There are only 17 international Booktowns in the world, and Clunes is one of them. There’s everything there for the discerning bookworm – shops selling bargain secondhand books as well as first editions, rare books and new ones. An annual festival that has the largest collection of books for sale in Australia also takes place here.
If reading isn’t on the top of your list of things to do, there’s still a lot to like about laid back Clunes. Its main street hasn’t altered much since the gold rush days, and it’s chock full of colonial history. Almost the entire place is heritage listed. Particularly busy at the weekend, Clunes is the sort of place to potter – with the odd vintage shop, plus cafes, galleries, cellar doors and food shops.
Australia's only Booktown
Clunes is known as Australia's most original 19th century town, boasting more than 50 buildings of historical significance. Located an easy 30-minute drive north west of Ballarat, film crews regularly flock to this wonderfully-preserved old town and use its nineteenth century street façade as a backdrop for TV and movies. Blessed with history, beauty, environment and nature, Clunes is an idyllic destination for the weekend getaway, or just a country drive day trip.
You'll feel like a movie extra yourself as you take a stroll under the wide verandas that shade beautiful old shops along its broad main street. Or lose track of time in the Clunes Museum or gaze in wonder at the remains of the huge Port Phillip Mine, 35 kilometres north west of Ballarat.
You'll find dusty antique and collectable stores, boutique vineyards and wineries, rustic bed & breakfasts and scenic walks. Clunes has a thriving arts scene, with regular artists' markets, two annual literary festivals and much more.
Officially recognised as an International Booktown - one of just 17 in the world - Clunes is a place bookshops and collectable stores abound, along with cellar doors, cafes and B&Bs and all set against the stunning backdrop of an early colonial streetscape.
Clunes Booktown Festival
3-4 May 2014
Each May, around 60 visiting traders join with the town's permanent book shops to offer the largest gathering of secondhand, new and collectable books in Australia. Offers everything for the book lover with author appearances; workshops and special displays all set against the backdrop of this early colonial town. Enjoy local gourmet food and wine as you browse.
The kids get their own Children's Booktown quarter.