The small rural town of Avenel lies in the heart of wine country in the Goulburn River Valley. The valley - about 120km north of Melbourne - received its first rap from explorer Thomas Mitchell, who noted that the land was ready for the plough in many parts, as if specially prepared by the creator for the industrious hands of Englishmen.
Ironically, the first grapes were planted in 1859 by a Frenchman, Ludovic Marie, on the vineyard known today as Chateau Tahbilk.
Nearby Mitchelton Winery not only offers tastings but a full-on experience featuring a 55m observation deck, swimming pool, wildlife and bird sanctuaries, two restaurants, barbeque and picnic areas.
Avenel was the childhood home of one Edward (Ned) Kelly. Ned left for his and Avenel’s good, but his father Red Kelly is buried in town.
Avenel also boasts one of provincial Victoria's most impressive bridges in the six-arch, stone crossing of Hughes Creek. Built by Hugh Dalrymple in 1850, the bridge was pensioned off in 1969 when a modern structure was constructed, but the old timer has been retained as a national treasure.