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What Are Things To Do In Yackandandah Melbourne?

Yackandandah is a unique and beautiful historic village nestled in a valley among a range of tall hills. After all these years, the town still looks the same as it did when it was a bustling gold mining centre. There are many old and beautiful buildings here, and the entire business district has been designated as a National Trust Historic District.

Beautiful English trees (some of which were planted in the nineteenth century), verandas, wide awnings, tea rooms, galleries, shops selling crafts, gifts, antiques, and collectibles, a few country pubs, and some gracious churches line the pleasant main street.

There are about 700 people living in Yackandandah, which is 288 kilometres north-east of Melbourne via Beechworth and 28 kilometres south-west of Wodonga. The nearby countryside is a popular destination for those interested in fishing, gold panning, gemstone fossicking, horseback riding, bushwalking, and four-wheel driving.

Twenty kilometres south of Yackandandah is one of the few rock art sites in north-east Victoria, and it bears witness to at least 3500 years of Aboriginal occupation of this land.

There is some mystery surrounding the origin of the town's name. One theory, however, suggests that it comes from two Aboriginal words meaning "rock" and "water-hole,” since it is believed that two large rocks once stood atop one another in the area now known as Yackandandah Creek. A different interpretation of Yackandandah's meaning as "country of hills" has also been put forth.

In 1824, explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell passed within a short distance of the current town. White people started moving into the area around 1837. From Sydney, James Osborne and his wife travelled by land to Yackandandah, where they settled at No. 1 Station, established the Yackandandah Lower Run, and set up camp on Yackandandah Creek close to where it meets the Kiewa River (east of the townsite). The Thirlingananga base was subsequently founded. The Osborne family is honoured with the naming of Osbornes Flat, which is located six kilometres east of Yackandandah.

It was reported that in 1845, when a water mill was constructed on the Yackandandah run, the first gold was discovered there. There was apparently no result to that. On the other hand, in December 1852, gold was found where Yackandandah Creek and Commissioners Creek meet. Along the creekside, the population exploded from 150 in 1853 to 3,000 in 1862 as a result of the rush that began that year.

In 1853, a police outpost was established on the bluffs above Commissioners Creek. The following decade saw the construction of a jail, police station, residence for the police chief, and courthouse.

By 1854, three hotels were authorised to serve the public, and the following year, an Anglican school opened. As a major stopover on the route from Melbourne to Sydney, the location now boasted a resident minister. In 1856 or 1857, the town was surveyed for the first time, and in 1864, the shire was officially established.

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Things To Do In Yackandandah

The local information centre is located in the old Athenaeum (an institution for promoting scientific or literary learning, which often takes the form of a library and reading room). The Classical Revival building was erected in 1878 with a strong Classical facade, pediment and columns. It was once the social and intellectual centre of the town, housing 3000 books and two reading rooms.

Seventh Pocket

Originally a billiards room and made from local red brick, this newly renovated, pared backspace has been revitalised, highlighting its rustic origins, and is now Seventh Pocket Lifestyle store.

Seventh Pocket only stocks and supports local and Australian artisans and designers. The carefully curated collection embodies a strong sense of originality, quality and purpose. These goods are not only good for you but the planet, too.

Seventh Pocket does not follow trends- it focuses on providing a unique selection of slow fashion, timeless apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women, with seasonal homewares, organic skincare, gifts, boutique teas and coffee.

Seventh Pocket is proud of and passionate about supporting our own ethical, sustainable Australian brands and offers its customers authentic pieces made without impacting our environment.

The Yackandandah Hotel

The Yackandandah Hotel has a long and rich history. He is believed to be originally built in 1868 as a bar for the locals and quickly became a popular hang-out spot. The “Bottom Pub”, as it is lovingly known, was built to serve the local gold mining population.

In late 2019 the pub was purchased by new owner Peter. Pete has managed all types of Pubs, Clubs & Motels in his 40-year hospitality background and is excited to fulfil his lifelong dream to own his pub.

They are now busy renovating this old beauty to its former glory and have started with a makeover of the upstairs accommodation and look forward to all seven rooms welcoming their new guests with a fresh outlook and stylish charm.

The Yackandandah Hotel welcomes you to share the love of good food, good company and good times.

Feather & Drum Custom Hat Co.

feather and drum

Were you looking for the lid of a lifetime? Take a stroll down the main drag in Yackandandah and stick your head into Feather and Drum custom hat co.

