A strategically located punt across the Loddon River made Newstead an important staging post for miners making their way from both Ballarat and Adelaide to the Mount Alexander diggings during the gold rush. Today the golden days are recorded in the Court House Museum’s collection and in long-established businesses such as the old general store, a winery and a candle factory. The major recreational area is Lake Cairn Curran, a popular boating, fishing and swimming spot which really hits its straps during the annual sailing regatta in November. Newstead lies 16km south-east of the thriving town of the famous old gold town of Castlemaine which was known as Mt Alexander in those hectic times when fortunes were made on the swing of a gold miner’s pick. The modern Castlemaine shares a rich heritage with visitors - a heritage exemplified by such buildings as the impressive Town Market. Built in 1862 at a princely cost of $14,000, the Town Market has been restored by the National Trust and operates as a window into the regional past through audio-visual displays, photographs and relics of the golden days.