Harcourt was once the centre of the apple growing industry in Australia and today it still produces $30 million worth of fruit. Here you can buy fresh local apples from roadside stalls, drop into a local winery for a tasting or view the orchids and walk through the butterfly house at Skydancers cafe. Visit the nearby Oak Forest and the Koala Park atop Mt Alexander.
Echuca, hub of The Murray River trade of the 1870s and 80s, remains faithfully intact 100 years on. Here you can re-live the river boat days - days when Echuca was Australia's largest inland port. Bawdy hotels, general stores crammed with supplies and the public buildings of law and order sprung up out of this frantic activity. Two hundred trading boats carrying wool, grain and red gum passed through the port every year.
Today, as then, the Port remains the true heart of Echuca. The River traffic still bustles but this time their cargo is pleasure seekers. The Port area is serviced by Murray Esplanade, a pedestrian walk flanked by fine 19th Century buildings. These have been faithfully restored so visitors can experience the sights sounds and smells of this "step back in time" community.
There is no entry fee to Murray Esplanade. Stroll past the towering red gum wharf, once a kilometre long, which still stands as a lasting monument to the Murray River's major inland port. The wharf was built on three levels to accommodate the rise and fall of the mighty Murray River and is still used to house a collection of some of the world's oldest "still operating" paddlesteamers and barges and other paraphernalia.
The Star Hotel on Murray Esplanade - now the headquarters of the Port of Echuca Authority, a souvenir shop and a Museum - is linked with the wharf by an underground tunnel which allowed the old timers to avoid the police who frequently raided the hotel looking for after hours "drinkers".
Discover the Bridge Hotel, built by the Echuca's founder Henry Hopwood in 1858, furnished in period style. It is a living monument to the many travellers who crossed the river on Hopwood's punt to quench their thirst.
A unique feature of the Esplanade is the only brothel (no longer operating) in Australia which is classified by the National Trust.
The sounds of horse drawn Cobb & Co coaches, the steam whistles of the paddlesteamers, the clang of the blacksmith's hammer and the buzz of the massive saw as it slices through the red gum logs, the laughter from the old time Movie House or the clatter of coins in the Penny Arcade are all part of the living history experience of the Port of Echuca.
At the western end of Murray Esplanade you enter Hopwood Gardens, now referred to as Paddlewheel Park, which sprawl along the river bank. This is the embarkation point for a one hour cruise aboard the PS Pride of the Murray, PS Canberra or MV Mary Ann, or for a one or two night cruise aboard the PS Emmylou which is a fully licensed floating hotel.
Visitors to Echuca can experience the river as Captain of their own "drive yourself" houseboat. The more adventurous can join a guided canoeing safari.
Echuca/Moama is the closest Murray River community to Melbourne, about 206 kilometres, and in addition to Australia's river history, it boasts magnificent sporting facilities. These include the Rich River Golf and Country Club, the first class bowling greens at the Moama bowling Club, croquet, water skiing and fishing.
Built on lava flows which date back some 4.5 million years, Hamilton is the wool capital of the world. One of the biggest attractions is the Big Wool-bales which houses a comprehensive history of the district's wool producing heritage. Many of the city's grand buildings and fine homes are a direct result of the wealth and prosperity of the wool industry.
Within an easy drive of Hamilton are the extinct volcanoes of Mt Eccles, Mt Napier and Mt Rouse. Their landscape is awe inspiring, as are the myriad of caves and lava blisters in the area.
Hamilton also has one of Victoria's best regional galleries and the Botanic Gardens are a nature lover's delight.
Sir Reginald Ansett, Australia's commercial aviation pioneer, lived in Hamilton. Today, you can step inside his relocated company hangar at the Ansett Transport Museum and be transported back to the earliest days of commercial flight.
At Hamilton you'll find the only surviving Victorian colony of the rare Eastern Barred Bandicoot , a small furry marsupial with rabbit like ears.
Stawell was founded on gold in 1853 when William McLachlan, a shepherd on Dr. John Blundell's station found gold there. Gold mining ceased in 1920 when the Union Quartz Mining Company closed. However in 1984 the Stawell Joint Venture re-opened the mines around Stawell and are part of Australian Goldmines. You can visit the mines and view the massive trucks and excavators.