Cat Leahy, a local drummer and friendly hat maker, will have a chat and sort you out with the perfect fit. Both for your scone and your personality.

Why not treat yourself or someone you love to a lifetime piece, crafted with love and built to last. As seen on the noggins of people like Kate Ceberano, Bobby Alu and Kerryn Fields.

This gorgeous little shop also features ready-made fur felt hats, Yackandandah tourist caps, hat accessories plus hand knitted items and gifts from Cat's mum (Feather & Drum and Mum)

To get the lid of your dreams, contact Cat iva by email or drop into the shop in Yackandandah.

Forest Drive

If you continue to follow Bells Flat Road southwest beyond The Gorge, it leads through Stanley State Forest, where the disturbed ground adjacent to the roads indicates the area's gold mining past. Today the forest is used for logging and army training, so watch for other vehicles. 

There is a variety of vegetation and hence a range of wildlife, though many species are nocturnal. Swamp wallabies, lizards, possums, gliders, echidnae, wombats, bandicoots, marsupial mice, rosellas, willy-wagtails, honeyeaters and many other birds.

About 2 km beyond The Gorge, keep to the right when Bells Flat Road veers off to the left, and you will find yourself on the Yack Gate Road. 

A little over 1 km from this intersection is a turnoff to a picnic area on the left. If you ignore this turnoff and continue along Yack Gate Road for about two more kilometres, it passes a couple of roadsides (and creekside) campsites then veers off to the right at an intersection where the No.1 Link Road veers to the left. There is a campsite at this intersection. Proceed along the No.1 Link Rd. After about 500 m there is a turnoff on the right to another campsite.

 If you ignore this turnoff and continue along the No.1 Link Rd, you will almost immediately come to a turnoff on the left into Number One Road. It leads past another couple of roadside campsites. After about 4 km, turn left into Kirby's Flat Road (watch out for Kirby's Flat Pottery). At its end, turn left into Back Creek Rd, which will return you to town. Several 4WD tracks head off the main roads. Watch out for old tunnels and mine shafts if you go bushwalking. For further information, contact the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Indigo Gold Trail Yackandandah

Today, in and around Yackandandah, Beechworth, Chiltern and Rutherglen, the legacy of the rush for gold remains.

The Indigo Gold Trail takes in some of the most picturesque countrysides in Australia and includes scores of easily accessible sites identified by storyboards featuring the Gold Trail logo. Sites can be visited by car, bike or walking and are marked on Gold Trail maps found on the website or Visitor Information Centres.

Gold was discovered in Yackandandah in 1852, soon after the first discoveries at Reid's and Spring Creeks (Beechworth).

A tent town sprang up along the banks of the Yackandandah and Commissioner's Creeks, one of several tent towns in the area, some of which continued beyond the life of the gold strikes, including Osborne's Flat, Rowdy Flat and Allan's Flat, Whiskey Flat and Bell's Flat.

After the first wave of alluvial gold seekers, entrepreneurs such as Wallace and Fletcher arrived, installing sluicing barges employing men 24 hours a day in shifts.

Kirby's Flat Pottery

Kirby's Flat Pottery is the long-established workshop of John Dermer, a craftsman of high repute who has items displayed in the Australian National Gallery and Parliament House. It is open at weekends and all Victorian school holidays or by appointment and is located 4 km south of Yackandandah on Kirby's Flat Road.

Vintage Rose Tea Room

Vintage Rose Tea Room offers spectacular patisserie cakes and desserts, breakfast and lunch, artisan tea and award-winning locally roasted coffee served with all the elegance and charm of beautiful vintage china.

Take a moment to visit this friendly and inviting space for breakfast, lunch or a sweet treat. Vintage Rose's deck and new courtyard offering alfresco dining are now open. Then, indulge in a stunning Vintage Rose High Tea by the High Tea specialists, an amazing experience you will be eager to share with your family and friends.

Schmidt's Strawberry Winery

From the eastern end of High St, follow the Wodonga Road north-east for 9 km, then take the signposted right into Osbornes Flat Road. About 2 km along here is Schmidt's Strawberry Winery Farm, established in 1975 by Johann Schmidt, whose family has been making fruit wines since the 15th century. There are dry, sweet and semi-sweet strawberry wines, a strawberry liqueur, and fresh strawberries in season (November to February). 

The winery is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. During the Victorian school holidays and on long weekends, it also opens on Sundays.

Beechworth Bakery Yackandandah

Situated in one of Australia’s prettiest villages, with a centre classified by the national trust, the Beechworth Bakery Yackandandah has only been open for a little while.

