Victoria is full of hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered. So, whenever we get a chance, we head out of the big smoke to drive through our beautiful countryside. On long weekends, we venture out a little further. On our most recent Australia day long weekend, we rented an Airbnb in Taminick, near Glenrowan. We hadn’t spent much time in this part of the state before, and we were keen to explore it.
Glenrowan is three hours drive north of Melbourne. Once out of the city, it’s an easy enough drive, taking the Hume highway for most of the way up there. At the moment, the countryside along the way is very dry but also very pretty. It’s always nice to escape the concrete jungle.
This area of North-East Victoria has lots to offer, history, wine, delicious local produce, stunning scenery and even art trails!
Learn about Ned Kelly and his gang
Have you heard of the famous Australian Bushranger, Ned Kelly? Well, Glenrowan was the site of his last stand. On the 28th of June 1880, he was captured after trying to derail a police train.
If you aren’t sure who Ned Kelly was, he was a famous Australian bushranger. Together with his gang, he was wanted for murder, robbery, and cattle and horse theft.
In Glenrowan, you can learn about the history of the Kelly Gang. Visit the small museum, which is full of interesting facts about Ned Kelly and his family. The museum includes a replica of his family home which you’ll find at the back of the museum, outside in the small garden. The entry is $10 per adult and $1 per child.
Of course, since Australia loves its “big” icons, you’ll also find the famous “Big Ned” standing tall in front of the post office. It’s an obligatory photo stop of course!
Follow the Silo Art Trail
Starting in the small town of Benalla, twenty minutes away from Glenrowan, the Silo Art Trail is relatively new to the region. The trail takes you through the countryside in search of old grain silos that have been painted with murals by street artists. It’s like a big open-air art gallery! If you love street art and also enjoy driving through the countryside, you will love this trail. It takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Be sure to stop in Benalla to check out the many more murals that are scattered around the town centre.
Visit the Winton Wetlands
The Winton Wetlands cover 8,750 hectares with wetlands, red gum trees and box grassy woodland. It’s home to a huge variety of flora and fauna, including over 180 species of birds. Unfortunately, this part of Australia is in drought at the moment and when we visited, there was barely any water. But we still thought it was worth the visit.
The scenery is spectacular, even in a drought, so I’m guessing it’s pretty amazing when it’s full of water. You can walk along the many paths or cycle along the bike trails; or, you can simply drive to the main sites.
Follow the Prosecco Road through the King Valley
Do you love Prosecco? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The King Valley is home to many wineries, with five of them (Brown Brothers, Sam Miranda, Dal Zhotto, Pizzini and Chrismont) producing some lovely Prosecco. At each of them, you can taste some of your favourite sparkling drink. The Prosecco Road begins fifteen minutes outside of Glenrowan.
Go wine tasting
But it’s not just about Prosecco. The King Valley and the Glenrowan wine region produce all kinds of wines and you’d be crazy not to do some tasting while you’re there. With 33 wineries in the King Valley and 5 wineries in the Glenrowan wine region, you’ll need to choose carefully if all you have is a weekend to spare.
Some suggested additional wineries are: Taminick Cellar, Baileys of Glenrowan, Wood Park Wines, John Gehrig Wines, Gracebrook Vineyards, Politini, La Cantina, Red Feet Wines and King River Estate.
Go beer and gin tasting
It’s not just about the wine, there are beer and gin to taste as well! Head to the Black Dog Brewery for a beer tasting paddle and make sure to try their ginger beer, my personal favourite.
Don’t forget to say hi to Milo, their puppy Hungarian Vizsla. No, he isn’t black but he’s still in charge of the place and he’s super cute and friendly too! Taminick Cellar and Black Dog Brewery have their tasting in the same place so kill two birds with one stone and do some wine tasting while you’re there.
When it comes to gin, head to Hurdle Creek Still for some locally crafted gin, produced onsite in Milawa. The tasting is informative and costs $7 per person, redeemable with a purchase. They also sell a great selection of gourmet tonic water, so grab some to go with a bottle of gin because let’s face it, there’s nothing better than a Gin and Tonic on a hot summers day.
Now for the cheese tasting
Yes, there is a lot of tasting to do in this part of the state! If you love cheese, head to the Milawa Cheese Factory. They have a dozen cheeses for tasting, some with goats’ milk and some with cows’ milk.
You are given a card that you can mark the cheeses you love on. At the end of it, you can buy some to take home. They also have selections of cured meats, dips, olives, oils, crackers and freshly made bread. It’s perfect for making your platter for dinner, to be enjoyed with a bottle of local wine.
Enjoy lunch at one of the many wineries
Several wineries in the area have a restaurant. There’s nothing I love more than lunch at a winery. Amazing, locally-grown food and wine; what’s not to love? We had lunch in Chrismont at the end of the Prosecco Road. The lunch was delicious and the views from their restaurant are worth the detour.
If you prefer something more casual, try the wine bar at Brown Brothers or the Trattoria at Dal Zhotto.
Where to stay?
We stayed at the cottage of Taminick Cellars in Taminick. This cottage offers sunset views over the vines and has its cellar door and brewery (Black Dog Brewery) right next door. The cottage is very well equipped and, if you love wine and beer, you can’t beat the location!
More accommodation around the area
Lancemore Milawa: Lancemore Milawa is a boutique hotel located in the Milawa wine region next door to Brown Brothers. All of the luxurious rooms have a view of the vineyards or the gardens. Their on-site restaurant Lindenwarrah serves fresh local produce straight from the farm and wine straight from the cellar. There is a pool on-site. Find the latest prices here.
If none of those take your fancy, we recommend checking out HotelsCombined where you can search across all the major accommodation websites.
There is so much more to do in this part of Victoria, but you might struggle to see it all if you only spend a weekend there. If you have time, take a week or two. There are plenty of other lovely places nearby to visit, such as Beechworth, Myrtleford, Bright, Mount Buffalo National Park and more. Our state has so much to offer; all you need is the time.