Firstly and most importantly, wow what a strange place… I’m going to say it again, what a VERY STRANGE place Walhalla is.
We’d read about the pub, always a good solid reason to make a small town a destination for a weekend away – a good local pub. And to be fair, the pub exceeded our very high expectations. A very very small (like someone’s living room!) and homely furnished place with different currencies all over the bar, this is a true local Australian pub with some of the best pub food we’ve ever had. Had it been in any Australian major city and it would have been FULL. The size and quality of each meal, the homely welcoming atmosphere, the beers on tap and the friendly staff (who also doubled as unpaying customers WHILE working) were worth the drive alone.
Now to the rest of the town:
Imagine an old movie set from a wild western, with beautiful natural bush surroundings and amazing old buildings, all restored. Now imagine you arrive, and it’s like a CLOSED movie set. Not a business or building open and not a sole in town. It’s a Wednesday and we can’t even buy a milk, toilet paper or work out how to pay for the campground, let alone get a coffee or the paper in the morning. Strange? You bettcha! So apparently if you arrive on a weekend the town is ‘open’ so to speak, but the locals don’t ‘bother’ week days, so a tip of advice – DO NOT visit Walhalla on a week day! What we didn’t understand? Why NOT open in the week? In the 2 days we were there we encountered slow driving car after slow driving car, they’d stop in the main street and look around dumbfounded as we did. Then they’d do a few more loops and drive out. All eager tourists who left to spend their dollars somewhere else when presented with a ghost town.
The camping grounds (there are three options):
Chinese Gardens – The only paid campground in the town and quite lovely however the owner (when we finally did get a hold of her) was a right royal %#!+C putting us directly next to the only other camper in the entire campground for the one night and forgetting to give us the pin code for the toilet/shower then being uncontactable. This place is lovely because it was empty when we stayed here but we can see it being horrible if there were more than a few campers staying here at the one time (it was one large clearing with no shade or privacy between spots).
Free Camping in town (legal) – This is more of a reststop on the side of the road with some taps and a public toilet. Not really nice and not really ideal, but it is free.
Free Camping just out of town (not legal) – there’s a large bridge over the river that you’ll cross before you enter the town. We were told by the waitress/bartender at the pub that it’s where the locals sometimes go to camp. We drove down there but didn’t stay as there was lots of broken glass. Was nice to swim in the river though.
Walhhalla – a nice town but even if the 5 shops had been open I really can’t see anything to do here. 2hours and 20 minutes from Melbourne and worth it if you want to spend a weekend in a pub.