Ned Kelly Touring Route
Duration: Two days
Route taken: Round trip from Melbourne stopping at Beveridge, Benalla, Glenrowan, Beechworth, Greta, Powers Lookout, and Mansfield
Total distance: Approximately 458km
Driving time: 6 hours
Tour Kelly country and visit the places where Australia's greatest folk tale was lived and fought. Along the way discover northeast Victoria, a favourite destination for lovers of food wine and beautiful scenery.
Route: Melbourne to Beechworth, stopping in Beveridge, Avenel, Euroa, Benalla and Glenrowan
Distance: 286 kilometres
Melbourne to Beveridge: Head north out of Melbourne and travel 42 kilometres along the Hume Highway to the township of Beveridge, where Ned Kelly was born in 1854. The house that the Kelly family called home between 1850 and 1860 still stands on Kelly Street. Take the Beveridge exit, then turn right under the freeway. Turn right into Stewart Street until you come to Kelly Street. The house is in disrepair and fenced off.
Beveridge to Avenel: Back onto the Hume Highway, continue 82 kilometres to Avenel. Ned Kelly registered his father's death in this town, and John 'Red' Kelly is buried in the local cemetery. Exit the Hume, then turn right at the school and continue along past the war memorial to the town cemetery. The headstone is not the original and it is thought that Red was buried a few metres away.
Avenel to Euroa: In Euroa, 38 kilometres further along the Hume Highway, Kelly and his gang held up the National Bank, getting away with 2000 pounds and taking the bank staff hostage. The bank building no longer stands, but this pleasant town is a good place for a stop.
Euroa to Benalla: Continue a further 49 kilometres to Benalla. View the plaque on Arundel Street that describes how young Ned was charged with drunkenness and riding his horse on the footpath. He eventually gave himself up to the police and was marched across the road to the Benalla Courthouse, which is still in use.
Call in to the Benalla Regional Art Gallery to see Glenrowan, the Sidney Nolan tapestry depicting the Kelly Gang's capture, and Albert Tucker's painting depicting Joe Byrne's body, which was tied up for the press to photograph after his death.
Walk across the Broken River Bridge to the Costume and Pioneer Museum, where you can stand in the portable cell that once held Ned Kelly, and see his bloodstained sash, which he wore under his famous armour during his final capture.
Benalla to Glenrowan: Glenrowan is a focal point for anyone interested in the Kelly legend and a further 25 kilometres down the road. In 1880 Ned Kelly was captured at the Glenrowan Inn after a bloody battle, bringing his bushranging days to an end. Kate's Cottage museum and the multi-media Kellyland tell the story of Ned's life and battles.
Glenrowan to Beechworth: From Glenrowan, turn right into the Great Alpine Road, and enjoy a 50-kilometre drive to the charming 1852 goldrush town of Beechworth. Here you can visit the courthouse where Ned Kelly, his mother and many sympathisers were tried and watch a re-enactment of the Ned Kelly trial. (For details call the Beechworth Historic Courthouse on 03 5728 8066).
View the exterior of the Beechworth Gaol where Ned and his mother were held and learn about the history of Beechworth's colourful past at the Historical and Cultural Precinct which includes the Courthouse, Telegraph Station, the Powder Magazine and Burke Museum, where a Ned Kelly death mask is on display. Beechworth offers visitors a wide choice of accommodation and gourmet local product served at local restaurants, making it the perfect place to spend the night.
Route: Beechworth to Melbourne, via Greta, King Valley, Powers Lookout, Stringybark Creek, and Mansfield
Distance: 172 kilometres
Beechworth to Greta: Greta (pronounced 'Greeta') is a 45-kilometre drive via Wangaratta through bush where Ned and his infamous gang roamed. Call into the Greta Cemetery to inspect the graves of several of the Kelly family, including Ned's mother, Ellen.
Greta to Powers Lookout: Allow time to explore the picturesque King Valley, young Ned's stomping ground. Stop at the Whitfield Mountain View Hotel (43 kilometres from Greta) for lunch before driving to Powers Lookout. The mountain ranges are spectacular and the lookout, a challenging 10-minute walk, is the awe-inspiring vantage point and mountain hideout of bushranger Harry Powers, who was Kelly's bushranging mentor. To reach Powers Lookout, take the Mansfield-Whitfield Road. You'll see the turn off to the left 16.5 kilometres along the road.
Powers Lookout to Mansfield: Continue your journey along the Mansfield-Whitfield Road, and at Tolmie turn right into the road to Tatong to visit the Stringybark Creek Reserve where Ned Kelly elevated himself from being a petty horse thief to Australia's most wanted outlaw after gunning down three Mansfield police officers. A plaque in the trunk of the enormous Kelly Tree marks what is believed to be the spot (Greta to Mansfield is 88 kilometres).
Mansfield to Melbourne: Mansfield is the gateway to the ski fields, and the site of the graves of the policemen shot by Kelly and his Gang: Sergeant Michael Kennedy and Mounted Constables Scanlon and Lonigan. It's a great place to spend the night, with a range of accommodation offered including guesthouses, caravan parks and B&B cottages. Follow the Maroondah Highway back to Melbourne, 180 kilometres away.
Melbourne boasts a number of places where Kelly history can be explored. Visit the Old Melbourne Gaol on Russell Street, a chilling bluestone building and the scene of 135 hangings, including that of Ned Kelly on 11 November 1880. The Hangman's Box with all its macabre contents is on view to the public.