It might be small compared to the other Beechworth Bakeries, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in character and charm. And you will find the same delicious range here. In addition, being small allows the team to personalise the service to its customers and greet them like old friends.

Beechworth Bakery Yackandandah would love to welcome you and look after you, so you can fully savour the experience and enjoy this gorgeous little town.

Steeped in the legacy of gold, Yackandandah is nestled in the foothills of Stanley State Forest and is roughly a 20-minute drive from both Beechworth and Wodonga.

The Gorge

Drive out to the western end of Windham St. Until it reaches a T-intersection with Bells Flat Rd. Turn left into the latter, about 1 km to 'The Gorge'. There is a signpost and car park with information signs at the start of the walk. A tailrace was constructed here in 1859. It was deepened in the 1880s to form a narrow gorge that diverted Yackandandah Creek from its natural course. This allowed miners to access the gold along the original creek bed. The walk passed through an extensively mined area and took in two diversion walls. It leads through to the sports oval at the end of Wellsford St.

Yackandandah Museum

The Yackandandah Museum has a large and comprehensive collection of the many stories from the district. The Museum is accommodated in the Bank of Victoria, built in the 1860s and the first bank erected in Yackandandah. They also have the Bank Manager’s cottage at the rear of the Museum building, which illustrates family life in the 1800s.

The collection has more than 11,000 items, which are fully data-based and cross-referenced. They hold objects, photographs, images, registers, documents, letters, and research material, enabling researchers and visitors to explore the bygone era up to the current time. It may be accessed by appointment with the Curator. As you wander around the Museum, you will learn about the town and the folk who made Yackandandah what it is today.

The museum features themed displays that change regularly. Over recent years they have presented their visitor's displays.

The Lavender Patch Plant Farm

The Lavender Patch Plant Farm is set in peaceful and picturesque surroundings 3 km from Yackandandah on Beechworth. It is a commercial lavender farm offering guided tours, a nursery, display gardens, lawns, lavender fields, picnic areas with barbecues, parking facilities, tearooms and a gift shop selling crafts, cosmetics, 22 types of lavender and over 100 perennials.

Yackandandah Cemetery

The Yackandandah Cemetery is located a short distance north-east of town along the Wodonga Rd. The cemetery was established in 1859 and contains the graves of gold miners and other early settlers, including an area reserved for Chinese instruments (up the hill and to the right from the fine timber entrance gates, which were added in 1915). The Lawson Cypress, Canary Island Strawberry Tree and Irish Strawberry Tree are registered with the National Trust.

Vivienne Cate

Vivienne Cate is an intimate retail outlet that specialises in quality cowhides and sheepskin and offers a carefully curated collection of high-quality homewares, fashion and accessories.

Their stunning collection includes 100 per cent European linen table/kitchenware, bath-ware and clothing, and Vivienne Cate is proud to showcase the work of many Australian artisans, including milliners, leather workers, ceramicists and jewellery makers.

They are located at 25A High Street in one of the historically significant buildings in the charming heritage town of Yackandandah.

Yackandandah Visitor Information Centre

One of Australia’s prettiest villages with a centre classified by the national trust, the Yackandandah Visitor Information Centre is positioned inside the current Post Office. The picturesque village of Yackandandah is nestled in the foothills of Stanley State Forest and steeped in the legacy of gold.

Today the town is home to many acclaimed artists, from potters to painters, sculptors to stitchers. Wander the stunning streets of Yack and discover unique artworks, crafts, music and antiques in the eclectic mix of galleries, shops and studios.

The Visitor Information Centre is conveniently located in the main street of Yackandandah in the Post Office. The Centre offers visitors information on attractions, accommodation and activities in and around historic Yackandandah. In addition, there are great gifts, books, souvenirs, maps and merchandise to remind you of your visit to the wonderful town.

Gum Tree Pies

Every country town worth its salt has a pie shop. In Yack, that shop is Gum Tree Pies. The golden pastries here are all killer, no filler with wife and husband team Melinda and Sebastian Nedziak having won medals for their pies. It’s not hard to see why once you’ve taken your first bite and tasted the thick chunks of steak and rich gravy within. 

All the classic flavours are there, as well as a few more adventurous creations like lamb and mint jelly and Panang curry pumpkin. Hot tip: save room for dessert; Gum Tree Pies also serve some seriously good cakes and slices.

