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.Art galleriesBenalla Art GalleryExperience a diverse exhibition program of Australian art spanning 200 years, including outstanding examples of contemporary and Indigenous work.DestinationsEuroaImmerse yourself in local history, majestic buildings and stunning landscapes in this charming heritage town at the base of the Strathbogie Ranges.MuseumsBenalla Costume and Kelly MuseumThe Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum is an accredited museum specialising in Ned Kelly sash and stories, Costume displays dating back to 1750, Benalla...History & heritageAvenel CemeterySteeped in history, visit the many graves scattered around the Avenel Cemetery. Of important note here is the grave of John 'Red' Kelly, the father of...Heritage buildingsHistoric Hughes Creek BridgeHughes Creek was named after the first settler in Avenel, for many years it was a popular overnight stop for drovers. The bridge was built in 1859 by contractor...DestinationsBenallaDiscover the historic rose garden in Benalla and see internationally renowned artworks at a regional gallery that punches well above its weight.
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.History & heritageBeechworth Historic and Cultural PrecinctThe Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct is a collection of nationally significant buildings telling the story of how Australia grew and prospered.Beechworth...Heritage buildingsOld Beechworth GaolThe Old Beechworth Gaol is one of Australia’s most significant post European cultural sites. Its role in the chain of events that led to the execution...Tour operatorBeechworth Historic Walking ToursBeechworth stands as one of the best living examples of how our nation grew and prospered with over 30 buildings listed with the National Trust. The best...DestinationsBeechworthExperience Beechworth's burgeoning food and wine scene, and take the time to discover the town's rich gold rush history and Ned Kelly connections.Wine regionsKing Valley wine regionKnock on a King Valley cellar door and meet generations of winemaking families offering tastings of their groundbreaking Italian varietals.
High Country wine regionsWine regionsAlpine Valleys wine regionFrom shiraz to sauvignon vert, discover more than 30 different grape varieties at picturesque wineries in the Alpine Valleys wine region.Wine regionsBeechworth wine regionHead to the Beechworth wine region in the High Country and taste the remarkable chardonnay and pinot noir produced by local winemakers.Wine regionsGlenrowan wine regionHead to Kelly country and taste the history in the spectacular shiraz and fortified wines produced by Glenrowan's century-old wineries.Goulburn Valley wine regionGoulburn Valley wine regionTake a trip to the sprawling Goulburn Valley wine region, an area stretching from Seymour in central Victoria right up to Echuca on the Murray River.Wine regionsKing Valley wine regionKnock on a King Valley cellar door and meet generations of winemaking families offering tastings of their groundbreaking Italian varietals.Wine regionsRutherglen wine regionSpend a few days in and around Rutherglen exploring the 21 cellar doors in close proximity. Sample the iconic fortifieds and a new breed of wines.Wine regionsStrathbogie Ranges wine regionGet introduced to the many delights of the region at a winery dedicated to pouring the best of the Strathbogie Ranges into your glass.
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.DestinationsMansfieldGet on your high horse in Mansfield, home of Victoria's traditional cattlemen, before dismounting for local rieslings and sparkling wine.Tour operatorAll Terrain CyclesSeek your cycling adventure, ride your adventure, live in the moment. With stores located in the heart of the Victorian High Country in Mansfield, Mt Buller...DestinationsYeaTake a leisurely stroll among historic buildings, stop for pot in a proper country pub, and explore diverse aquatic life at floodplain wetlands.