The discovery of metallic riches in Ballarat played a significant part in the gold fever that once swept Victoria.
But there is a small village less than 15km south of the city that, according to local historians, can lay claim to birth of the Ballarat gold rush and the riches to follow.
In August 1851, a Buninyong blacksmith changed the course of the town’s future when he discovered gold and evidently sparked an interest in the region from a very different sort of traveller.
And yet, unlike some gold rush-era towns that have disappeared into the history books over time, this quaint village has never stopped thriving.
Home today to talented chefs, bakers and winemakers, Buninyong is a foodie’s escape you didn’t know you needed.
And if that’s not enough to convince you to take a quick trip here, then let us throw in a waterfall and extinct volcano into the drive.
A short 20-minute drive from Ballarat and you’ll find yourself at Lal Lal Falls, a popular picnic spot amoung locals for more than 130-years.
Check out the viewing platform to look down over the falls, or walk a little further along the Von Guerard View Track for a perfect view across the gorge.
If this has you in the mood for more waterfalls, you’ll also find Moorabool Falls nearby.
Open the history books and you’ll learn that the Wathaurrung people gave Buninyong its name – meaning “man lying down with bent knee” – because the extinct volcano appears that shape from a distance.
Today, it’s one of the best places to snap the perfect snapshot of the beautiful lush lands of Western Victoria.
There’s no doubt you’ve worked up an appetite by now, so head back into the town centre and pull up a pew at The Shared Table.
As its name suggest, this experience is all about sharing and embracing something different and discovering new flavours and textures.
Buninyong local and chef Dianne Ray has carefully curated her ever-changing menu to reflect the flavours of the region.
If you have the kids in tow and looking for somewhere to feed even the fussiest of little ones, then head on into The Red Door Pizzeria for the best woodfired pizza in town.
Warm up by the open fire with a glass of wine in hand, or venture outdoors as the weather fines up for an evening under fairylights.
After seven years learning about, and experimenting with, Australian bushfoods, Buninyong creative Brigid Corcoran has curated a food range that invites you to dive deep into your own connection with Australia.
Whether you know your way around a kitchen, or simply just enjoy experimenting with new flavours, Brigid’s Australian spices and salts will be your next favourite pantry must-have.
Saltbush Kitchen is open on weekends, and can be found in Commercial Street. We highly recommend tasting her Australian chocolates while you’re there.
If you time your drive right, you might come across the Buninyong Village Market in your travels.
Once a season, this market is all about the local makers and creators. You’ll find it just held outside the Bunyinyong Town Hall.
There’s no shortage of quirky accommodation in Buninyong, so why not avoid the stresses of driving home after a long day of exploration and indulgence and stay the night.
Sleep in an old railway carriage which has been fittingly filled with 1920s-inspired furniture, or wander seven acres of historic gardens at a 19th Century heritage homestead.
**The historic notes mentioned in this article were sourced from buninyong.com.au