As you wind your way along the spectacular coastline of the Great Ocean Road and commence your journey into the mountainous Grampian Ranges via the Great Southern Touring Route, you will come across a delightful town Penshurst. Cosied up beside the now dormant volcano of Mount Rouse, Penshurst’s namesake was most likely inspired by the historic English village in Kent, and this is quite apt considering the Victorian town is home to beautiful bluestone buildings, a noble horse race, a never-failing spring and lush green scenery.
Held annually on boxing day at one of the oldest Country Racing Clubs is the Penshurst Cup; the club’s sole race meet of the year. The verdant lawn surrounding the track provides ample and gentle rolling spaces for you to unfurl your picnic rug and settle into a day of exciting horse racing, stylish fashion and live tunes. The event is family-friendly with an abundance of free kids activities. This affair is a great way to begin your Christmas holiday sojourn in the Southern Grampians.
Take in the talented artists of the region and their masterpieces at the Penshurst Art Exhibition. For an entire weekend, the Memorial Hall in Penshurst is decorated in a mass of colour, with a virtuosity of local artists on display. The exhibition recognises and awards such artistic categories as best in watercolour, acrylic, oil, drawing, pencil, charcoal, ink, pastel and the coveted best in show.
Revel in the delights of home-grown, home-made goods at the Penshurst Community Market. For over 10 years now this much-loved country market has presented locals and visitors with a recurrent opportunity to explore and acquire the outstanding products and produce of the Southern Grampians region; arts and craft, photography, candles, pickles, jams, handmade books, skincare, soaps, plants, toys, and of course food and coffee! Enjoy browsing and supporting local at the Penshurst Community Market.
When visiting Penshurst, the dominating peak of Mt Rouse is breathtakingly unmissable. Rising 100 metres above the surrounding volcanic plain, Mount Rouse is a massive accumulation of past lava flow in the form of scoria (volcanic rock). Two very different style walking tracks afford two very different views. Wander down the wide, grassy track to take in the sight of the dry crater lake and/or trail up the steps to the summit for a beautiful vista of the Western District Plains.
Centred around a never-failing spring is the Penshurst Botanic Gardens; a series of narrow water gateways flowing into a striking lake. This natural wetland presents a picturesque setting in itself but as you look around you are also awarded magnificent views of the Grampians and beyond. The garden is plentiful in plants; Australian, American, European and Asian in nature. And the gardens are an absolute sight to behold when Autumn sets in and the amber hues take over.
Explore the exciting and explosive world of volcanoes at the Volcanoes Discovery Centre. This educational and interactive centre will take you back to the time when volcanoes were erupting across the Western District and South Australia. Be guided through their geology and the significant part Penshurst played in this pivotal age of transformation. Watch a volcano erupt in a six-minute extravaganza that combines high fidelity sound, computer modelling and stunning imagery.
Penshurst offers up two distinctly varied styles of accommodation. Located on Cox Street, the Penshurst Caravan Park is primely positioned in the heart of town, adjacent to the public swimming pool and tennis courts. Powered and unpowered sites are available and the park is animal-friendly, so you are more than welcome to bring your pooch along for some rest and relaxation. The Grey House is one of the earlier residences of Penshurst (built over 100 years ago). Nowadays, this beautifully restored, well-appointed, modernised home is yours to comfortably cosy up in and base yourself from to discover all that Penshurst has to offer.
To learn more about Penshurst and the surrounding Greater Hamilton region, speak to a local on 1800 807 056.