Myrtleford (including Eurobin)
Pleasant rural centre on the northern road to
Bright and Mt Buffalo.
Myrtleford is an agricultural town of some 3500
people located 223 m above sea-level on the
Great Alpine Rd between Wangaratta and Bright.
It is scenically located in the foothills of the
Mt Buffalo Range, adjacent the Ovens River,
Happy Valley Creek and Barwidgee Creek. As a
result of its location it serves as a gateway to
Mt Buffalo National Park and its associated
skiing resorts with daily coach services
departing daily. Myrtleford is 273 km north-east
of Melbourne via the Hume Freeway.
The local district is the largest producer of
hops in the country and it also possesses the
country's largest stand of walnut trees.
Historically, timber and tobacco have proven
central to the town and it is still possible to
see some of tobacco kilns from the Great Alpine
Rd. Grapes, asparagus, mint, chestnuts and wine
are also produced.
Prior to European settlement the area was
occupied by the Dhudoroa Aborigines. The first
white people in the Ovens Valley were the
pastoralists who arrived in 1837-38. John Hillas
built huts and stockyards on the banks of Myrtle
Creek in 1837, near the present Myrtleford
Prospectors appeared when gold was discovered
in the early 1850s and the settlement of
Myrtleford began to emerge as a camping place
around a ford at Myrtle Creek which was used by
the Beechworth miners. The creek was named after
the myrtle trees growing there but has since
been renamed Barwidgee Creek.
The first localised mining rush occurred
along Happy Valley Creek in 1856 with reef
mining soon commencing at Gapstead. The town was
surveyed and named in 1859.
Myrtleford survived the decline of goldmining
due to the early establishment of hop and
tobacco production. Chinese settlers, the Pan
Look family, were, for many years, the largest
growers. The 1930s and 1940s were hard times for
the town but, after World War II, new methods
and strains of tobacco were introduced and a
Tobacco Research Station was established.
Southern European migrants also settled in the
area in the postwar years, involving themselves
in the tobacco, hops and walnut industries.
The Tobacco, Timber and Hops Festival is held
on the Labor Day long weekend in March and, in
October, the Myrtleford Show is held annually
and the International Festival biennially. The
Golden Spur Rodeo is a major local event that
has been held on Boxing Day since 1954 and a
major market day sees the streets blocked off on
the first Friday in January.
Things to see:
The Ponderosa Cabin, a log cabin in Clyde St, is
the local information centre. It also has
souvenirs as well as hops, tobacco and timber
displays (and a drapery and hairdresser's!) and
it is generally open every day but Sunday, tel:
(03) 5752 1727. Nearby, at Clyde and Standish
Sts, is the Myrtleford Hotel which dates from
the late 19th century.
The Phoenix Tree
Located adjacent the Great Alpine Rd at the
Wangaratta end of town, the Phoenix tree is a
massive sculpture carved out of the trunk and
roots of a red gum by noted sculptor Hans Knorr.
A signboard explains its significance as a
tribute to the town.
Opposite the Phoenix Tree are the
recently-established Michelini's Wines. They are
open for tastings daily, tel: (03) 5751 1990.
Head south-east along the Great Alpine Rd to
Ovens (5 km) where there is a signposted turnoff
on the left. 4 km along this road to
Mount Beauty is Rosewhite Vineyards (in
Happy Valley Road) which was established in
1983. It produces cabernet sauvignon, traminer,
chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz and old tawny
port. It is open weekends and public holidays
from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. except in January
when it is open every day, tel: (03) 5752 1077.
Old School Museum
The Old School Museum contains a collection of
material pertaining to local history. It is
located in the old Myrtleford school in Elgin St
and is open from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. on
Sundays. Otherwise just pull into town and ring
the number posted on the door.
Elgin St is also the starting point of the
walking track to the lookout at Reform Hill. By
car you can follow Halls Rd then turn right into
Scenic Drive. You will eventually reach a
T-intersection. A left leads to the Reform Hill
lookout and a right to Tower Hill Lookout.
The town has a number of delightful picnic
spots, such as the banks of Happy Valley Creek
in Jubilee Park, adjacent the highway and
opposite the post office in the centre of town.
There are picnic facilities. It is pleasant to
walk from the swing bridge on the western side
of the park along the banks of the creek.
There is also a pleasant swimming hole
further south along Standish St, at Nimmo Bridge
which spans the Ovens River. There is a camping
Rotary Park is located on the western
outskirts of town, opposite the Savoy Club, on
the Great Alpine Rd. Cundy Park is at the corner
of O'Donnell Ave and Standish St.
|The giant Red
In Smith St you will find a giant old red gum
which is 18 m tall and 8 m in circumference with
a 27-m spread.
Ovens Valley State Forests
There are large tracts of bush and forest in the
area which are popular with 4WD drivers.. They
are generally closed until late November. Ring
the local office of the Department of Natural
Resources and Environment for maps and advice.
They are located in McGeehan Crescent, tel: (03)
Deer, Emu and Ostrich Farm
The Snow Lion Red Deer Stud, Emu Farm and
Restaurant is located 15 km south-east along the
Great Alpine Rd at Eurobin. It is open daily
from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Other times are
possible but only for large groups and only by
prior arrangement. Visitors can wander around
and observe the deer, ostriches, emus and other
farm animals. Driving tours into the local
forest are sometimes run, but only for large
groups and only if staff numbers are sufficient
and the weather is fine, tel: (03) 5756 2365.
Horse and Dingo Stud
The Nug Nug Quarter Horse and Dingo Stud is 16
km south on Buffalo River Rd. It is only open
for large groups, tel: (03) 5754 2209.
Fishing and watersports are popular at Lake
Buffalo, 24 km south via Buffalo River Rd which
heads off the Great Alpine Rd. There are no
facilities other than a toilet block and wood
barbecues. Fishing is also popular on the Ovens
and Buffalo Rivers, Rose River and Barwidgee