia, Walhalla has to be it!
Accommodation In Walhalla
First things first – Walhalla is a remote town so chances are if you’ll be visiting you’ll want to stay overnight (although it is totally possible to visit it as part of a day trip).
Walhalla is a popular place to visit, especially on the weekends. Luckily there are lots of accommodation options available here – a few hotels, a campground and many holiday homes.
Be sure to book your accommodation in advance however, especially during the holiday periods.
Whilst there are only 20 full-time residents in Walhalla, lots of people have holiday homes here.
In the summer months the population increases as people come to enjoy their summer homes, whilst many other people rent them out for tourists.
All the recommended accommodation options below are all located in or very close to the historic village centre so it is easy to explore the area by foot.
Walhalla’s Star Hotel – the iconic county hotel that features on many pictures of Walhalla. Situated right in the centre of the township, this luxury boutique hotel has 12 large suites that all come with their own lounge room and garden or verandah.
This is the place to stay if you truly want to experience Walhalla! Rebuilt in 1999 but still maintaining the 19th Century facade, Walhalla’s Sea Hotel doesn’t have mobile phone service or TV’s – so you can truly unwind!
Jacomb’s Cottage – a 2 lovely bedroom holiday home with gorgeous river views, a garden, balcony, bbq area and a fireplace for those cold winter months!
Whitlow Manor – a stunning 3 bedroom holiday home that can cater up to 7 people.
Windsor House B&B – situated in a lovely historic building, this recently renovated B&B has a bar, a garden and stunning mountain views. Enjoy room service and enjoy a full English breakfast each morning!
Walhalla Guesthouses – a fantastic range of guesthouses – from one bedroom houses to four bedroom houses. Note that only some come with kitchen facilities so check before you book!
The Chinese Gardens Camping is the most economical place to stay in Walhalla. They are situated about 2km north of Walhalla Township so you’ll most likely want to drive down to explore the heritage area.
Located on the banks of Stringer’s Creek, the Chinese Gardens Camping is situated in a picturesque setting. The name ‘Chinese Gardens’ comes from when Chinese market gardeners farmed the valley during Walhalla’s gold rush.
There was a thriving Chinese community here during the gold-rush days who supplied fresh produce to the town.
Bookings are absolutely essential at the Chinese Gardens Camping – you can fill out the booking form here.
There are toilets and showers ($1 for 2 minutes use), bbq facilities, washer/dryer and hot water available, however all sites are unpowered. Pets are welcome.
Camping fees are $30 per night for 2 adults ($10 per night for children/concessions/students).
If you’ll be camping in your tent, be mindful that quite a few spots of land are uneven so pick your spot well so you get a good night’s sleep!
How To Get To Walhalla
Walhalla is located on the edge of the Victorian Alps. It lies in an incredibly remote and tucked-away valley, and so there are no public transport services to and from Walhalla.
The drive to Walhalla from Moe in the Baw Baw Plateau is very scenic. As you’re driving to Walhalla you’ll go past stunning rolling hills and forests and there are some really nice views along the way.
You’ll need your own car – if this isn’t possible you can get a train to Moe (50km from Walhalla) and then take a taxi to Walhalla, which should take almost an hour. Especially for the last 10km or so it’s a narrow and winding road.
A couple of kilometres before you reach Walhalla the road hugs onto the edge of a cliff, with a sheer drop-off on the other side.
Be sure to drive slowly and carefully – the road is incredibly narrow if there’s a car coming in the other direction. I seriously only recommend driving during daylight for safety.
The drive certainly makes some people think twice about if they really wish to visit Walhalla – which only adds to the suspense and mystery this town creates!
After driving past the final bend you’ll see the railway line down in the gorge underneath you and then you’ll pull into the pretty township of Walhalla.
8 Best Things To Do In Walhalla Victoria:
Here are the 8 best things to do in the town of Walhalla, Victoria:
1. Explore the Walhalla Heritage Precinct
Explore the Walhalla Heritage Precinct and stroll around the town’s historic buildings and sites. This area includes a number of historic buildings in the town including the
- Walhalla Corner Store & Museum
- Walhalla Historic Fire Station
- Walhalla Post Office
- Bank Of Victoria Vault
2. Walhalla Heritage Walk
The Walhalla Heritage Walk is a self-guided walk that takes you through the main street of Walhalla and the main Walhalla Heritage Precinct.
It goes past several historic buildings including the Walhalla Courthouse, the Walhalla Hotel and the Walhalla Presbyterian Church.
There is only really one main street in Walhalla so it’s easy to find your way around as you make your way from one end of the township to the other.
Plus, there are lots of boards next to the historical sites with information and historical pictures on them to give you more information about Walhalla’s history.
Make sure to also turn right after the Corner Shop to walk up the hill a little too, to admire the views of the town!
3. Walhalla Cemetery
Located on the side of a steep hill at the entrance to Walhalla is Walhalla Cemetery. Whilst I don’t usually recommend visiting cemeteries, this is one of Australia’s most unusual cemeteries and is definitely worth a look!
