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David in the old town of Walhalla.
David in the old town of Walhalla.
Charming Walhalla.

Walhalla

Thursday, July 19, 2001
Deep in the Victorian Alps, you'll fine Walhalla. It has come a long way since its gold-era days, with plenty to see.

In 1886, Walhalla, deep in the Victorian Alps, was home to 4000 people, 14 pubs, three breweries, two banks, six churches and 40 shops. That was at the peak of the gold rush, during which time, 75 tonnes of gold was removed from Cohen's Reef, which runs deep under the town. When the shiny metal dwindled, so did the population — to just 10.

Three years ago, Walhalla became the last town in Victoria to have electricity connected, and the population has more than doubled. Now 21 people live there, in eight houses. Such a boom hasn't taken the special quaintness away and Walhalla has a charming, sleepy feel, particularly now the electricity generators have gone, and its main street pretty much deserted until the afternoon.

There are around 50 buildings in the town, but most are weekenders for people from the city.

Walhalla attracts about 150,000 visitors a year, and many stay overnight at The Star Hotel. The original Star was the town's gold-era hotel and focal point. It was destroyed by fire in 1951, and the newly constructed one is a faithful reconstruction of the original, with all modern amenities and facilities in luxurious surroundings.

There are just 12 suites and they are spacious, with lounge, ensuite, kingsize bed and a private cottage garden or section of the verandah is enjoyed by all suites. The Star has a private guest lounge and restaurant with wine bar. It's a mountain retreat where you can enjoy the feel of the gold era, blended with a natural bush environment.

Walhalla's second claim to fame came in 2000. Because they could get only very poor television and radio reception of the Sydney Olympics, they banned the "O" word from the town, making it a fineable offence. All Olympic souvenirs were banned. What began as a little joke gained international fame, and media coverage spread across the globe. All the ruckus has died down now, and the town is back to its normal, sleepy self.

You can enjoy a journey on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway or venture into the mountain on a tour of the long, tunnel gold mine. If you are looking for action, there is plenty of that — horse trail rides, river rafting, 4WD adventures, skiing, bush walking and fly-fishing.

Location

Gippsland, 2½ hours east of Melbourne.

Cost

The Star Hotel has double rooms starting at $149 a night. Breakfast is included.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

The Star Hotel
Main Road, Walhalla 3825
Ph: (03) 5165 6262
www.starhotel.com.au.
E-mail: info@starhotel.com.au.

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