Time your visit to Stawell at Easter to see the running of the annual Stawell Gift, one of the world's richest footraces. The thriving city is the service centre for the Grampians and features fascinating cultural and heritage walking and driving tours, museums, wineries and golf.
The Stawell Gift has been run on Easter Monday since 1878, attracting bigger names and bigger crowds each time it's run. Learn more about the history of the famous 120-metre dash at the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame Museum.
Stawell hit the big time with the discovery of gold nearby in 1853, and it continues to produce the precious commodity in Victoria's largest operating mine. A number of gold-themed attractions are dotted around the town, like the Pleasant Creek Courthouse Museum with its 1860s photographs, nineteenth century costumes, gold rush artefacts and historical documents. The Pioneer Memorial and lookout in the Big Hill area offer views of the town and gold mining heritage.
Stawell is tucked into the renowned Great Western wine region. Visit cellar doors to meet the winemakers and enjoy tastings at vineyards as you make your way around. The surrounding landscape is so alluring you may want to board a scenic flight or a hot air balloon for views of the town and the magnificent Grampians.
There is also fascinating Aboriginal history to be uncovered in Stawell, particularly at Bunjil's Shelter - a huge rock overhang with rock art depicting Bunjil, an Aboriginal spirit figure, in the nearby Black Ranges.
Stawell is approximately 230 kilometres from Melbourne, or two hours and 40 minutes by car along the Western Highway.