You’ll see over 1100 graves – each depicting a story of hardship the people endured during the gold-rush days.
Many of the gravestones have very unique inscriptions on them, giving us insight into what life and death was like during the time of the gold era.
Tours In Walhalla:
Tours remain a popular way to discover Walhalla, with these three tours being very popular:
4. Walhalla Steam Train
The Walhalla Goldfields Railway is one of Australia’s greatest train rides! It runs through Walhalla, with a heritage steam train operating on a section of the original narrow gauge railway line.
Walhalla had its own railway line until 1954, and so a trip on this heritage steam train takes visitors back in time, allowing them to experience the days of gold mining in Walhalla.
The steam train takes visitors on a scenic 11km journey through the surrounding forest and hills, winding across six impressive wooden bridges, with stops at several historic sites along the way.
The train goes to the Thomson River and back – a 60 minute return trip and costs $30.
However make sure to plan in advance as the steam train only runs on Wednesdays and weekend days (when the trains are at 11am and 1pm), and throughout the school holidays (when the trains are usually at 11am, 1pm and 3pm).
Do always check the timetable in advance as it can change – you can find the timetable here.
5. Walhalla Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine Tour
The Walhalla Mine was one of the most productive gold mines in Victoria, with more than 13 tonnes of gold extracted!
Guided tours of the gold mine are available. You’ll learn about the history of the mine as well as get to go 260 metres into one of the underground tunnels!
The tunnel is spacious and well-lit.
Tours are conducted daily at 1.30pm (with extra 12pm and 3pm tours on Wednesdays and weekends) and last 1 hour.
Tickets are $25 for adults and can be purchased here. It’s best to book in advance.
6. Walhalla Ghost Tours
Walhalla is regarded as a very active area with restless spirits. Personally I’m far too afraid to go on a Ghost Tour but I’m sure it would be amazing.
You’ll hear plenty of stories about the supernatural in the Ghost Tour, as there are often many sightings in Walhalla – including poltergeist horses, ghost children and the phantom band playing. I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days!
The ghost tours are held on Saturday nights and last 1.5 hours long. It costs $30 for adults ($25 for children). You can book your tickets here.
7. Enjoy Aerial Views Of Walhalla
For some great views of Walhalla, walk along the part of the Australian Alps Walking Track that you can see from the town.
Access the track opposite Walhalla Witchery Cafe – you’ll see a set of stairs leading up to the path (see the stairs in the picture below), and follow the path to the right.
It provides lovely aerial views of Walhalla and the path will then end opposite Walhalla’s Star Hotel – it’s only a 300 metre walk or so, so it’s definitely worth doing!
Walhalla is surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains, and there are many walking trails to explore. If you’ve got more time in Walhalla and are up for some walks, there are several nice walking trails in Walhalla, including:
- Walhalla Tramline Walk
- Walhalla Goldfields Rail Trail
- Great Walhalla Alpine Trail
- Poverty Point Bridge Walk
8. Walhalla Cricket Ground
Again – I wouldn’t normally recommend Cricket Grounds as top places to see when visiting small towns but hear me out here!
If you enjoy challenging walks, definitely make your way to the Walhalla Cricket Ground – an incredibly unique spot in Walhalla that’s set high above the township!
The gold rush residents were looking for a flat piece of land in the township to make into a cricket ground, but as flat land in the township was extremely rare – they decided to chop off the top of a nearby hill with picks and shovels to get flat land and turn it into a sports field and socialising area!
It’s quite a strenuous and steep 1km zig-zag walk to get to the top, but it’s certainly a highlight of visiting Walhalla!
Where To Go For Food In Walhalla Victoria:
Walhalla Lodge Hotel – known as ‘The Wally Pub’ to the locals has very generous meal portions at reasonable prices. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The rest of the week it is open from midday until 11 pm.
Walhalla Witchery Cafe – a great cafe for brunch or afternoon tea. The owners are very friendly and have a unique store, selling their own potions and herbs and do tarot readings! Open 10am-3pm every day.
When Should You Visit Walhalla, Victoria
Generally speaking, Mondays outside of the school holidays are the quietest days in Walhalla. Some places are shut (such as The Wally Pub for food and the steam train ride) and so you may want to visit on the weekends if you want there to be more of a livelier vibe, or you really want to do the ghost tour or steam train ride!
That being said, I visited on a Monday during spring – I didn’t intentionally visit on the quiet day, I just couldn’t be very flexible with my itinerary, and I didn’t mind that it was quiet as I felt I could really imagine what it was like back in the day without tourists everywhere!
So it’s up to you when you visit and what kind of experience you want. Either way, you’re still bound to have a great time!
Walhalla, Victoria Summary
I hope you have a great time in Walhalla – it truly is a fascinating place! If you’ve got any questions pop them in the comments section below!
Continuing your road trip from Melbourne to Sydney? Check out:
Raymond Island – one of the best places to see wild koalas in Australia!
Marlo – the lovely sleepy village at the mouth of the Snowy River
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