Beechworth in the Victorian High Country is a beautiful town with a famous bushranger (Ned Kelly) past, number 20 on Australian Traveller’s ‘100 amazing places you haven’t been to yet‘. Nominated by: Peter FitzSimons, journalist and author.

Peter FitzSimons is prone to making grand statements, and this one is no exception: “the most beautiful town in Australia to me,” he declares, “is Beechworth.”

To be fair, any Victorian might say the same – the town’s wide, pretty streets and gorgeous autumn colours are well-known. But what really makes it beautiful are the stories behind the good looks, he says.

“I first discovered the town when I was researching my novel Ned Kelly, who spent time in jail here.”

As a result, the Ned Kelly Vault exhibition space is worth a visit, he says, as is the courthouse next door.

“Parts of the town courthouse have been left exactly as they were 150 years ago.”

After a visit to the Robert O’Hara Burke Museum – “one of Australia’s oldest museums, and a tribute to the explorer and local police officer who set off on the ill-fated cross-country expedition from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria”, take a walk down the main street, he says.

“It has 30 heritage-listed buildings, all made from the local granite, dating back to the 1850s”, offering a real taste of what life would have been like back in Kelly’s day.


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Finally, he says, finish with dinner at Hotel Nicholas. “The sense of old Australia is still here, and still prospering.”


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