Tourism Development Strategy and Business Case for Walhalla Town and Underground Mine

Historic Walhalla was once one of Australia’s richest towns and home to over 4,000 gold seekers. Now ‘frozen in time’ Walhalla is home to only 20 residents. The current gold mine tour provides a very masculine and factual experience based on the physical operation of the mine. Contemporary visitors want the ‘big picture and its relevance to their lives, made more interesting through human interest stories. In this way, the visitor can find relevance, emotional engagement and entertainment.

We developed a concept to fundamentally reinvigorate the Long Tunnel Extended (tourist) Gold Mine experience to become a must do experience in Walhalla, and to include a wow factor experience that generates much more awareness of the destination. We then built a Business Case and the $4M Project is about to be approved by the Victorian government.

The concept featured four components:

  1. A theatrette providing a contemporary and impactful audio visual production that sets the scene about underground mining in Walhalla, in comfortable conditions, before going into the mine. The theatrette would be constructed in a circular form so that the surrounding walls could all be projected onto, with visitors swivelling in their chairs to view different visuals. The audio-visual production should be designed to operate with a guide, or on its own (perhaps using technology such as a holographic depiction of the guide).
  2. Adjacent to the theatrette, Puzzle Rooms, where visitors have to find clues to solve a puzzle and meet a challenge. The concept has proven fun, interactive and very popular.
  3. Make the guided tour inside the Long Tunnel Mine shorter but more intense and experiential. The interpretation would focus on the life and struggle of the miners, and the route would proceed more directly to the exhibit areas, and then to the Crib Room, where the guide would provide tea and coffee in a similar format to the miners
  4. A wow factor in the form of reintroducing the mine shaft lift cage to take visitors down into lower level(s) of the Long Tunnel Mine. The experience would be similar that that offered via the Nine Levels of Darkness’ product at Bendigo’s Golden Deborah Mine
Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment