Lovely town in the King River Valley
Whitfield is a very pretty and very small town
situated in a dairying and tobacco growing
district in the highly scenic King River Valley
where lush river flats are surrounded by some
magnificent high country. Wine is the main
produce of the valley, along with gourmet foods,
apples and berries.
Whitfield is located 245 km north-east of
Melbourne, 60 km north-east of Mansfield and 50
km south of Wangaratta. It has a general store
cum post office, a vehicle repair service, two
caravan parks, public toilets and the attractive
Mountain View Hotel which is situated by the
intersection of the roads to Wangaratta,
Cheshunt and Mansfield. It has a restaurant and
a beer garden. Just south of the hotel is a
scenic nine-hole golf club.
The state's first narrow-gauge railway from
Wangaratta to Whitfield was once the main form
of transportation into the valley and the former
station signs remain at locations such as
Docker, Byrne, Angleside and Claremont.
Bushranger Harry Powers once operated in the
area in the 1860s and, in 1869, formed an
association with a 13-year-old Ned Kelly. As a
result Kelly was arrested and held in custody
for seven weeks as a suspected accomplice but
the charge was dismissed. Power was captured in
1870 and sentenced to 15 years at Pentridge
At a later date, when Kelly was a wanted man,
he allegedly rode his horse down the hallway of
the Mountain View Hotel which is still in
existence. More solidly, it is known that Dan
'Mad Dog' Morgan stole a horse from the Evans
station at Whitfield in 1860. Pursued by Mr Evan
Evans and a Mr Bond he was fired upon and hit
with buckshot. He returned to the station on
April 6, 1865 and set fire to some haystacks
and, when the people from the property appeared,
Morgan held them up. He asked for Evans who,
fortunately for him, was absent. Morgan
explained he wished to see Evans and Bond as a
result of the previous incident. After eating,
Morgan departed with the police soon in pursuit.
He was killed three days later.
The King Valley Virgin Wine, Food and Arts
Festival is held at Whitfield each November,
starting, in 1999, on November 19. It features
the 'Shed Show' where over 80 wines made from
King Valley grapes are available for tasting and
judging by the public, culminating in a dinner
when the winners are announced. The art and
woodworking exhibition offers $3500 in prize
money and there are wine and food stalls,
performing arts events, artisan displays,
petanque competitions, paddock to plate
displays, children's activities, free
entertainment and a quality craft market.
Things to see:
NORTH OF WHITFIELD
Wineries of the Whitfield Rd
The Avalon Vineyard, established in 1981, is
located 4 km north of Whitfield on the Whitfield
Rd which joins Whitfield to Wangaratta in the
north. It is a small vineyard with views of Mt
Buffalo. Avalon produces cabernet sauvignon,
semillon, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir methode
champenoise, shiraz, pinot noir and chardonnay.
It is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.,
tel: (03) 5729 3629.
La Cantina Winery is about 6 km north of
Whitfield on the Whitfield Road. They produce
red and white, preservative free, table wines
made on the premises. Tastings are conducted in
a traditional Tuscany style stone building. The
winery is open seven days a week from
10.00am-5.00pm and 10.00am-6.00pm during
daylight saving. It is closed on Christmas Day,
tel: (03) 5729 3615.
King River Estate Wines are also located on
the Whitfield Rd at Edi, 14 km north of
Whitfield, tel: (03) 5729 3689. Accommodation is
also available here.
Newton's Organic Prickleberry Farm
At Newton's Organic Prickleberry Farm frozen
berries and berry jams are available all year
round and fresh berries can be obtained from
November to April.
To get there, follow the Whitfield Rd north
from the Mountain View Hotel for just 1 km then
turn right into Gentle Annie Lane. Just along
this road, on the eastern side of the King River
is the Gentle Annie Caravan Park and on the
western side is the farm.
There are no set opening hours but if the
sign is out the front they are open for
business. If you are making a special trip it is
best to ring first, tel: (03) 5729 8272.
Black Range Trout Farm
If you follow Gentle Annie Lane to its end (it
is only 1 km long) you will reach a
T-intersection with the Cheshunt to Edi Back
Road. Turn left and then, after 2 km, turn right
into the road to Mt Emu. The Black Range Trout
Farm is about 12 km along here in a picturesque
valley between the Black Range and Mt Emu. You
can catch your own fish (rods and bait are
supplied) or buy some smoked trout or trout
pate, tel: (03) 5729 3508.
