Billed as Australia’s largest outdoor gallery, the Silo Art Trail is a collection of 8 decommissioned wheat silos in rural Victoria that have been transformed by international street artists.
Large-scale murals depicting the local culture and community have been painted on the silos by world-renown artists in a bid to inject colour, creativity, intrigue and (hopefully) a bit of tourist dollar into these remote areas.
It’s hard to describe the impact of seeing a ghostly portrait or deep purple night sky rise out of the dry fields, but trust me when I say these murals are amazing and the Silo Art Trail is one of the best road trips from Melbourne.
Why visit the Silo Art Trail?
One of the things I really appreciated about the Silo Art Trail is that each artist has chosen to tell a story about the people of the region – from the sports-mad youth to the hard-working farmers and respected indigenous Elders – and it’s these faces that keep you driving, as much as the unique (and somewhat surreal) experience of discovering such vibrant art in a remote rural setting.
My husband and I loved our weekend break to the Silo Art Trail in April 2018, which is when I initially wrote this post. As more silos have been added to the trail in Victoria, and they’ve become popular throughout Australia, I’ve updated this post with the latest information.
Where is the Silo Art Trail?
The official Silo Art Trail in Victoria consists of 8 silos spread over 200 kilometres in the Wimmera Mallee region.
The closest silo to Melbourne is The Rupanyup Silo by Julia Volchkova, which is where most people choose to start the trail.
It takes approximately 3.5 hours to reach Rupanyup from Melbourne by car, if you set out early.
You could also stay the night in Horsham (like we did) or Ballarat to break up the driving. Horsham is about 35 minutes from the first silo.
How long does the Silo Art Trail take?
Technically you can drive the whole Silo Art Trail is about 4 hours. To travel the entire length of the original 200 kilometre trail from Julia Volchkova’s work in Rupanyup to Fintan Magee’s mural in Patchewollock takes just over 2 hours. There are also 2 new silos found on the A79 that you’ll need an additional 1.5 hours to reach from Patchewollock.
But, of course, you’ll want to stop, soak up the creativity and take in some of the sights mentioned at the end of the post.
So, while you can visit the Silo Art Trail in a (long) day I recommend taking at least 2 so you’re not rushing it.
Trail maps and regional information guides can be found at each of the silos but you can also download a copy of the visitor map to help plan your trip.
Who painted the silos in Victoria?
Various well-known Australian and international street artists have made their mark on the Silo Art Trail. If you’re familiar with the street art in Melbourne and Sydney, you might recognise the styles of artists such as Rone, Adnate and Kaff-eine.
Below is a little introduction to each of the murals and the artists.
Rupanyup Silo by Julia Volchkova
Russian artist Julia Volchkova focused on the town’s youth and their love of team sports for her mural in Rupanyup.
Julia’s work has also transformed little-known areas in George Town and Balik Pulau in Penang.
Sheep Hills Silo by Adnate
Melbourne-based artist Adnate is well known for his portraits of indigenous people and their native lands.
At his mural in Sheep Hills he has depicted local Elders, Uncle Ron Marks and Aunty Regina Hood, alongside two young children to signify the important exchange of wisdom, knowledge and customs from Elders to the next generation.
Brim Silo by Guido van Helten
Guido van Helten’s mural in Brim (also pictured at the top of the post) was the first silo artwork to appear in Victoria and its international success inspired the establishment of the Silo Art Trail. (As well as a feature on Masterchef Australia, is anyone remembers that?!)
The mural depicts an anonymous, multi-generational quartet of farmers and represents the strength and resilience of the local farming community.
Rosebery Silo by Kaff-eine
The only female artist on the trail, Kaff-eine spent some time assisting Rone with his mural in Lascelles before completing her own in Rosebery in late 2017.
Kaff-eine’s artwork depicts the region’s past, present and future and portrays a young female sheep farmer and a horseman enjoying a quiet moment.
Lascelles Silo by Rone
Rone’s ethereal mural in Lascelles features local farming couple Geoff and Merrilyn Horman, part of a family that has lived and farmed in the region for 4 generations.
