Overview

Duration: Three days, two nights
Route: Melbourne round trip via Beechworth and Mansfield.
Total distance: Approximately 650 kilometres
Drive time: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Tour Kelly country and visit the places where a great Australian 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
    Distance: 300 kilometres, 3 hours, 35 minutes

    Head north out of Melbourne on the Hume Highway to the town 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. Look for the Beveridge exit, then turn right under the freeway. Turn right into Stewart Street until you arrive at Kelly Street. The house is in disrepair and fenced off.

    Back onto the Hume Highway, continue on to Avenel. Ned Kelly registered his father's death in this town, and John 'Red' Kelly is buried in the local cemetery. Exit the highway, then turn right at the school and continue 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.

    Further along the Hume Highway in Euroa, Kelly and his gang held up the National Bank, getting away with £2000 and taking the bank staff hostage. The bank building no longer stands, but this pleasant town is a good place for a stop.

    Continue 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 fellow bushranger Joe Byrne's body.

    Walk across the Broken River Bridge to the Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum, where you can stand in the portable cell that once held Ned Kelly, and see the bloodstained sash, which he wore under his famous armour during his final capture.

    Glenrowan, a 25-minute drive further along the Hume Highway, is a focal point for anyone interested in the Kelly legend. 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.

    About 15 kilometres from Glenrowan is the rural area of Greta, where Ned lived with his family on Fifteen Mile Creek, from the age of 12, after his father died.

    Spend the night in the historic town of Beechworth, a 45-minute drive north east from here. Take the Great Alpine Road exit off the Hume Highway, and from Tarrawingee, the C315 on to Beechworth.

  • Route: Beechworth to Mansfield via the King Valley
    Distance:150 kilometres, about 2 hours

    Spend the morning exploring the incredibly well preserved 1852 gold rush town of Beechworth, with its wide choice of accommodation, excellent local restaurants, craft breweries and cafes offering great seasonal menus, fine local wines and house-roasted coffee.

    A visit to the Historic & Cultural Precinct is a must. This National Trust listed collection of gold era government buildings has close links with the Kelly story, including the courthouse where he, his mother and many sympathisers stood in the dock. Check Beechworth’s Burke Museum & Historic Precinct page for information on Ned Kelly tours. The Burke Museum has a number of Kelly artefacts including his death mask. You can also join a tour of the Old Beechworth Gaol where Ned and his mother spent time locked up. Finish your visit there with a coffee and cake in the courtyard.

    Drive to Mansfield via the picturesque wine region of the King Valley, famous as Australia's heartland of Prosecco and other Italian varietals. The area was once young Ned's stomping ground.

    Call into the cellar doors along the way before lunch at the excellent Whitfield Mountain View Hotel. Continue on to Powers Lookout via the Mansfield-Whitfield Road, turning off to the left, 16.5 kilometres along the road. Once the mountain hideout of bushranger Harry Powers - Ned Kelly's bushranger mentor - the views from here are stunning.

    Further along, at Tolmie, turn right on the road to Tatong to visit Stringybark Creek Reserve. Here Ned Kelly went from petty horse thief to Australia's most wanted outlaw, when he shot three Mansfield police officers. A plaque in the trunk of the enormous 'Kelly Tree' marks what is believed to be the spot of his crime.

    Continue to Mansfield where you can choose from many accommodation options and some great places to eat, drink and explore.

  • Route: Mansfield to Melbourne
    Distance: 190 kilometres, 2 hours, 30 mins

    Mansfield is the gateway to Mt Buller and Mt Stirling alpine resorts, as well as the summer playground of Lake Eildon.

    Head to All Terrain Cycles to hire bikes to explore Victoria’s longest rail trail, at 134km, the Great Victorian Rail Trail which cuts a swathe through beautiful valley scenery.

    Mansfield is also the site of the graves of and a large public memorial to the policemen, Sergeant Michael Kennedy and Mounted Constables Scanlon and Lonigan, shot by Kelly and his Gang.

    From Mansfield, head west via Yea, and the Maroondah Highway back to Melbourne.

    Explore more Kelly history in Melbourne's city centre. 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 is on view to the public.