The town is noted for the Stawell Easter Gift foot race, the richest event of its kind in the world. The first meeting was in 1877. At the Hall of Fame Museum you can see the photographs, memorabilia and equipment which highlight the history of this famous sports meeting.
Just south of Stawell is Bunjil's Shelter, one of Victoria's most important Koorie art sites.
Korumburra is a similar distance from Melbourne and was likewise established because of coal. Black coal was first uncovered here in 1872 and by 1889 the Coal Creek Mine was producing the first commercially-viable coal in the state.
Today, on the original site of this mine, is the Coal Creek Historical Village, which features a recreation of a coal mining town of the 1890s. Coal Creek has established itself as one of Gippsland's major tourism destinations and is conveniently located on the South Gippsland Highway.
In the heart of the beautiful North East, where cattle graze in the lush valleys of the Kiewa River and its tributaries and trout abound in crystal clear streams. Cold! That was the catch cry that first attracted people to our majestic valleys. Take a 4wd adventure into the many goldfields with history dating back to the 1850's, see the relics of a bygone era come to life before your eyes. Step into the folds of the nearby ranges, into a world where bushwalking, fossicking, horseriding , native birds and animals in abundance attract those with a love of our unique country.
Wander along the main street of Yackandandah with its old shopfronts. beautiful trees and old village atmosphere. where you will find quality crafts. souvenirs and meals to tempt your tastebuds and country hospitality you did not dream still existed in this day and age. Stay in cosy country pubs, where you can quench your thirst on warm sunfilled days. Or maybe you prefer a friendly bed and breakfast or a hostfarm experience. Our caravan parks are the best you'll find. Take your choice of easy excursions around the region - snowfields, water-skiing. wineries architecture, breathtaking scenic drives. Come and see for yourselves the beauty we have to offer you, where the gold remains. in the fiery colours of autumn in the warm summer sun. Turn your back on the 1990's, step into the peace and tranquillity of the historic shire of Yackandandah
Clunes and Talbot remain shadows of their former selves. At Clunes you can see some fine old buildings and an historical museum. Today the streets of Talbot are quiet, save the occasional 'old timer' leaning against a gate post of an old cottage.
Within a year of gold being discovered, the population in Castlemaine soared to 25,000. Today it stands at a humble 7300. The famous Castlemaine Market Place became a distribution point for food to all central Victoria goldfields. It is now a museum and well worth seeing.
There's something for everyone in Castlemaine. Lovers of architecture, fine arts and history, photographers, field naturalists and families all find something to delight them.
Spend some time looking at the fabulous architectural gems which remind us of the boom mining town this once was. Wander through the garden and house of Buda, once the home of a noted goldfields silversmith. Take time to view one of the finest regional art galleries in Victoria.
Visit the Castlemaine Gaol or take a walk through the wonderful Botanical Gardens. You might even stop for a picnic.
The gardens, private and public, are superb, particularly in Spring and Autumn when the wildflowers are spectacular.
If you are feeling a bit more energetic why not make use of some of the excellent sporting facilities for a game of tennis, golfer bowls. Try a spot of fishing or visit a local football match.
Follow one of the many marked walking tracks or head bush yourself. Bring your bike and enjoy one of the day rides.
At Chewton visit the Dingo Farm, wander down the winding village street, or throw a line in at the Expedition Pass Reservoir. Take time to view the Wattle Gully Gold Mine which is still operating from the 1850s.
Further down the South Gippsland Highway is the pretty former gold mining town of Foster. On the way in you will be rewarded with great views of Wilsons Promontory and Corner Inlet. Gold was discovered at Foster in 1870 by a group of timber cutters. While the finds were never as rich as those elsewhere in Victoria, goldmining continued through till the 1930s.
The huge amount of gold discovered at Bendigo has also left an extravagant mark, making it the most splendid mid-19th century Victorian city in Australia. When you drive through the main street of Bendigo you'll be struck by the city's obvious pride. Flamboyant in appearance, the journey down its side streets unveils even more remarkable buildings - baroque mansions, gothic cathedrals and Georgian-style homes.
