posted on 26 Feb 20

Harcourt is a place that provides many opportunities to nurture your desire for healthy living and a balanced lifestyle. Organic food systems, outdoor tracks and trails for cycling and walking, and an abundance of natural assets to revive the mind and spirit are just the beginning. 

It’s a place that is innovative, sustainable and respectful – both of the Traditional Owners of the land (the Dja Dja Wurrung) and the land itself.  Harcourt seems to engage everyone – both locals and visitors, with the opportunity to care for and connect with Country. 

Whether you seek the opportunity to challenge yourself with an outdoor pursuit, take time out in nature, learn about food sovereignty, make healthy food choices, or simply have a pleasurable experience of eating and drinking locally produced food, wine or cider with family and friends - you’re bound to feel the good vibes and nourishing benefits of this place.

Here’s our Harcourt hit list:

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Get the adrenalin pumping!

Head to the purpose built mountain bike park at La Larr Ba Gauwa on Mount Alexander to experience 34 kilometres of trail that wind through granite outcrops with stunning views, jumps, drops and technical features - all aimed at giving you a sense of accomplishment at the end. 

Please note: There are a handful of beginner tracks if you’re not at the black diamond level as yet. Bring your own mountain bike or hire one in Castlemaine. Riders need to park their car in Harcourt and ride the short distance to the trail head. There are a few great cafes in Harcourt for lunch - Harcourt General Produce & Store and Goldfields Track Cafe.  

For more details click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walk or cycle the Leanganook track

Part of the longer Goldfields Track, the 16km section from Harcourt to Springs Road takes you up over Mount Alexander and along the west flank and along the extraordinary Coliban Main Channel. The next section from Springs Road to Bendigo is 23km. Along the way you’ll see relics from the goldrush era, seasonal flora and old growth woodland. For shuttle transfers and assistance with your mountain bike arrangements contact Tread.  

Click here for more details. 

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Buy delicious organic food direct from the producers

At Harcourt Organic Farming Co-Op they specialise in regenerative and organic principles of fruit growing and they’re all too happy to teach people about it. Knowing where your food comes from and choosing to eat quality foods that are ethically produced and chemical free, can be life-changing – both for the sustainability of the planet and for the health benefits.  Take time to chat to the producers and purchase quality produce direct from the source. Visit The Little Red Apple, Harcourt Produce & General Store and Harcourt Organic Farming Co-Op and Blumes Historic Bakery to pick up the freshest local wares.  

Please note: The Harcourt Organic Farming Co-Op shop is only open over summer but their fruits can be purchased from the weekly Castlemaine Farmers Market.  

Click here for more details. 

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Bite into a tasty Harcourt apple!

Some of the biggest commercial plantings of apples are found in Harcourt, so it’s the best place to taste test and stock up!  For the ultimate apple experience, make sure you visit Applefest on 7th March which is the annual festival celebrating the local harvest. There’ll be warm apple pies, entertainment, art and lots and lots of freshly picked apples to take home.  

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Revive your spirit atop Leanganook (Mount Alexander)

As you take a scenic walk along one of the walking tracks that lead to the stunning lookouts, you’ll notice the interesting timber debrit, rock boulders and manna gum bark ribbons dotted throughout the landscape, you’ll hear the birdlife and may see the soaring eagles, kangaroos, wallabies and other wildlife. Once you reach the viewpoint, find yourself a cosy spot on a rock to breathe in the fresh air and spirit of this place as you take in the sweeping views of the Harcourt Valley. 

For more information click here

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Have a belly laugh at one of the quirkiest attractions in Victoria

Visit Woop-Woop - this eco-friendly sculpture garden depicts Aussie lingo and humour through the creative use of over 100 sculptures. It’s a fun, must visit attraction and you might even learn some new Aussie slang. There’s also a gallery and tearoom that serves shearers’ scones with jam and cream…does it get more wholesome than laughs and scones?   

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Sip the very best quality wine, cider and Perry - in moderation of course!

Several boutique wineries and cideries take advantage of supreme growing conditions to create award-winning drops. Henry of Harcourt is a family run orchard and cider mill specialising in cider and Perry (pear cider). Blackjack Winery has a great reputation for Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon which tastes even better from their newly renovated cellar door. You’ll no doubt meet the wine-makers themselves - Ian McKenzie and Ken Pollock who are a wealth of knowledge and all too happy to have a yarn. Harcourt Valley Vineyards Easter Festival is a great way to enjoy a sip with family and friends amongst the gum trees and grape vines. 

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Take home some green life for the house

If you’re a person that loves to bring nature indoors and surround yourself with the healing benefits of plants, then be sure to call into Skydancers Garden, Gift & Cafe. Not only do they have an extensive array of plants and garden tools but there’s also a temperate butterfly enclosure and Café too. Great for families. 

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Volunteer in nature for a day

Volunteering with the Harcourt Landcare group can be a rewarding way to spend a day in Harcourt.  In doing so, you'll meet some locals and contribute to the preservation of this unique and special landscape. For volunteering opportunities contact our Visitor Information Centre staff here. 

 

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Picnic in the Oak Forest

Nestled in the La Larr Ba Gauwa mountain bike park is a family friendly shady spot full of Oak trees.  It's an idyllic location to roll out the picnic rug and tuck into a picnic of local produce from the region. Autumn is an exceptional time to visit with a carpet of red and gold leaves creating a cosy and warm atmosphere. 

For more information, click here.