Moyhu is a small settlement located 23 km north
of town on the Whitfield Rd. It features a
general store, caravan park, a hotel offering
accommodation, counter meals and local wines.
Bar-W-Trail Rides and Outfitters can arrange
trail rides, hunting and fishing trips of any
duration. They also offer a 4WD guiding service
for those who prefer their own vehicle. They are
located near Myrrhee 16 km north-west of
Whitfield, tel: (03) 5729 7576.
SOUTH OF WHITFIELD
Wineries of the Cheshunt Rd
Lana-Trento Vineyard and Winery is 1.8 km south
of the Mountain View Hotel on the road to
Cheshunt. Producing sangiovese, nebbiolo,
sauvay, riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon
blanc, it is open from midday to 4.00 p.m.
daily, tel: (03) 5729 8278.
3 km from Whitfield, on the road to Cheshunt,
is Darling Estate. They produce chenin blanc,
gamay, pinot noir, chardonnay, cabernet
sauvignon, cabernet franc and shiraz and are
open by appointment, tel: (03) 5729 8396.
Cheshunt is a lovely little hamlet located 4 km
south of Whitfield on the King River. The
village has an all-purpose general store for
Dal Zotto Wines
Dal Zotto Wines are located 1.5 km north of
Cheshunt on the Cheshunt to Edi Back Rd which
follows the eastern side of the King River, tel:
(03) 5729 8321.
At the crossroads in Cheshunt there is a
signposted right turn into the Upper King Valley
Rd which leads to Lake William Hovell. 3 km
along this road is Chrismont Winery. It is
currently open by appointment only but, around
September 1999, it will commence daily
operations, tel: (03) 5729 8220.
Lake William Hovell
17 km south-west of Cheshunt on the Upper King
Valley Rd (sealed) is Lake William Hovell which
is the main reservoir for the valley. This
beautiful high-country recreation area has full
barbecue facilities, fishing opportunities and
On the way there you will pass Cheshunt Boat
Hire where boats and canoes, rods and bait are
available, tel: (03) 5729 8374.
Adrenalin Whitewater Adventures
Also along the road to Lake William Hovell is
Adrenalin Whitewater Adventures - an experienced
and fully accredited and licensed outfit
offering customers the latest in safe rafting
technology and trained staff to take you on
excursions through the rapids of the King River
(one or more days), the Mitta Mitta Gorge (two
days) and the Snowy River (5 days). There are
also fishing expeditions, a
create-your-own-itinerary rafting option, summer
whitewater canoe trips on the Goulburn River,
tuition in kayaking and whitewater rafting,
corporate team-building courses with school
groups, end-of-day parties, shower, change and
barbecue facilities and even 'raftcam' to
videotape your trip. The best rafting is from
June to December, tel: (0500) 531 531 or (03)
If, at Cheshunt, you proceed past the crossroads
and continue east on the Myrtleford Back Road,
it is 2 km to Warrawee Orchard which grows red
apples. Visitors are welcome to purchase fresh
fruit and have a break at the tea rooms, tel:
(03) 5729 8331.
Adjacent Warrawee Orchard there is a turnoff on
the right which is signposted for Paradise
Falls, located 20 km south of Whitfield in the
Wabonga Plateau State Park section of the Alpine
National Park. The falls drop precipitously for
31 metres and an overhanging rock face allows
walking behind the falls. Keep your eyes pealed
as you must turn again when you are 500 metres
from the Myrtleford Back Road. However, the
route is fully signposted. Ring Parks Victoria
on (03) 5729 8266 for further information.
Powers Lookout and Other Scenic
17 km south-west of Whitfield, en route to
Mansfield, is a turnoff on the left to Powers
Lookout. This vantage point on the Wabonga
Plateau was used by bushranger Harry Powers in
the 1860s to keep an eye out for potential prey
and predators. It offers fabulous views across
some truly scenic high country and there is a
picnic area with facilities.
Those with a 4WD may wish to explore
Dandongadale Falls (Victoria's highest) or Lake