Great Alpine Road Visitor Guide

GREAT ALPINE ROAD VISITOR GUIDE | PAGE 25 YACKANDANDAH A little gem of a town with a golden past, Yackandandah is a wonderful place to relax for a day...or a few. A former gold mining town located in the north-east of Victoria, between Beechworth and Wodonga, the town’s name is thought to be derived from the First Nations’ language. One source suggests that it is a local Waveroo word meaning ‘country of hills’, while other sources say it is a combination of two words meaning ‘waterhole’ and ‘rocks’. This theory is based on the presence of a large rock on top of a smaller rock in the local Yackandandah Creek. Steeped in history The entire commercial centre of Yackandandah has been classified by the National Trust, and features many well-preserved buildings that date back to the the height of the town’s gold mining days of the mid and late 1800s. There’s a lot to explore, including quaint and quirky shops, a gallery of impressive artwork, and streets lined with huge trees. Highlights include the The Athenaeum, located at 29 High Street. Notable for its lovely facade, it was built in 1878 to house 3,000 books for the local book club, and was the social and intellectual centre of Yackandandah. There were two reading rooms, a few stuffed birds, and a boomerang or two. A full sized slate billiard table was installed in 1899. The building now houses a modern art gallery. Other ‘must-sees’ of this historic town include: • Yackandandah’s original court house – built in 1863 and now used as a community hall • The Bank of Victoria building – built in 1860 and now a local museum, and • The old post office, first built as a timber structure in 1856 and now the home of the local Tourist Information Centre. The town’s Bells Flat Road passes through old gold mining areas featuring shafts and diggings. Take a drive along this road and, at Crossing Place, you’ll find a walking track that leads to The Gorge – a man-made diversion of Yackandandah Creek that allowed miners to search for gold along the original creek bed. Lots to enjoy ‘Yack’, as it is fondly known, is home to many artists, including potters, painters, sculptors and stitchers. At any time of year look out for open days at the local galleries or artists’ studios. The town has an eclectic mix of galleries, eateries and shops offering an array of clothing, art, crafts and antiques. Commissioners Creek, which runs through the town, features a mineral spring accessed via Mineral Lane. Accommodation includes a camping/caravan site close to town, motel and hotel rooms, plus many other comfortable options. A short drive north-east of the town will take you to the small community of Allans Flat. A rich agricultural area, Allans Flat is home to several wineries and a strawberry farm. Allans Flat Reserve has a large lake that was originally created by gold dredging and is now an ideal spot for boating or a picnic. A charming town with a golden past Yackandandah has many well-preserved 19th Century buildings, housing an eclectic array of eateries, shops and galleries. Photo: Visit Victoria