Wangaratta: An Eclectic Adventure
In the north of Victoria just 235 km from Melbourne, Wangaratta is a bustling town with a population of 17 000. Surrounded by fertile fields and rugged mountains, Wangaratta lies within a diverse and always eye-catching landscape. Head to the hills for winter skiing or bushwalking and bird watching in the warmer months. Discover the fine local produce at nearby wineries and cheesemakers. Or wander Wangaratta’s historic streets to discover the unique charms of this picturesque destination.
Wangaratta boasts a wide tree-lined main avenue, with several historic buildings. Fossick through craft and antique stores, or enjoy a meal at one of several great cafes and restaurants. Rinaldo's Casa Cucina is a local favourite with its rustic dining room and rich Italian flavours. You’ll also discover parks and gardens, ideal for an afternoon picnic. History and culture buffs might head to the Wangaratta Museum to unearth local artefacts and the museum’s collection of over 1 000 historic photographs. Or browse through the permanent displays at the Wangaratta Art Gallery. There are plenty of facilities in town, with accommodation options including character cottages, apartments and even nearby farm-stays.
Wangaratta is in prime wine country with an abundance of local vineyards making it an ideal spot for a wine tour. The Milawa and King Valleys boast award-winning Australian labels such as Brown Brothers, and wineries that have been in the same families for generations. Visit cellar doors to discover full-bodied reds, crisp whites and fabulous family hospitality. There’s a rich Italian heritage in the Milawa and King Valleys so you’ll encounter Italian varietals like prosecco, sangiovese, pinot grigio and nebbiolo.
Keep the Italian flavours flowing at the La Dolce Vita festival in November when wineries open their doors in celebration of the first burst of spring flowers. Visiting in winter? Then be sure to enjoy a touch of royalty at the Weekend Fit For A King, a King Valley wine festival celebrated on the Queen’s birthday long weekend in June.
The region is also dotted with small fresh food producers. Stop at any number of historic villages for a coffee or lunch. Or cycle door-to-door between local producers to discover cheeses, olives, nuts, mustards and other mouth-watering delicacies.
Wangaratta has a packed calendar of cultural festivals and events. The Stitched Up Textile Festival held in June and July each year showcases the work of both local and visiting textile artists. The town’s biggest event is the annual Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. Pull up a pew and enjoy the best of Australian music at several venues in town and at nearby wineries.
Wangaratta marks the starting point of The Great Alpine Road. The 76 km leg between Wangaratta and Bright will take you through the Ovens River Valley and past stunning terrain including undulating lush, green hills.
Wangaratta is an ideal spot to discover the wonderful food and wines, diverse landscapes and fascinating heritage of northern Victoria. For those looking for a diverse escape, Wangaratta just might hit all the right notes.