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Built on the industry of 'black gold', these days Wonthaggi offers a glimpse into Victoria's mining past as well as a host of outdoor activities and sweeping coastal views. Wonthaggi was home to Victoria's only winnable underground black coal, used by the Victorian Government in response to the disastrous New South Wales coal strikes at the turn of the twentieth century. Although Wonthaggi's State Coal Mine has retired from duty, there's still plenty to see and do. The mine's above-ground heritage features are open to the public, with historic buildings, interpretive displays, a picnic area and kiosk. The heritage walk around the mine site reveals a town that was controlled by the mine whistle, which is still heard at noon every day. Wonthaggi is also the starting point for the amazing 16-kilometre Bass Coast Rail Trail, Victoria's only coastal rail trail. This trail is best known for the trestle bridge at Kilcunda, which has a surf beach as its backdrop. Keep your walking shoes on and explore the Wonthaggi Wetlands, the North School Wild Flowers Reserve, and the Old Rescue Station - all easy short walks with wheelchair access. Wonthaggi is home to a variety of shops, eateries, supermarkets and accommodation. The local cinema shows the latest movies and local clubs provide meals, gaming facilities, entertainment, live bands and shows. The beach at Cape Paterson is an inviting place to dive in a on a hot day. Wonthaggi is approximately 135 kilometres from Melbourne, or an hour and 40 minutes along the M1, the South Gippsland Highway and the Bass Highway.
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