Glenrowan is a small town 236 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. It is a popular rest point for those doing a Road Trip along the Hume Freeway and is best known for being the site of the final siege and capture of the Australian bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang in 1880. It also has a couple of great coffee shops including one with some of the best scones I have ever tasted and a number of wineries.
How to get to Glenrowan
As just mentioned Glenrowan is 236 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. You can reach it by travelling along the Hume Freeway then taking one of the freeway exists that will lead you to Glenrowan. It takes around 2.5 hours from Melbourne when you drive which is the best way to get there. A car will also provide you with the luxury of exploring the area at your leisure. If you don’t have a car you can rent one.
Ned Kelly and his gang
If you want to learn more about Ned Kelly and his gang then Glenrowan is the perfect place. As you arrive in the small town every store along the Main Street has some reference, either their name or a statue of Ned Kelly out the front. So there are many photo opportunities to have a photo of Ned in his armour. The best photo option is to stand in front of the 6 metre tall statue of Ned that is in front of the Post Office and looks like it is guarding the town. This statue portrays Ned in his metal armour and apparently this is the only time he wore it – for the siege in Glenrowan.
Ned Kelly Museum
A popular thing to do in Glenrowan is to visit the Ned Kelly Museum which in my opinion is a little gem with many authentic items to view from the bush ranging era. The museum also conducts a show which takes you through a number of scenes of the happenings of 28 June 1880 when Ned Kelly and his gang staged a gunfight with Police which resulted in his capture. The show is an interactive production with a range of animatronic characters who lead you through that fateful day in a forty minute show. It was thoroughly enjoyable though my kids were a little scared from some of the loud noises.
Ned Kelly Heritage Siege Precinct Walking Trail
Glenrowan Train Station
The other thing I would highly suggest you do while in Glenrowan is to walk the Heritage Siege Precinct walking trail. A map can be obtained from the Glenrowan Bakehouse and other stores to help you visit such historic sites including Ann Jones Inn (which is where Ned and his gang were holed up), the railway station and of course the actual site of Ned Kelly’s Capture. Just follow the signposts to each site.
The Ned Kelly Heritage Siege Precinct Walking Trail is an easy walk that is very interesting and there are many signs explaining what happened and where. I learnt a lot about Ned Kelly and his gang by visiting the museum and walking the heritage trail. Whatever your perception of him – a criminal, a bushranger, a hero to the poor, it is surreal to stand in the same places he stood and fought for his freedom.
Enjoy a refreshment in Glenrowan
Once you have visited the museum and undertaken the heritage walk I would suggest you relax in one of the local coffee houses and enjoy some local produce. I enjoyed a plate of fresh scones with jam and cream at Dad & Dave’s Billy Tea Rooms. Other places to enjoy a refreshment could be at the Glenrowan Bakehouse, the Vintage Hall Cafe or the Glenrowan Pub.
Glenrowan Wine Region
Wanting something stronger than a coffee? Then you might want to explore the Glenrowan Wine Region. The area is known for full bodied reds, particularly shiraz and fragrant whites – something for most.
Baileys of Glenrowan is of note as the Bailey family established this vineyard in 1870. Folklore has it that Ned Kelly was a fencing contractor at the Baileys farm when they were planting their first vines. Today, you can walk around the native garden and historic buildings which includes the original 1870 winery. Also in the area is Morrisons of Glenrowan, Booth’s Taminick Cellars and the Black Dog Brewery if feeling like a beer.
If you haven’t had enough wine tasting venture to the nearby Millawa Gourmet Region where you will find a number of wine growers and a selection of locally grown and made produce such as cheese, olives, mustard and of course wine.
Accommodation in Glenrowan
Accommodation in Glenrowan is pretty sparce with only on hotel in town – the Glenrowan Kelly Country Motel. You can always venture 14km north to Wangaratta where there is quite a bit of accommodation. Or you could try the caravan park in Millawa.
I hope you enjoy Glenrowan as much as I did. When you drive in to the town you don’t realise the interesting history that exists. But you will for your next visit. So I highly suggest you get off the Hume Freeway and visit this small town.