5 things to do in the Wimmera Mallee this Melbourne Cup Long Weekend
It’s a jam-packed weekend in the Wimmera Mallee. With something for absolutely everyone, plan to make our part of the world the destination for your weekend.
Sea Lake AstroFest
29 October – 1 November
Sea Lake AstroFest culminates a very special program of events showcasing astronomy experiences tailored for this unique location in the Wimmera Mallee.
Safely see the sun with specialised solar telescopes, giving a close-up view of the planet’s nearest star. Learn some of the stories First Nations people shared about the night sky, as well as how we now understand and navigate our way across the sky.
Each night the experience allows you to look through telescopes and take a closer look at the otherworldliness of our patch in the Universe – Saturn’s rings, the coloured bands of Jupiter plus a selection of galaxies, nebula and other deep sky objects. Photographers can rejoice with specialised astrophotography presentations that teach some of the techniques used to capture amazing images of the night sky.
Sea Lake is 45 minutes west of Swan Hill.
Saturday 29 October
If you want a great, big double-dose of country hospitality and community spirit, Rupanyup is where to find it.
S.A.T Fest (Silo Art Trail Festival) features the classic recipe for a great day out including an Artisan Alley of local makers’ and creators’ wares, delicious food (including a selection by local Dimboola foodie icon, Cat Clarke), live music and family entertainment.
Being a festival all about celebrating the Silo Art Trail, make sure you stop off at one of the original murals on the trail, Rupanyup Silo Art by Julia Volchkova. The work gives a nod to the town’s young people and their love of weekend sporting culture.
Rupanyup is a quintessential country town centred around broad-scale agriculture and passionate locals keen to see their town thrive. They’ll certainly be up for sharing a bevy and a chin-wag with you at S.A.T Fest this weekend.
Rupanyup is 35 minutes east of Horsham or north of Stawell at the top end of the Grampians National Park.
Harrow Bush Billycart Race
Saturday 29 – Sunday 30 October
On your marks, get set… The Harrow National Bush Billycart Championships have been synonymous with Harrow for the past 33 years.
Drivers come from all over the country to hit the starting line of this much lauded event. Competitors will travel down the iconic Harrow racetrack, along 1.2 kilometres of winding road, with some steep descents to boot!
The town folk (both local and adopted for the weekend) revel from the sidelines to support this nail-biting feat to take out the grand prize of $1000. With a spectators’ viewing area high on the course, the event also offers an exciting vantage point for photographers to capture the action or the idyllic landscape the event is nestled within.
Harrow is a quaint town located 1 hour south-west of Horsham or north-west of Hamilton. We recommend popping in to visit the historical Hermitage Hotel while you’re there – the warm hospitality is second to none.
Find out more including how to enter and places to stay by contacting the Harrow Discovery Centre by phone.
Jazz High Tea, Kaniva
Tuesday 1 November
What’s a Melbourne Cup Day without a nod to the great race?!
Little Guys Pizza and Café is legendary spot known to the locals in Kaniva as the mecca in town for a great wood-fired pizza. This Cup Day, they’re welcoming jazz aficionados, Quite Riot, for their inaugural Jazz High Tea.
The event promises to be an elegant, relaxing and fun excuse to indulge in some freshly brewed tea and a selection of delicious savory and sweet treats while enjoying some of Australia’s finest jazz.
All your favourite race-day activities are the order of the day including a Cup Day Sweep and Fashions on the Field.
Kaniva is located half-way between Melbourne and Adelaide on the Western Highway. The town is 30 minutes east of Bordertown (SA) to the west and 50 minutes north west of Dimboola.
Nati Frinj Festival
Friday 28 – Sunday 30 October
Deep in the wheat belt of the Grampians and Wimmera Mallee, Natimuk (or Nati as it is affectionately known) is home to an eclectic mix of farmers, tree-changers, rock climbers and artists. The Main Street is a place to walk the dog, gather tumbleweed and meet for a chat on the Post Office steps. However, every two years something magical happens, the township becomes the Nati Frinj.
This is a festival that punches well above its weight. From the Opening Parade to epic aerial shows, exhibitions and new theatre works in some of the town’s quirkier spaces, it is a vibe. The Nati Frinj is a chance to explore the town and get a taste of some of the Australia’s finest artistic experiences, including those created by local practitioners.
While some events are ticketed, you’ll find a heap of free events for all ages. It’s a matter of landing in town and exploring. If you’re not quite sure where to start, head to the Nati Pub where friendly local faces can point you in the right, or perhaps even an intriguing, direction.
Natimuk is a 15-minute drive west from Horsham where there are plenty of options to stay and play. Make sure you check out natural icon, Mt Arapiles (Dyurrite), while you’re in the area.