Central Victoria is classic Victoria: a rich pastoral district, chilly in winter and hot in summer. Two grand provincial cities, Ballarat and Bendigo, whose fine buildings were funded by gold, draw large numbers of visitors, while, by contrast, the area’s other charming centres such as Maryborough, Castlemaine and Maldon, once prosperous gold-towns in their own right, now seem too small for their extravagant architecture but attract history buffs, art aficionados and “foodies”.

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