Walhalla – A Journey to the Past
Walhalla is a very popular tourist attraction in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. This popularity is due to the undeniable charm, relaxed atmosphere and stunning valley location. The narrow valley and lack of flat land has resulted in buildings meandering up the hills and being hugged with lush green ferns and forest.
The history of Walhalla centres around a gold rush in mid-1800s with fragments of that history present today for everyone to enjoy.
The formally recognised Traditional Owners for the Walhalla area are the Gunaikurnai People
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A real town
Whilst Walhalla is a popular Gippsland tourist destination, it is also a real town. By that, I mean it is not a tourist park such as Old Gippstown or Sovereign Hill. So you won’t see people dressed up in period costumes or putting on shows. This gives Walhalla a charm and atmosphere that will leave you dreaming of living, or having a holiday rental, in this quant town.
There is no entry cost for visiting Walhalla township, rather admission fees apply for specific activities such as the goldmine and train.
The township of Walhalla started for one reason – GOLD! After Ned Stringer first found gold in the stream (now called Stringers Creek) the area become inundated with people looking to strike it lucky and get rich. At its peak Walhalla had around 3,000 people, now that population is around 20. This gold boom was significant enough to warrant a train line being constructed along with 10 hotels, school, halls and over 30 shops.
However, as gold became unprofitable in the early 1900’s the mines starting closing and the population of Walhalla reduced.
Information on Walhalla can be found on the Visit Walhalla website (recommend downloading the Visitor Guide), Visit Gippsland website and in various books such as Walhalla Heyday by G.F James and C.G. Lee.
Things to do in Walhalla
There are so many things to do in Walhalla, and whilst it is a popular destination for day trips, staying for a weekend will allow you to relax and take your time.
The Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine operates highly informative tours on a daily basis. These tours are a great way to learn about the gold mining history of Walhalla and the passion of the tour guides is infectious!
Cost: $50 for a family, $20 adults, under 16 $15, under 5 year old free.
Please check the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine website for current prices and operating times.
If visiting the mine doesn’t interest you, but you want to explore this history, then pop into the information area next to the tour desk. You can look into the mine from the outside if it open, and you can see mine entrances along the tram line, along with old equipment.
Why drive when you can catch the train? Especially when the train weaves its way along the hillside, following the curves of the creek. Oh, and it scenically crosses the Thomson River. Do you need more convincing to take the Walhalla train?
The Walhalla Goldfields Railway runs between the Thomson Station into Walhalla and takes around 20 minutes one way.
Take a return journey or do a car shuffle if you only want to go one-way.
Cost for one-way: Family $60, Adult $25, Children 3-16 years $10.
Cost for return: Family $80, Adult $30, Children 3-16 years $25
Please check the Walhalla Goldfields Railway website for current prices and operating times.
Walking is by far the best way to soak up the atmosphere of Walhalla. A popular walk is to start near the Post Office and take the tram track to the Goldmine entrance or continue on to the campgrounds then walk back along the road. Whilst walking along the road it is customary to pick which house you would like to live in, or which one you will come back and stay in. Or maybe it’s only me that does that?!
Other great walks include visiting the hospital and the Cricket Ground – both of which involve walking up a steep hill. I don’t know who decided to put the hospital at the top of a hill! Guess it made sure only the very sick made the trek! Personally, I have never made it to the cricket ground as walking uphill for 1km to see a cleared patch of ground doesn’t thrill me. But, it is historically significant and the Cricket Ground walk is a popular Walhalla activity.
RECOMMENDED | Another enjoyable walk is to park at the Thomson River train carpark and walk along the old tramline into Walhalla. Or start at Walhalla and walk back to Thomson River. This walk is approximately 7 km and starts across the river from the carpark. A mother of a hill (Mormon Town Track) is the first section. Then the track stays flat along the Australian Alps Walking Track, until you come down the hill into Walhalla. Either do a car shuffle with a friend, or more excitingly catch the train back to the car. Make sure to check the train timetable and operating status beforehand.
Looking for a longer walk? The Australian Alps Walking Track will take you 650 km from Walhalla all the way to Canberra. Allow around 10 weeks to complete this epic walk!
Cost: Free unless taking the train one-way if doing the walk from Walhalla to Thomson Station
Gorgeous views of the Walhalla township from the tramline
The creepy, arm-hair raising cemetery is perched on the steep hill between the Wally Pub and Train Station, and gosh I love it! The cemetery is in no way manicured or beautifully landscaped, but the age and rudimentary grave sites make this an intriguing location.
Another popular Walhalla activity is to go on a Ghost Tour! Are you brave enough to walk around Walhalla in the dark looking for ghosts? Even if you don’t see a ghost the tours are very informative and offer scary but intriguing tales from the past.
Cost: Family $80, Adult $30, Child $25
Please check the Walhalla Ghost Tour website for current prices and operating times.
There are so many beautiful buildings in Walhalla which are best seen via a self-guided Walhalla Heritage Walk. Maps can be downloaded from the website or pick up a copy of the Visitor Map.
TIP | Walk down to the Windsor House Bed and breakfast, this is such a beautiful building! Just turn at the Star Hotel and you won’t miss it. If you keep going past Windsor House you will enjoy a lovely quiet slice of Walhalla and see the old stone cottage.
