If you don't visit a bookshop, have you even been to Clunes?

Even older than its more famous neighbours Ballarat and Bendigo, Clunes was the first gold rush town in Victoria. 

Gold was discovered there in 1850 by William Campbell, but the discovery was not made public until the following year. This triggered the gold rush in Victoria, and Clunes became a thriving township. 

The heritage of the town is still visible in the lovely old buildings, homes and churches in the town. 

Clunes has more recently become known as “the Book Town of the Pyrenees” because of the annual book festival held there each year. Shop windows are decorated with a decal of books, giving the town a visual theme that promotes its new identity and adds a subtle but vivid touch to the traditional buildings and heritage colour schemes. 

In addition to a number of second-hand, vintage and collectable book shops, Clunes also offers some lovely gift stores, a traditional green grocer’s store, an old fashioned lolly shop, cafes and bakeries, and antique and collectible stores. 

Our visit was just a short one, as we tacked it onto a trip we were already making, so I only managed to visit one book store while looking around town.

Of course, it is a very rare occasion that I venture into a bookstore without buying anything. This visit was not one of those occasions.

The next visit to Clunes most likely won’t be one of those occasions, either. It’s clear that I’m definitely going to have to plan a ‘Going On A Book Hunt’ visit to Clunes, because I spied at least four other bookshops that I want to browse in.

This video highlights some of the lovely spots in and around this gorgeous, bookish little town. Enjoy!

Bellcourt Books, Hamilton

Having visited the Byaduk Caves and found ourselves only 20 minutes drive from Hamilton, we decided to head into town for a late lunch and a bit of shopping. 

All of a sudden, a day of exploring the countryside turned into another episode of “I’m Going On A Book Hunt”. I had heard of a great bookstore in Hamilton, and this was my opportunity to visit. 

Bellcourt Books is an independently owned and operated store that offers a very good range of new, secondhand, and vintage books. 

The store is airy and clean, and really nicely laid out. The sections are clearly labelled, so it’s easy to find your favourite genre and see what’s available. 

And, at the end of a visit, how lovely it is to be able to take your books home in environmentally friendly packaging with a great message!

Bellcourt Books is at 63 Gray St, Hamilton. 
Website: bellcourtbooks.com.au

The Cow Lick Bookshop

Yesterday I was granted an opportunity I’ve been waiting for: I visited the Cow Lick Bookshop in Colac, Victoria. which I had discovered and followed on Facebook about a month ago. 

Colac is in the Western District of Victoria, in the middle of God’s own dairy farming country.  It’s about half an hour’s drive from where I live, but in the opposite direction to where I work, so I don’t get there often.

When I lived on a dairy farm at Princetown and visited Colac regularly, there was no bookstore, so I am super happy that there is such a great one there now. 

Neal, the owner, is very friendly and knowledgeable. The shop is really well set up, and has a refreshingly quirky, welcoming vibe. The store has books on a wide range of subjects, with an excellent range of kids’ books, and Young Adult and general fiction. In addition to all the fabulous books, there are lots of interesting book and pop culture related items, board and card games, and some fabulous gift ideas. 

I could definitely have spent a lot more time and a lot more money there, and I absolutely want to go back. Supporting local businesses and Indie shops is something I value greatly,  so I’m just going to have to call in again and buy a few more books. I like to think of it as a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good. 

If you’re ever in the area or passing through Colac on your way to somewhere else, this is a place you should definitely visit. Feel free to tell Neal I sent you. 

You can find the Cow Lick Bookshop at 90 Murray St, Colac, Victoria, 3250.

You can also check out the website and Facebook page.