The City of Roses on the Hume Highway, Benalla was once a favoured target of Australia’s most controversial bushranger, Ned Kelly, who was eventually cornered and captured after a shootout at nearby Glenrowan. Joe Byrne, a Kelly sidekick who was slain at Glenrowan, is buried in the Benalla cemetery. Pride of the Pioneer Museum’s collection is a cummerbund reputed to have been worn by Kelly.
Benalla’s Botanic Gardens are renowned for their roses, and indeed the gardens are the anchor for the city’s Rose Festival each November. A fitting memorial to Benalla's most famous son, Edward (Weary) Dunlop, stands in the Rose Gardens. The sculpture shows Dunlop - war hero, humanitarian, Australian rugby union representative and pioneering cancer surgeon - stooping over a stricken Australian soldier in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.
The lakeside Art Gallery’s works include the significant Ledger Collection and a magnificent tapestry of Sidney Nolan's famous painting of Kelly's last stand, “Siege at Glenrowan”.
The town also has active gliding and race clubs, and the Winton Motor Raceway is 10 kilometres north-east. Lake Mokoan, which lies in the same direction, presents good swimming, boating and picnic opportunities. Broken River runs through the town and Lake Benalla, formed by a dam on the waterway, is a protected sanctuary for birds.