Museums and Displays
While many of the historic buildings are private, there are still ones that you can enter and enjoy.
Step back in time and learn about the history of fire and firefighting at the Fire Station. There is also a general museum at the Corner Store and you shouldn’t miss the old Post Office (my favourite building!).
Whilst an old Post Office might not sound exciting, the displays are excellent and you can even try your hand at morse code! Behind the main post office space is the residence which is decorated as per the era.
Eat and Drink
Walhalla has many beautiful picnic shelters and tables along the main road. There are sheltered picnic areas near the train station and at Ned Stringer Park. The Ned Stringer area also has a small playground.
There are no supermarkets at Walhalla so bring everything you need. Otherwise, the General Store has some basics.
TIP | Bring your own water are there are limited places to refill drinking bottles
Cafes and Dining
There are a range of places to eat and drink in Walhalla including the Star Hotel (booking required), Wally Pub, Grey Horse Café, Kitty’s Café and Walhalla Café and General Store.
Where to eat near Walhalla
Nearby to Walhalla is the Rawson Stockyards which do pub-style meals and Assaggio del Forno do woodfired pizza. Both are around 20minutes from Walhalla.
How long to stay
The main attractions of Walhalla can be seen in one day but staying overnight will give you more time to just relax and enjoy the calm atmosphere of the town.
Combine your visit to Walhalla with a trip to Petersons Lookout (32 km) or one of the many other beautiful places in Gippsland!
Where to stay in Walhalla
Camping is available in the designated camp grounds (Chinese Gardens and North Gardens) at the northern end of the Walhalla township. If planning to camp then book ahead and check if the campgrounds are open as they can be closed during the year due to flooding.
Hotels, Cottages and B&B
The majority of accommodation in Walhalla is smaller cottages with some group accommodation available. There are no large ugly hotels, instead the larger accommodation options are the beautiful Windsor House and Star Hotel.
Search accommodation on the Visit Gippsland website or Agoda.
Getting to Walhalla
Driving is the easiest and most convenient option for visiting Walhalla. Be aware of wildlife on the roads and take care around the windy corners.
If you are driving make sure you have fuel as there is no fuel available at Walhalla and limited locations with fuel between the Princes Highway and Walhalla.
Allow 2 hours to travel from Melbourne to Walhalla.
PLAN | Have you considered what you might need to visit Australia, or the best time to visit the state of Victoria?
Public transport does not cover Walhalla with the closest V/Line train station being Moe. However, Moe to Walhalla is still around 50km so you will need to organise transport for the rest of the way. Take note that a Taxi would cost around $100 one way.
Mountain Top Experience may be able to help if you need transport from Moe or Morwell or if organising a group tour.
When to Visit
When is the best time to visit Walhalla? Well, it really depends on you and what weather you prefer.
Summer in Victoria can be very hot but still enjoyable. Winter is lush and green and the air smells rich of damp soil. Spring is delightful with the cottage gardens flowering and fresh new tree growth.
Autumn is a beautiful time to visit as Walhalla is one of the best places in Victoria for autumn leaves.
In terms of crowds, weekends are busy, as are the school holidays. Travel mid-week if you want to avoid the crowds.
PLAN | Visiting more of Victoria? Check out the best time to visit post.
Extend your visit
Do you have time to stay a night or two? There are plenty of beautiful places to explore in Gippsland!
EXPLORE | Head to the Gippsland destination guide for more inspiration.
Hopefully this post has inspired you to get out and explore Walhalla and some of the surrounding beauty that Gippsland has to offer!
How fun! We have never been to Walhalla. We just talked last night about how we need to go to Australia. We will definitely stop here!
There are so many beautiful places to visit in Australia, especially in the Gippsland region!
This place looks really cool! Great information. Bookmarking this post!
Walhalla is very beautiful and definitely worth a visit!
I love learning about new places, and Walhalla is a totally new destination for me! I would definitely take the graveyard tour – what a unique experience!
The ghost tour is on my to-do-list, would be amazing!
A detailed post. Great photos. I will definitely be visiting Walhalla in the near future.
I hope you can visit soon!
Whoa… Ghost tours sound so scary. I would never dare to go for one.
I would pretend to be brave on the ghost tour, but inside I would be terrified!!
How fun to explore a gold mine. I’m sure many have entered thinking, “Maybe I’ll find some gold.”
My Aunty tricked me as a child saying she found gold in the creek! All us kids spent all day trying to find some. Then found out she purchased it from the Museum! Great trick though, kept us kids busy for a long time so parents had some peace!!
This would be so interesting to visit and learn more about the history of the gold rush here. Definitely going on my list!
Walhalla is wonderful and I love that it still functions as town rather than a tourist park 🙂
Soon after arriving in Australia, we visited Walhalla on a very hot day. We looked at the attractions, and gold mine and walked on a cliff edge. The best part for us kids was cooling off in Thomson River, which was so cool, refreshing, and clean. My friend and her family lived there in the 1970s and they owned the hospital. The population would have been more than 20 at that time. The cricket field I was told had some notoriety for being the 1st game for something. Great place and would love to go back someday.
Sounds like you have beautiful memories of Walhalla, it is a very special place!