Goulburn Valley, Victoria

Goulburn Valley is a major agricultural area, and the famously productive region offers rich pickings for the visitor looking for lush scenery and delicious food and wine. 

Major towns include Kilmore, Benalla and Kyabran, but the commercial hub of Goulburn Valley is Shepparton, 180 kilometres north of Melbourne. Shepparton includes the famous SPC Ardmona fruit factory, one of the biggest canneries in the world. Its a factory outlet is open to the public on Corio Street.

Visitors curious about the local history should head to Paul Gribben Historical Precinct, with the Shepparton Heritage Centre. The Shepparton Art Museum at Welsford Street is a high-quality regional gallery, was redeveloped in 2011, and features historical paintings and a significant ceramics collection, with Australian and international works.

Drive west for half an hour and Kyabram has the second-largest native animal collection in Australia. The Kyabram Fauna Park has free range animals spread over 55 hectares of woodland, lakes and wetland. Wildlife to be seen includes koalas, Tasmanian devils, dingoes, koalas and kangaroos.

The region features excellent hiking and impressive forests, including at Cathedral Range National Park, Lower Goulburn National Park and Mount Disappointment Forest, with immense mountain ash trees.   

Visits to the region have plenty to offer wine enthusiasts, and the valley has had vineyards since 1860. The sandy soil, plentiful water and agreeable climate help produce well-regarded chardonnay and marsanne. Most notable of the winemakers and there from the beginning is Tahbilk, which has National Trust-registered buildings and opened an excellent cafe on the premises in 2005.

The climate of the region varies throughout. Shepparton is semi-arid, with cool winters and hot, dry summers, and it has an average high of 31.9 degrees Celsius in January and average low of 15.0, with an average high of 13.2 and average low of 3.2 in July.

The nearest airport is Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine, about two hours away. Domestically it is served by Jetstar, Rex, Qantas, Tiger and Virgin Australia.