A 90-minute journey down the South Gippsland and Bass Highways brings you to the former coal mining town of Wonthaggi. The mines operated here from 1909 till 1968 and, if it were not for coal, the town would not have existed.
The only mine now in operation is for tourists. Known as the State Coal Mine it was reopened in 1982 for the making of the film, "Strikebound". Former miners take regular tours underground and show the difficult conditions in which they once worked.
Not far from Walhalla is Erica, an historic timber town, where you will see old wooden timber trestle bridges, tram lines and mill sites. The local hotel has an extensive display of artefacts while the railway museum traces the history of the Moe to Walhalla line which closed in 1954. Efforts are underway to restore part of the line for tourists.
The township of Rawson was established for workers constructing the giant Thomson Dam which was completed in 1983. This dam supplies water to Melbourne and is an ideal place for picnics. The dam is fed by the magnificent Thomson River which has established itself as an excellent venue for whitewater rafting, canoeing and trout fishing.
A 10-minute drive from Korumburra is the thriving farming town of Leongatha, home of the biggest dairy factory in the southern hemisphere. Leongatha was once the home of a labour colony, a settlement of unemployed men who cleared and farmed the area after the completion of the South Gippsland railway in the 1890s.
Bairnsdale is a neat and charming town found on the banks of the Mitchell River, between Sale and Lakes Entrance on the Princes Highway. Both Sale and Bairnsdale put the visitor in easy rich of the high country to the north. Most notable this means the Alpine National Park, the Avon Wilderness Area and the Mitchell River National Park. An ideal destination is the Den of Nargun, a ferny grotto in the Mitchell River National Park which is popular for picnics and bushwalking.
Just to the north west of Sale is the charming town of Maffra where the annual Gippsland Harvest Festival is staged at the Powerscourt Country House. This celebrates the produce provided by the rich fertile flood plains. Noted restaurants, vignerons and artists are represented on one of the most important days on Central Gippsland's calender.
Ararat, to the east, is the commercial centre of a prosperous wine growing and farming region. A former gold mining town, Ararat is home to many historical buildings including an impressive bluestone Post Office, Town Hall, Civic Square and War Memorial. The notorious J Ward which housed the criminally insane for over 100 years is a grim relic of the past, and open to the public. Ararat's picturesque Alexandra Gardens are renowned for their orchid glasshouses.
At the town of Bass on the Bass Highway, you'll discover the extraordinary Wildlife Wonderland. This has four different areas depicting Australian wildlife - the giant worm attraction, wombat world, kangaroo enclosure and a farm yard featuring cows, sheep, goats and a host of other animals. Wildlife Wonderland allows visitors to have hands-on contact with some of Australia's most treasured animals.
To visit Beechworth is to step back into history. Once the centre of one of the biggest goldfields in Victoria, its solid granite and dignified brick buildings are beautifully preserved. This is the real attraction of Beechworth. It is a living and working town, proud of its history, its buildings and its stories.
There are magnificent buildings here. Some twenty- five of them are listed on the Victorian Historic Buildings Council Register. They reflect the fortunes that were made - and spent - during the gold rush days.
Spend a day and stay the night - a visit to the colonial township of Chiltern is a must. Step back in time to a town untouched by the fast pace of today's living, a town full of history, presenting itself as it was in the gold rush days. You can spend days visiting the three National Trust properties, museums, enticing antiques, art and craft or bric-a-brac shops, where you will find many bargains. Tempt your taste buds at the restaurants and eating places, meet the lovable Alpacas a the Alpaca Farm on your way to the beautiful Chiltern State park. Chiltern is a town which holds something of interest for everyone, and is central to Albury/Wodonga, Wangaratta, Beechworth, Yackandandah, Rutherglen and Corowa.
To the north of The Grampians is Horsham, set on the banks of the beautiful Wimmera River. The unofficial capital of the Wimmera, Horsham services the needs of the wheat and livestock farmers of the region and offers the visitor city living, country style.
The Wool Factory in Horsham produces some of the best fine wool in Australia while the Regional Art Gallery houses the magnificent collection which includes significant works by Hans Heysen, George Lambert and Charles Bush.
