But while many are anxiously awaiting news on the potential Australia–New Zealand travel bubble, Tourism Australia is reminding us all that the best thing we can do to help the COVID recovery is to ‘Holiday Here This Year’. Domestic holidays is a great way to take a break while supporting fellow Australians, which I found out for myself quite recently – spending time in Beechworth, a regional town near the Vic/NSW border, was exactly what I needed to reset after such a stressful 2020, and I’m here to tell you why.
Beechworth is absolutely beautiful! The natural landscape is full of amazing biodiversity, with the Mayday Hills area – which used to be a State Lunatic Asylum – boasting some of the most significant treescapes in the country. From exotic conifers to heritage oaks, including a rare American White Oak, it’s a botanist’s dream, but even laypeople can appreciate the Bunya Bunya’s 7.2-metre circumference! Now that it’s autumn, visitors can enjoy gorgeous orange tones as leaves fall across the town.
Personally, my favourite area for sightseeing has to be the Gorge. A two-hour walking route takes you around the granite outcrops, through the native forest, and past the incredible waterfalls, culminating in lovely views over the town itself.
Beechworth is rightfully famous for its food and drink, with the excellent fruit-growing potential of the landscape giving rise to several wineries and breweries. The region hosts berry farms, hazelnut and chestnut farms, and even an olive grove, not to mention the town’s infamous honey! Producing honey since the 1880s, the family-run Beechworth Honey sells a wide variety of traditional and specialty honeys. Honey with hazelnut and chocolate, cinnamon, fig and ginger, vanilla bean, and even raw honeycomb are just some of the options available.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the famous Beechworth Bakery. While the chain has bakeries in other regional towns like Albury and Bright, this is the original bakery in its 1850s heritage building, offering excellent baked goods in a beautiful historic setting. And I can definitely confirm that their website is right – it’s worth the drive!
With all the fantastic options, it can be pretty overwhelming to decide where to eat - so here are my personal recommendations:
- Amandhi's, a small cafe serving fresh, seasonal food;
- Blynzz Coffee, a cafe with award-winning coffee;
- TINY, a small cafe renowned for its jaffles;
- Bridge Road Brewers, a brewery with great beer and pizza;
And finally, the reason I was in Beechworth in the first place - Little Beechworth Kitchen! This small business gathers all the best produce from Beechworth and its surrounds and creates amazing gourmet platters and gift baskets.
This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for a history buff like me, it’s a real draw. Beechworth became a high-profile town during the gold rush in the 1850s, and the buildings in its historical precinct reflect that wealth and ambition. The heritage sandstone buildings, including a telegraph station, a powder magazine, and the old courthouse, are a beautiful backdrop to the history that radiates throughout the town. Those interested in Ned Kelly will find particular delight in the Gorge, which the Kelly gang used as a hideout, as well as the courthouse, where Kelly, his family, and his sympathisers all stood before the law.
Not that we need a reason to indulge in some self-care, but if you're looking to relax more than anything, the Spa Beechworth has you covered. This wellness spa is a part of the Benev., providing local accommodation and holistic relaxation within a beautifully renovated historical building.
Beechworth is a gorgeous town in regional Victoria that everyone should visit at least once. It’s packed with wonderful attractions, from its natural beauty to its rich history, and the food and drink offerings are to die for. So, this year, when you’re deciding on a holiday destination and you still can’t go overseas, consider a stay in Beechworth – you won’t regret it!
If you liked this article, you might like our broader feature about road trips in regional Victoria using the website Road Trip for Good.
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