5 Hikes to Tackle Around Wangaratta
Words and images by Amy Fairall - We Are Explorers.
5 Hikes to Tackle Around Wangaratta (And Where to Get a Brew Afterwards)
From verdant valleys to alpine peaks and expansive wetlands, the diverse scenery around Dirrawarra / Wangaratta lends itself to a range of stunning hikes. Pair a hike with one of the locally owned and adored cafes and pubs dotted around the region and you’ve got yourself an epic day (or weekend!) in Wang.
We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Bpangerang, Waywurru Nation, the traditional Countries of the Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Bpangerang, Waywurru people who have occupied and cared for these lands for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
Every direction you turn in the Wangaratta region will lead you somewhere stunning and the changing scenery will have you coming back to discover more. We spent five adventure-fuelled days roaming around Wangaratta and its surrounding mountains and valleys, sniffing out the best hikes in the region.
Here’s some of the gold we uncovered around Wang!
1. Mt Glenrowan Sunrise Hike & Cafe PreVue
Kick off your weekend in Wang with a punchy early morning hike to the best view point Wangaratta has to offer – Waywurru / Mt Glenrowan. This 9km return hike follows the Ridge Track, a wide and undulating fire trail along a ridgeline in Warby-Ovens National Park with a finale of sweeping views across the Ovens and King Valley and Victorian Alps.
Starting from the Ridge Track car park just off Tamminick Rd, the hike to the peak takes an hour to the tee if you’re absolutely punching it, so be lenient with your pre-dawn self and allow an hour and fifteen minutes each way, with enough time at the peak to make yourself a cuppa.
The track is easy to navigate, and comes with a few steep inclines, but overall is relatively manageable for hikers of all fitness levels.
Keep an eye out for roos and wallabies rustling in the scrub around the track and don’t forget to pack your head torch as you’ll be hiking half of the trail in the dark.
Once you’re back in the car, glide on down the mountain back into town and pull up at Cafe PreVue. Situated right next to the Torryong / Ovens River, this modern cafe offers a wide range of brekky options and scrumptious coffee, just what you need after a sunrise hike!
2. Paradise Falls, Powers Lookout & The Oven
If you’re short on time, but are still looking for views that’ll leave you gobsmacked, combine the short walks to Paradise Falls and Powers Lookout.
Start your day at Powers Lookout where there are two viewing platforms to peer down onto the expansive King Valley below. The first is wheelchair accessible and sits right by the car park.
The second is a short 300 metre walk from the car park, up and down a few sets of stairs and around rocky outcrops. The viewing platform here provides a northern view over the valley and to the mountain tops across the other side.
On your drive from Powers Lookout to Paradise Falls, you’ll pass through the tiny township of Cheshunt, where you simply have to treat yourself to a homemade pie at The Oven @ Cheshunt made by the owner, Tom, himself.
This family bakery sells freshly-baked bread, sweet treats, and open-top pies that are overflowing with flavour. Everything is ethically grown and sustainable! Don’t go past the madras pie, made with wholemeal flour and veggies from the garden patch out the front of the cafe.
Once you’re caffeinated and your tummy is full, hit the road again towards Paradise Falls.
If you’ve timed it right (i.e straight after a downpour) then the 31-metre drop Paradise Falls should be falling ever-so-gracefully over the edge of a concave cliff, into a pool surrounded by luscious forest below.
If not, no matter! The 500m walk from the car park is easy enough, and the forest haven you stumble into at the end is worth it all the same.
Please note! There’s a sacred site underneath the falls and it’s also a peregrine nesting area. Best to avoid going underneath the falls itself.
3. Mt Cobbler Overnight Hike & King River Brewing
The overnight hike up Mt Cobbler absolutely blew us away. Although this hike is only 8km return there’s no reason to rush through – the mountain vistas, alpine lakes, shimmering creeks, and gnarled snow gums make the hike up Mt Cobbler unforgettable.
Up and back this track takes four hours of committed and steep hiking at pace, with a river crossing thrown in for good measure. So turning it into an overnight hike and camping at the grassy flat three quarters up the mountain makes for an epic weekender.
Just be sure to save the summit for sunrise – you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss those pinks and blue hues across the mountain tops.
If you have a night to spare, pitch your tent at Lake Cobbler where the trailhead starts and drink in the Milky Way as it’s reflected across the perfectly still water’s surface.
Finish off the weekend with a pizza and pint at King River Brewing. This family operated brewery and pizzeria serves up a range of tasty European beers and wood-fired pizzas to die for (make sure to try the pumpkin and caramelised onion pizza!).
Enjoy golden hour in the garden and cheers to a weekend to remember.
4. Lunette Lookout & Black Dog Brewery
So you’ve been through the native scrub, stood atop an alpine peak, and visited a long-drop waterfall – time to check out the local wetlands.
Winton Wetlands is a MASSIVE wetlands under restoration just 15 minutes out of Glenrowan, but will have you feeling like you’re on another eerie planet.
The 3km return hike to Lunette Lookout is an easy stroll combining a bit of local art and expansive views across the largest tract of swamp in the vicinity.
Keep an eye to the sky to spot local birds of prey and one on the ground as you look out for giant witchetty-grubs.
Time your hike to wrap up in the late afternoon and you’ll no doubt encounter the largest mob of kangaroos you’ve ever laid eyes on as you drive back along the dirt roads.
On the way back into town, pull up at Black Dog Brewery, another local watering hole in a striking old heritage building with an ever-changing variety of beers available, all brewed on site.
Not a fan of frothies? The building is also home to Taminick Cellars, one of the oldest wineries in the region – they’re still producing wine from vines that were planted on the property in 1919!
5. Eldorado Heritage Walk, Monument Hill Lookout & McEvoy Tavern
If you fancy yourself a bit of a culture kid, the Eldorado Historic Walk might be more your style. Blazing the trail through the streets of Eldorado, this walk passes by no less than 31 historic sites in just one kilometre.
From the old gold dredge and mine shafts to the original bakehouse and butcher shop, this village is brimming with gold-rush era history.
Don’t feel like you’ve quite earned yourself a beer yet? Tack on the hike to the top of Monument Hill, a rocky outcrop that offers views across the tiny township and surrounding farmland. It might only be an extra kilometre, but the climb up is steep! You’ll be stinging for a schooey by the time you reach the top.
Best pop into McEvoy Tavern before you leave town – the smallest pub in Victoria.
With more fairy lights than legal patrons, a cosy fireplace, jukebox, and pool table, you’ll wonder where they fit in the beers! This pub has a rustic and welcoming charm to it that you’ll never want to leave.
Better book a table for dinner too – our crew reckon the home-crumbed chicken schnitzels were some of the best they’ve ever had.
Photography by @henry_brydon, @thetantrap and @bee_pinkydoony