In the central region of north-east Victoria you will come across the tranquil and charming town of Wangaratta off the Hume Freeway between Sydney and Melbourne. Surrounded by some of Australia’s finest wineries food producing farms it is one of the most scenic regions of Victoria. The beautiful and varied landscape makes it a great place to live or just to visit.
The area is well known is Australian history due to the fact that one of it’s most famous outlaws, Ned Kelly, made his final stand in the nearby town of Glenrowan. This is a mere ten minutes drive from Wangaratta. Here you can find a museum dedicated to the man who is so well known for wearing steel armor in his last shootout. There is also a tour that visits locations that are noteworthy in the story.
Eldorado is also nearby where rich deposits of gold and tin where discovered in the year that Ned Kelly was born. The area was actually named after a farm that was owned by Captain William Fury Baker long before gold was discovered near by. There is also a museum of that history in the old school building and an old dredge that still lies on the river.
The largest jazz event in Australia takes place in Wangaratta every year on the weekend before the first Tuesday of November when the Melbourne cup takes place. 90 events attract 350 musicians from around the country and the world and there are also important workshops and related events that take place across the region. It is also when the National Jazz Awards are given out.
The commercial centre of the town is down Murphy Street and Reid Street. Cultural attractions can be found on Ovens Street and Ford Street such as the Anglican Holy Trinity Cathedral as well as St. Patrick’s Church. There is also the historic Exhibitions Gallery and Playhouse Theatre with its sculptured figurines on the lawn out front.
Ovens Street also leads to a part of the Ovens River known as Sydney Beach which is a popular swimming spot. You could also walk along the river in one of the many gardens know as Apex Park. There is also King George the V Gardens which is cultivated in and English style and Merriwa Park that has bush paths, a lagoon and other water features.
The surrounding areas are a delight for food and wine lovers. Apart from the vineyards which welcome visitors there are also a number of gourmet food farms and producers and the Milawa region is the first in Australia to be declared a gourmet region. Events are organized which feature the local cuisine or one can take a hiking tour whilst exploring wines, cheeses and other culinary specialties.
There are many places to stay in and around Wangaratta. There are ski resorts in Mt Hotham and you can also go skiing in Falls Creek or Mt Buffalo. There are also a number of motels and hotels or you could even just go camping. There are also many other outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, off-road trails or cycling and much more.
Mrs Alison Little is a Victorian based writer for a number of holiday related guides. Probably her most-loved regions is the city of Wangaratta in addition to the encompassing communities of the delicious King Valley as well as the historic Glenrowan area which she declares hosts amazing destinations, vineyards and also restaurants.