For the sports minded there are plenty of activities - bushwalking, rockclimbing, abseiling, orienteering, boating, canoeing, hunting, cycling, trail bike riding or four wheel driving.
The nearby lakes and waterways are perfect for fishing and even if you're not having much luck you can still enjoy distant views of The Grampians. West from Horsham is Mount Arapiles where climbers from around the world pit their skills against the thousands of climbs available. For the ultimate scenic view of Horsham why not go up in a hot air balloon or on a glider flight?
Nearby is the historic Port Albert, discovered in 1841 by Angus McMillan. It is Victoria's oldest seaport and the first settlement in Gippsland. Its size belies the major role it played in the opening up of the whole region. McMillan happened upon Port Albert during his search for a southern port through which to ship livestock between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.
Throughout the 1840s more settlers arrived , gradually shipping, banking, stock and other businesses were established.
When gold was discovered at Walhalla and Omeo, Port Albert became a shipping point for something other than cattle. Its relevance as a transport hub began to decline following the establishment of the South Gippsland rail line in the 1890s.
A walk through Port Albert will reveal some 12 historic buildings all with plaques affixed.
Today the town is best known for fishing. It provides access not only to Bass Strait but to 220 square kilometres of sheltered estuaries. Catches include flathead, snapper, king george whiting, bream, salmon, perch and mulloway.
Inverloch was one of the state's first seaports and much of the first coal mined in Wonthaggi was shipped to Melbourne from here. The township is found at the mouth of Anderson's Inlet and it is best known for its beaches. The coastal drive between Cape Paterson and Inverloch is a must. It tracks along the narrow Bunurong Cliff Coastal Park. Look out for Eagles Nest - a peculiar rock formation which has long been a prominent landmark.
In 1841, when the early squatter CB Hall followed the path made by the Koorie people into the gap, he had no idea where it would lead. Today, nestled between the Mount Difficult and Mount William Ranges, Halls Gap is the bustling village named after him. There are shops and restaurants, places to camp and motels and guest houses in which to stay. High in the trees around this friendly, relaxed township, koalas can still be found sleeping in the forks of the manna gums. And their grunts are a telltale sign of their presence in trees along some walking tracks.
This can be followed by a visit to the Brambuk Living Cultural Centre, just two kilometres from Halls Gap. The Centre brings to life the rich history and culture of the Koorie communities of the Wimmera and south west Victoria.
Rejoining the South Gippsland Highway and travelling east you will happen upon the town of Yarram, formerly the site of low-lying swamplands.
John Carpenter, an early pioneer, established a flour mill and a saw mill in the area in 1857.
Sale is the biggest centre in the area and it is here that you can view the acclaimed textile art of the famous wildlife artist Annemieke Mein. A key source of her inspiration is the wetlands of the Sale Common. For thousands of years this labyrinth of marshes, rivers and lakes has provided a haven for a vast range of wildlife.
Sale is just a 20 minute drive from the famous 90-Mile Beach, the slender strip of coast which helps separate the remarkable Gippsland Lakes from the ocean. These are comprised of three lakes - King, Victoria and Wellington. These lakes are fed by four navigable rivers - Latrobe, Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo.
The Lakes incorporate picturesque resorts such as Paynesville, Metung, Loch Sport, Rotamah Island, Golden Beach and Seaspray. Sufficiently protected from the ocean winds, and without any rocks to contend with, the Gippsland Lakes provide an ideal boating venue for cruisers, yachts and small craft.
To a large degree the area is very much as it was when explorer Angus McMillan visited here in the 1840s and this is mainly due to the establishment of national parks covering almost 20,000 hectares.
The township of Maldon was christened The Best Preserved Town in Australia of the Gold Mining Era' by the National Trust because of its authenticity and its preservation is encouraged. Cottage gardens, pavements overhung by verandahs and old mining structures are the essence of Maldon. The place really comes to life on weekends with horse-drawn rides around town and steam train rides over a section of restored track.
Who can forget Moliagul? This is where the world's largest nugget was unearthed in 1869. Weighing 65 kilograms it became affectionately known as The Welcome Stranger'. The descendants of one of the lucky miners who discovered it, John Deason, are well known in the district today.
