We love Mildura because its relative isolation has bred an independence among the town’s passionate locals.
With a population of 30,000-plus, Mildura is one of the biggest on our Top 100. It’s also very isolated – ten minutes out of town and you’re in the outback – and in fact it’s closer to Adelaide than its state capital of Melbourne.

We love Mildura because its relative isolation has bred an independence among the town’s passionate locals. Mildura was founded in 1886 by the Chaffey brothers, pioneering Californian irrigators. With irrigation comes grapes, fruit and wine. With grapes, fruit and wine comes backbreaking work. With wine and hard work come Italian immigrants. And that’s what Mildura got. And that Italian heritage, with its passion for food, lives on today.

The town is home to Stefano De Pieri’s world famous restaurant at the Grand Hotel (good luck getting a table) and the quality of food for a regional town is remarkable. And this is a town of remarkable things. The 14 perfectly manicured local grass courts once held a Davis Cup match.

Want a beer? Mildura has its own brewery. And that’s why we love it. It’s not the beautiful wide thoroughfare and the sensibly named streets (8th Street is right after 7th). It’s the locals. They have an incredible sense of community and put on more events per capita than pretty much any town we know of. If you don’t believe us – jump on the net and search for “What’s on in Mildura”. The list will print off around three pages.

Where? // 550km (7hrs) northwest of Melbourne, 420km (5.5hrs) northeast of Adelaide.

Did you know? // William Chaffey, one of the original founders, went bankrupt in 1896. Rather than pull an Allan Bond, Chaffey stayed, refinanced, finished his projects and eventually paid off all his debts. His vision and principles made him Mildura royalty, and he became the town’s first mayor.

 

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