s map: 509 (H5)
: City of Greater Bendigo
Federal electorate: Bendigo
Heathcote is a town of some 1600 people in Victoria, Australia, situated 110 km north of Melbourne and about 50km East of Bendigo. The town is in the Macedon Ranges, a series of hills which form the very beginning/end of the Great Dividing Range, and is surrounded by forest and farmland. The surrounding area is sort of pretty in winter. McIvor Creek runs through the town, and Wild Duck Creek is found nearby.
The town was founded in the 1850s during the the Victorian gold rush, and prospered until the 1880s when the gold ran out, after which only farmers remained. A local attraction is the Pink Cliffs, undulating salmon-coloured rock which was exposed by prospectors washing away dirt in their greedy quest for riches.
The major industry in the area has long been sheep farming, with a few cattle thrown in, but this is changing. There are yabby, deer and emu farms, and in recent years many vineyards have been established, including well known brands such as Huntleigh Vineyards, Knight's Wines and Paul Osicka Wines. An attempt at an olive orchard failed however - the soil is poor and the heat at times intolerable.
Aside from the aforementioned Pink Cliffs and the wineries, Heathcote offers Lake Eppalock, an artificial fishing lake where one can boat and fish, either in the baking hot sun (in summer) or the ceaseless drizzle (in winter). You can also go yabbying in dams too (yabbies taste good, and one of the farms will even get you started keeping them as pets), pick strawberries at a farm, go horse-riding and on bushwalks, or grab a slab and some illegal drugs and have parties, which is what i suppose the locals must do. There's a golf course too, naturally.
The town's two bakeries have some rather tasty treats but the restaurants are to be avoided, especially A Gaggle of Geese. The main street (the B75) is lined with a whole bunch of crappy shops, and in fact there is really nothing to recommend this town. Best avoided - load up on wine and get back to civilisation.
To get to Heathcote from Melbourne one can take the Sydney Road, which becomes the Hume Highway, north to Kilmore, then head west on the B75 towards Bendigo. A quicker way is to take the Tullamarine Freeway to its end at Sunbury Road. Turn right onto the Melbourne-Lancefield Road and follow until a T-junction is reached; head left to Bendigo.
Heathcote has an official website: http://www.heathcote.org.au/welcometoheathcote.htm