Melbourne’s always been that bit ahead of Sydney. A few years ago people would return from down south with stories of small, intimate bars, lane ways vibrant and full of cafes. Sydney had to play catch up. Now there’s another area where Melbourne has stolen ahead; a changing cultural landscape in country towns. Creative people moving out, starting businesses – bringing a fresh energy to the historic Gold Rush towns of Kyneton, Trentham & Castlemaine.
Just back from a short trip to Kyneton, staying at the cosy & adorable Flophouse, a golden recommendation from an Instagram connection, photographer Tara Pearce who lives there and who is mapping this trend with her new IG account – the Out of Towners. Before I came she told me that new places were opening up all the time. A ‘Lost Trades’ Fair had been held at the beginning of the year, showcasing ancient trades and traditional crafts.
Sure enough, the historic Piper St is full of paddock to plate restaurants and shops with the sort of industrial antiques usually found in inner city areas. Beautiful locally sourced dinners at The Midnight Starling and generous breakfasts at Localita. Kabinett was so well curated it has its own dreamy atmosphere. Further out Castlemaine is attracting an artist population.
Could this be a direction for the country towns of NSW? It’s hard to say. With the new freeway, Kyneton is little over an hour from Melbourne. To get to Bathurst or Mudgee from Sydney it’s over three times that. But with the connectivity of the internet bringing work, ideas and inspiration combined with the cheaper cost of living in the country side… it’s possible…