Settled during the gold rush of 1855 as 'New Bendigo', St Arnaud in Victoria's Grampians region boasts postcard-perfect heritage streetscapes and the distinction of a pub for every couple of hundred residents.
Grand old buildings with cast iron lacework verandahs line the streets of St Arnaud, originally dubbed 'New Bendigo' but soon renamed to honour the Commander of the French forces in the Crimean War, Jacques le Roy de Saint Arnaud, who lies buried with Napoleon in Paris. This history is celebrated at the annual At Arnaud Festival in November.
In 1861 the town's streets were surveyed by W.M. Wills who later tried unsuccessfully to cross the continent with fellow explorer Robert O'Hara Burke. St Arnaud's historic precinct features the 1866 post office, the old court house, Victoria's oldest fire station, and a host of notable pubs for refreshing drinks and chats with the locals.
St Arnaud's manicured gardens and surrounding bushland can be surveyed from the lookout atop Wilsons Hill. The town is edged by St Arnaud Range National Park and Teddington Reservoir with their abundant native flora and fauna, and nearby lakes and rivers that are well stocked with fish.
St Arnaud is approximately 240 kilometres from Melbourne, or just under three hours by car along the Calder Freeway and the Wimmera Highway.