Patchewollock Silo by Fintan Magee
Brisbane artist Fintan Magee met the muse for his mural at the local pub. Local (lanky) sheep and grain farmer, Nick “Noodle” Hulland, had the exact spirit (and build!) Magee wanted to portray on the narrow GrainCorp Silos.
The following 2 silos were painted after our visit so I don’t have my own images to share. (Yet, hopefully I’ll get back there one day!)
Nullawil by Smug
Sydney-born and now Scotland-based artist Sam Bates (a.k.a. Smug) has depicted a local farmer in a classic flannelette shirt with his trusty sheepdog besides him.
Sea Lake by Drapl & The Zookeeper
The newest addition to the trail was painted by Travis Vinson and Joel Fergie, also known as Drapl and The Zookeeper. This work features a young girl swinging from a eucalyptus tree, gazing out over the reflective surface of Lake Tyrrell, the biggest inland salt lake in Australia, which you can also experience for yourself via a viewing platform situated around a ten minute drive from Sea Lake.
Tips for visiting the Silo Art Trail
Now that I’ve whet you appetite for a road trip, here are some tips for your visit to the Silo Art Trail.
- As mentioned earlier, I’d recommend setting aside at least 2 days to cover the trail and stop at places that catch your eye along the way. There are additional murals by Kaff-eine, for example, found in Lascelles and Beulah, The Mallee Sunset Gallery in Rosebery is worth a visit, and speaking to the locals in the bakeries and hotels will give you more insight into the area. Click here for a list of other attractions along the trail.
- If self-catering, stock up on basic supplies and refreshments in bigger towns like Horsham or Warracknabeal. There is a small convenience store in Patchewollock, the most remote of the silos, although it was closed during our visit – much to our regret. We did find some much-needed snacks at a tuck shop inside the Lascelles Hotel though.
- There are clean but basic public loos dotted along the trail. You might want to pack your own loo roll and anti-bacterial hand gel.
- We visited on a week day – just before ANZAC Day – and there was often just us and one other couple at each silo, so you might want to plan your visit for mid-week in order to get people-free pictures.
- Please check it’s safe to do so before before launching, but I think you are permitted to fly drones over some of the silos as we saw someone doing so.
Where to stay on the Silo Art Trail
Silo Art Trail Accommodation
We chose these areas as we wanted access to cafes and restaurants and a shorter drive home afterwards, but it did mean doing a lot of driving over the 2 days on the trail.
We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Horsham – clean, basic, did the trick for $150 AUD.
If you’d like to stay somewhere on the trail itself, the Lascelles Hotel has built some cabins directly opposite the Rone mural. They are available to book on AirBnb from $80 AUD per night. Check out Wagon Inn self-contained units.
If you don’t mind driving towards Ballarat at the end of the day, I cannot recommend Pound Hill Cottage at Miners Rest enough. This beautifully maintained 3-bedroom property has a roaring log fire, cosy beds and stunning rural views. It made this city girl consider a move to the country! (Priced from $180 AUD per night.)
Most people we saw doing the trail were in campervans. There are a couple of basic caravan parks found along the trail and in remote areas like Patchewollock I think you’ll be glad to have your own fridge!
The Mallee Bush Retreat on the shores of Lake Lascelles has some quirky options including 2 Silos, 2 Cow Sheds, Stables and a Limestone Grain Store for rent – you’ll have to bring your own linen – as well as free camping around the Lake perimeter.
Find more information on caravan parks in the Yarriambiack Tourism guide.
Things to do near the Silo Art Trail
There are some great places you can visit in the surrounding area before or after your visit to the Silo Art Trail.
We spent the weekend in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs before heading out to Horsham to begin the Silo Art Trail.
Other places you can combine your visit with include:
- Sovereign Hill – an open air museum set in Victoria’s gold digging era
- Kryal Castle – come over all Medieval at the bizarre Kryal Castle
- Eureka Centre – learn about the 1854 Eureka Stockade at the home of the Eureka Flag
- The Grampians – go wild with bird watching, hiking and rock climbing in the Grampians
- Bendigo – learn about Bendigo’s gold boom on a vintage talking tram
- Lake Tyrell – Take stunning photos and enjoy the stargazing at Australia’s largest inland salt lake, just north of the silo at Sea Lake.
I hope you enjoy your visit to the Silo Art Trail as much as I did.
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