Just 15 minutes to the north of Geelong, Lara was devastated by the 1969 bushfires, but enough historic buildings survived to testify to the significant role the town played in the region’s history.
The town is at the foot of the You Yangs, a granite range which offers walkers a gentle climb to its highest point, Flinders Peak. From here, visitors can get a similar panoramic view to the one enjoyed by Matthew Flinders in 1802.
The two outstanding old homesteads in the district are Elcho, a two story house built in Gothic Revival style in 1867 and Wooloomanata, built in the 1860s for Frederick Armytage, a member of a prominent and wealthy pioneering family.
Between Lara and the range you’ll find Serendip Sanctuary, a wildlife research station whose walking tracks and hides are now open to the public.
Lara is also within comfortable driving distance of the You Yangs Regional Park and the Brisbane Ranges National Park which hosts the rare golden grevillea. This native, which bursts into green and gold bloom in August and November, grows only in protected corners of the Brisbane Ranges and parts of Gippsland to the south-east of Melbourne.