Things To Do In Wangaratta
Wangaratta is a busy regional center, which is also home to 17,000 people. While being an attractive tourist destination, the region is flanked by a more geographically scenic and diverse Victoria, offering a desirable lifestyle to the residents.
With Albury-Wodonga 72 km to the northeast and Benalla 45 km on the southwest, Wangaratta is situated at about 230 km from Melbourne along the Hume Highway at the intersection of the Ovens and the Kings rivers. Wangaratta is also the nearest town to Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, which are three main snowfields of Victoria.
The rich agricultural areas around Wangaratta produce high quality wines, making this place a paradise for lovers of wine and food! Nearby Mt Hotham, Mt Buffalo and Falls Creek are a delight for the skiers, and in summer, they offer an appropriate environment for fishing, bushwalking, cycling, camping or four wheel driving.
Home of the famous Blues and Jazz festival, which is one of the oldest agricultural shows in Australia, its proximity to King Valley and Milawa attracts visitors from all over the world.
What are the major attractions?
1. Wangaratta Common
Wangaratta common, which was once used as the aerodrome, is now a public grassland reserve. Today Wangaratta common is mainly grassland carrying more than 96 species of plants. The Diuris punctata, which is considered as an endangered plant species in Victoria, is abundantly found here. Prior to being approved for use as an airport, the area was probably open box woodland. Today, when you walk around there are a number of burnt tree trunks making the land very uneven, so be careful.
2. Apex Park Wangaratta
Next to the Ovens River, the Apex Park is easily accessible from the city center. This is large grassland that is designed into a park, making it an excellent place for a day out or a family get together. The place is well equipped with picnic tables, play areas, BBQ’s and tourist information boards.
3. Weekend Fit for the King
Annual winter wine and food fest of the King Valley is known as Weekend Fit for the King. This celebration is traditionally held on the Queen’s Birthday weekend. The festival features delicious Mediterranean cuisine, fine wines, great hospitality and perfect entertainment, which the King Valley is famous for.
4. Warby-Ovens National Park
Warby Ranges is just a short distance from Wangaratta covering more than 14,655 hectares of Australia’s bushland. Officially called Warby-Ovens National Park, this protected area features various habitats and plants, including Redgum and Box-Ironbark.
There are a number of places to picnic like Pine Gully, The Forest Camp, Briens Gorge falls and the Ryan’s Lookout. Most of these places have picnic tables arranged. There are good opportunities for fishing and places for camping, hiking and biking.
5. Wangaratta Speedway
Each year, the Speedway in Wangaratta hosts events for different vehicle classes. The place attracts various vehicles, many of which have also competed at the national level. Here are some of the most popular races held at Wangaratta Speedway:
Production Sedans and Victorian Sports Sedans
- 1200 Juniors
- Standard Ladies
- Standard Juniors
- Standard Saloons
- GP Midgets
6. Sydney beach
Situated on the northern end of the Oven’s Street, Sydney Beach is a highly shaded area located on the curve of the ovens river. There is a good amount of car parking available here. Additionally, it is only a short distance from a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river and takes you to the site of original Wangaratta Punt. It can be worth noting that Sydney Beach is a low laying area that is prone to flooding after heavy rain.
7. Merriwa Park
Off the Ryley street, Merriwa park is located at the short distance from the center of Wangaratta. The gardens are situated below the street level offering a cool retreat from the central Wangaratta. There are majestic gum trees, large grassy expanses, play equipment for children, BBQ’s, restrooms and a fernery.
8. Wangaratta Show
Wangaratta show is amongst the oldest agricultural shows in Australia. Every year it attracts people from all over the state wanting to display animals and share the knowhow of the local environment. Visitors can expect to see various animals, including sheep, cattle, horses, alpacas and poultry. There are also variety of competitions held in this show. Here are some of the major competitions you can expect to see at the Wangaratta show:
- Arts and Crafts
9. Kaluna Park
Located at a distance of just 300 meters from Wangaratta post office, Kaluna Park covers approximately 3.7 hectares of land. Kaluna Park adjoins Merriwa Park, which in itself is a nice grassy area popular with both locals and tourists.
The restoration of Kaluna Park was a project led by a group named Wangaratta Urban Landcare. They have been successful in removing unwanted plants like hawthorn, privet, honeysuckle, Blackberry, as well as many other smaller weeds.
10. Frank Garth Reserve
Located just next to Apex Park, Frank Garth Reserve can easily be accessed via an under bridge. This is a small reserve that is named after the late Frank Garth for his efficient handling of the King and Ovens rivers.
Vehicles can access this reserve at the north end of the Major Mitchell Bridge following the short dirt path leading to the convergence point of the King and Oven rivers. The high red gum trees keep this area well shaded, making it a popular place for travelers to stop for lunch or to organize their equipment. Fishing is a popular sport here; however, there is a high likelihood of catching European carp, which must be released.
11. Wangaratta Swap Meet
Every year in the month of April, Wangaratta’s Loins club hosts the Swap Meet. The day features more than 500 sites dedicated to selling parts of truck, motorcycle and cars. Swap meet, which was first held in April 2000, attracts more than 5,000 visitors to this place. It is the third largest market in Victoria and is ranked among the top ten in Australia.
Wangaratta is a city that is warm and welcoming. Its hospitality, range of attractions, events and the surroundings make it a highly popular tourist hub among those willing to explore the region. Time your holiday with one of the many events and festivals that happen here. The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, which is held for three days and four nights in hotels, concert halls and the nearby vineyards, is probably the biggest jazz events of Australia.