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 in Australia’s history as the notorious Ned Kelly’s last stand took place in the town of Glenrowan which is only ten kilometres from Wangaratta. He is one of the most memorable villains in history due to the steel armor and helmet that he wore in his shootout with police. Today you can visit a museum dedicated to him in the town or take a tour to places that reveal his story.
The nearby village of Eldorado also has historical significance as it was the scene of one of the early gold rushes. The origin of the name might seem obvious but it actually comes from a farm owned by Captain William Fury Baker who named it long before he knew about the gold which was discovered in the year of Ned Kelly’s birth. One can find a museum about its history in the old school building and the river still has and old gold and tin dredge in it.
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.
There are also a number of attractive parks and gardens. King George the V Gardens are English in style and you can enjoy delightful walks along the river in Apex Park. Merriwa Park is surrounded by waterways and has a lagoon and bush walking paths. Sydney Beach on the Ovens River is also an ideal place for a swim and can be reached from the eastern end of Ovens Street.
There is much to do in the surrounding regions, especially for food and wine lovers. A number of specialist food producers that have teamed up with the wineries to create the countries first gourmet region in Milawa. Here they offer everything from hiking tours to food events. One can visit the vineyards and sample the local produce which ranges from cheeses to mustards and many types of fresh produce.
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 really is a Victorian correspondant for a variety of tour relevant magazines. Without doubt one of her best destinations is Wangaratta as well as the bordering districts of the famous King Valley combined with historic Glenrowan community which she affirms contains marvelous tourist attractions, vineyards as well as cafes.