Melbourne, city (1991 pop. 2,761,995), capital of Victoria, SE Australia, on Port Phillip Bay at the mouth of the Yarra River. Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, is a rail and air hub and financial and commercial center. Wool and raw and processed agricultural goods are exported. The city is heavily industrialized; industries include shipbuilding and the manufacture of farm machinery, textiles, and electrical goods. Included in the Melbourne urban agglomeration are many coastal resorts.
Settled in 1835, it was named (1837) for Lord Melbourne, the British prime minister. From 1901 to 1927 the city was the seat of the Australian federal government. Melbourne has campuses of several universities, including the Univ. of Melbourne (1853), Monash Univ. (1958), and La Trobe Univ. (1964). Melbourne Technical College, the Australian Ballet School, the National Gallery, and the Victorian Arts Centre are also in the city. Melbourne is the seat of Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops. The botanical gardens are a notable attraction. The Melbourne Cup Race is run annually at the Flemington Racecourse, and the city hosts a Formula One Grand Prix race. Melbourne was the site of the 1956 summer Olympic games.
Not far north of the Latrobe Valley and nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, the Mountain Rivers District provides a beautiful combination of history and nature.
Here you will find the magnificent former goldmining town of Walhalla. It's almost as if it has been snap frozen in time. Not many people live at Walhalla but many of its original buildings remain.
These include the fire station, museum, post office, Windsor House, Mechanics Institute, bank vault Freemason's Lodge, St John's Church of England and, possibly the most photographed thing in Walhalla, the grand old band rotunda.
During the 1880s Walhalla was one of the state's richest goldfields. The Long Tunnel Extended Mine, which operated from 1871 until 1911, yielded 8 15,568 ounces of gold and paid dividends of $2.5 million.
The hilly terrain meant local sports fans had to virtually cut the top off a mountain in order to establish a sports field for football and cricket. The climb to the top was so arduous that local sportsmen would ascend the day before and camp overnight.
Tarnagulla is the host of a rare survivor of the golden era - a theatre where diggers were once entertained by travelling performers.
It's hard to believe that tiny Creswick once had a population of 60,000. Typical of a former gold mining town, today it just tops 2700. Creswick was the scene for Australia's worst gold mining disaster. In 1882, water broke in from the already flooded Australasia No. 1 into the No. 2 mine. Twenty-two helpless miners drowned in the darkness far underground. You can read about this tragic story which is recorded in detail at the site of the mine. You can also see the old government battery which was built to crush rock for the extraction of gold. It is one of the few remaining in Australia. Creswick is also the home town of Australia's former Prime Minister, John Curtin and the famous artists, the Lindsays
Yanakie is located on the Peninsula of Wilsons Promontory, South Gippsland, and the Southernmost Landmass on the Australian Mainland. Yanakie is approximately a two hour drive from Melbourne via the South Gippsland Highway, (just follow the Wilsons Promontory signs at all times), and the last (and only) town on the peninsula before the 'Prom' National Park gate. The village is situated in a rural location, overlooking rolling farmland, and is only a few minutes drive to beaches (Corner Inlet & Shallow Inlet) on either side of the Peninsula. This is a great destination for those interested in discovering the majestic beauty of the Southern Coastlines, Inlets and bays; access to the giant timbers, the ferny valleys and water falls of the Strzelecki Ranges.
Village Services - The Yanakie Licensed General Store, fuel outlet and Yanakie House & Gallery Café.
Local attractions & services - Milparinkis Yabbie farm and Tingara View Tea Room
B&B and Self Contained accommodation providers.
Two caravan parks on either side of the peninsula
Boat launching facilities · Population - in village 12 people (increasing in season) and in the whole peninsula region - 261 people (varies seasonally)
On the Meeniyan - Promontory Road in South Gippsland, 185 Kms from the GPO in Melbourne. · 8 Kms from the National Park gate, travelling time approx 5 mins, and 30 minutes to Tidal River.
The main town is Foster, 28 Kms to the north, a 20 minutes drive
Surrounded on two sides by Inlets (Corner & Shallow Inlets), 5 minutes drive either way.
