Established during the 1850s gold rush, Sofala is touted as the oldest surviving gold town in Australia. More sleepy village than bustling business centre these days, Sofala is a pretty village that still attracts the odd fossicker to try their luck in the Turon River. Crammed with unique historic buildings, Sofalas’ standout properties include the Royal Hotel and the Old Sofala Gaol, that is more museum, shop and cafe than eerie gaol. The Old Sofala Gaol Cafe is cosy and warm on this winter’s day. Rather than stay stationary waiting for the Devonshire Tea to arrive, potter around the museum that houses a large collection of memorabilia from many locations as well as from Sofala’s early days. There’s also a room full of collectibles to rummage through. The original police residence has been transformed into a Bed & Breakfast, and offers four rooms and for groups, the old Joe Yates cottage across the road is available. The menu lists plain and date scones, so naturally I try one of each. The presentation on a breadboard with a garnish of strawberries is impressive, however the scones are tough, probably from being over heated. The jam is forgettable but forgivable due the lashings of slightly sweet whipped ‘real’ cream. Open Friday to Monday.
Tea: A small range of loose-leaf teas from Fish River Roasters is served in a pot.
Overall: An historic landmark in a former gold rush village.