Allans Flat And The Vienna Patisserie Chalet

Adjacent Schmidt's is an enormous hole created by hydraulic gold dredging, converted into a lake and public reserve with grassed areas, picnic tables, chairs and wood barbecues.

 A cairn at the entrance to the reserve on the southern side of the lake commemorated the occasion in 1845 when they became the first white person to take up land in the area. Goldmining occurred in the area from the 1850s to 1904. At one stage, the local school had 200 children. Agriculture developed to feed the community and remained when the gold inevitably dwindled. Today Allans Flat is a locality rather than a village.

Memorial Drive heads west off Osbornes Flat Road past a church and a cairn on the left-hand side of the road, which honours Hume and Hovell, the first non-Aboriginal people to pass through this area in 1824. Return along Memorial Drive and turn left back into Osbornes Flat Road.

Five hundred metres from the lake, in Osbornes Flat Road, is the Vienna Patisserie Chalet, situated within a hand-made Austrian-style log cabin adjacent to the Kiewa River. Pastries, cakes, strudels, tortes and ice-cream sundaes with fresh fruits and berries are available every Tuesday from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

Continue along Osbornes Flat Road to Osbornes Flat, which emerged in the 1850s as a gold town with five hotels, several stores, a school, various tradespeople and a lodging house. Little remains of the village through the disturbed ground indicate gold mining scars. 

Further along, Osbornes Flat Rd is the site of Rowdy Flat, another gold mining village in an area which proved to be rich with alluvial gold. When you reach Dederang Road, turn right to return to Yackandandah. The round trip is about 21 km.

Head underground

This part of Victoria does not want old mining tunnels, but Yackandandah is special. It’s home to Karrs Reef Gold Mine, a 150 metre-long gold mining tunnel carved out meticulously by Cornish tin miners in the late 19th century. These miners used their knowledge of tin mining to trace Yackandandah’s alluvial gold back up to its source in the hills and then pinpoint the exact quartz reef it stemmed from. Unfortunately, the only way to visit the mine is with the mine’s owner (and a friendly tour operator).

Vintage Alley

Vintage Alley is a much-loved destination for vintage enthusiasts and those alike. Owner Allie chooses only the finest and most stylish vintage pieces to inject fun into any wardrobe. 

Her ever-changing range features day wear, after-five, and bridal from across the eras, plus a selection of modern wear to add that modern edge. At Vintage Alley, it's all about getting that retro look with a 60's abstract print maxi, or maybe a pair of flares are more your style.

Yackandandah Motor Inn 

This Boutique Hotel occupies a prime position in Yackandandah’s High Street, giving easy access to the town’s hotels, eateries, and shops right outside our front door.

At its best, this is Yackandandah accommodation with well-designed modern rooms with all the comforts one would expect of larger, more expensive motels.

Take advantage of our central location, just 20 minutes off the Melbourne/Sydney Freeway from Albury/Wodonga and a short drive from Beechworth. Yackandandah Motor Inn is a great stop-over choice or a perfect base for exploring North East Victoria's award-winning wineries and historic towns.

 Popular activities include bushwalking, cycling (rail trail or MTB), golf, bowls, fishing, canoeing, swimming, or a gold mine tour. This bike-friendly motel offers MotorBike riders great undercover parking, and Cyclists can keep their bikes safe and secure in our garage.

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Conclusion

One of Victoria's best-kept secrets is Yackandandah, or Yack as you'll soon come to know it. Once a thriving regional centre, the old gold mining town is now home to only about 2,000 people, a fate shared by many other once-booming mining communities. But Yack believes in "quality over quantity," as evidenced by its unique stores, delectable bakeries, and welcoming cafes. Rather than visiting the usual tourist traps, you should spend a day unwinding in Yackandandah.

FAQs About Things To Do In Yackandandah

One of Australia's prettiest villages with a centre classified by the national trust, Yackandandah is nestled in the foothills of Stanley State Forest and steeped in the legacy of gold. Today the town is home to many acclaimed artists, from potters to painters, sculptors to stitchers.

Yackandandah is rich in gold mining history and owes its creation to discovering gold in 1852. Alluvial gold was the main source of the gold found, and tent cities featured the landscape as miners tried their luck in the creeks surrounding Yackandandah. Many people still come to Yackandandah to try their luck and pan for gold.

Visit in March when the sweet sounds of the Yackandandah Folk Festival take over the streets. Enjoy hearty meals in real country pubs, and then roll out to take advantage of Yackandandah's location on the edge of the fertile Kiewa Valley.

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