Local tennis courts & children's playground.
Fishing, boating, swimming, windsurfing and bushwalking.
A great base for the artist, photographer, fisherman, Prom enthusiast, or weary traveller.
HISTORY 'YANAKIE (yan-a-key) - a Koori name from the Gunai (Kurnai) language interpreted generally as 'between waters' - More than 12,000 years ago, when the sea level was six metres higher than at present, 'The Prom' was a group of islands with only the mountain tips showing above water level. When the sea level dropped, (to form the land bridge to Tasmania), a series of sand dunes formed over a basalt base creating the Yanakie Peninsula. This constructed a link between the previous islands and the mainland, so that when the sea level rose again, it thus formed what is now the present day Wilsons Promontory.
Wilsons Promontory was first travelled by the Koories (as south-eastern Australian Aboriginals prefer to call themselves). These people were the Gunai (Kurnai) community with the Brataualung clan occupying the surrounding areas of South Gippsland. To the Koories, Wilsons Promontory is known as 'Wamoon', (also known as Yirik or Woomom), watched over by their spirit ancestor, 'Loo-errn'. These people had been spending at least part of their year on the Yanakie Peninsula for approximately 6500 years prior to the arrival of George Bass in 1798.
Originally, in the shire of South Gippsland, Yanakie was one of the parishes in the County of Buln-Buln on Wilsons Promontory, along with the other parishes - Beek-Beek, Warreen, Kulk and Tallang. The northern section of Yanakie was probably exempted from the National Park (declared in 1905 - internal section only, 1908 - the coastline, and in the 1950's - the Yanakie southern section) on the grounds of revenue. A lease had been granted in 1852 for the Yanakie Station or Run (a profitable business), which originally grazed cattle through to Darby River. Yanakie has only been developed into dairying country since the 1950's... Prior to development, Yanakie (also called the Yanakie Common) was open heathy plains with the 'Red Swamp', 'White Swamp and 'Black Swamps', supporting vast birdlife including the black swans and brolgas. It is interesting to note that very few of these original Koori (aboriginal) parish names exist on the National Park today…
Since the time of European discovery, exploitation has vastly changed some of the land and the surrounding sea. One record of the extent of this is the impact on seal numbers - in 1804 the American ship 'Union' obtained 600,000 seal skins - today we have nowhere near this number in the whole of the southern Australian waters. When this industry collapsed they turned their attention towards harvesting the oil of muttonbirds (short-tailed Shearwaters), and whaling. (Local timber was used for fuel to boil down the blubber) A timber mill was set up in Sealers Cove in 1849, but lasted only until 1858, when presumably all the accessible tall timber had been removed. (A revival of the timber milling occurred again between 1903 to 1906, with a small town comprising 16 buildings, a boarding house and a community hall existed). Pastoral leases were granted from approximately 1851 onward in Sealers Cove and the Yanakie region, with varied successes.
Find these interesting facts and more on the Victorian State Government at:
Vic Case Law
Supreme Court of Victoria - Court of Appeal Decisions 1997-1998
Supreme Court of Victoria - Court of Appeal Decisions 1998-
Supreme Court of Victoria Decisions 1998-
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Decisions 1998-
The town of Dunolly celebrates its historical origins during the Dunolly Gold Rush weekend each year. And so it should, being the district which has turned up more nuggets in its time than any field in Australia. A visit coinciding with these events is an experience
Although the town of Maryborough owes its origin to gold found at White Hills, Four Mile Flat and the Maryborough Diggings, today it stands as a substantial manufacturing community. The town's historical railway station is said to have prompted visitor, Mark Twain, to observe "Maryborough (is) a railway station with a town attached". You'll understand why when you're here. The equally handsome courthouse, town hall and post office are grouped around Civic Square and date from the town's days as a goldfields administration centre.
Wangaratta is a visitor's haven from which to enjoy the delights of the region. Explore over 26 local wineries, the extensive Ovens, Murray River and Lake systems, the Warby Ranges. Discover the haunts of the infamous Kelly gang and the fascinating history of the gold rush days. Wangaratta. heart of the North East is home to Airworld Aviation Museum, The House in Miniature, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and the Country Music Festival.