Back to Yackandandah
This little town near Beechworth in north east Victoria oozes history and charm. It can be a pleasant place to stay while exploring the region, especially if you like quiet heritage-listed towns which have good coffee and a bakery.
I first saw Yackandandah, or Yack, late last century. The historical character of the place caught my eye on the occasions I passed through it while exploring the region. At the time I was staying in nearby Beechworth, but vowed to stay in Yackandandah some day. It appeared to have similar historic charm and benefits to travellers as Beechworth, but in a quieter and more compact way.
When I resolve to revisit a place, I usually do, but in this case it was 25 years before I turned up in a campervan to spend some time there. Towns can change over time, and I know I have too, so I was curious to see if my original impressions were still valid.
The local caravan park next to the creek became my temporary home. One thing I like about small towns, apart from the quietness, is the convenience of being able to walk everywhere. So I did! A short stroll from where I parked brought me to the heart of Yackandandah, where I began exploring and soaking in the ambience.
It was the discovery of gold in 1852 that brought settlers in large numbers to the area. The gold dwindled, but agriculture and forestry took its place after Yackandandah became established as a town in 1857.
The town still retains a good number of its old buildings ... old by the standards of colonised Australia. These older structures have been lovingly restored and preserved by a community that values its history, and the result is quite charming. I wasn't surprised to learn that the town centre and its main street have been heritage listed.
There are guided historic walks each week, but just going for a wander can be valuable if you miss the guided walk like I did. An old bridge and cemetery add to the many gold-rush-era buildings to create a unique vibe.
Despite a couple of slopes to challenge my dicky knee, I found walking around Yackandandah very enjoyable. So much that I neglected to take many photos. There was also more to the place than I remembered, so
As a stopover for travellers, the town has the necessities. The range of shops and eating places is good for such a small town, and includes a supermarket open daily. Being in a campervan, I didn’t notice what other accommodation was there, besides the caravan park.
There is also a bakery and two cafes; these being comforts I tend to look for when choosing a town to stay in. I enjoyed some product testing and probably left town a little heavier.
Overall, I found Yackandandah to be as pleasant a town to stay in as I first imagined it might be. It caters more to tourists than it did back then (as do most towns these days), but I don't think that has lessened its appeal. In some places the claim to being "historic" can seem a little overdone or contrived, but not in Yack.
Like Beechworth, it can serve as a base for exploring the Kiewa and Ovens Valleys in north east Victoria. It isn't close to some places like Falls Creek or Mt Hotham. But it may be close enough for those wanting to explore the wider area from one base, and not minding a bit of driving. The local countryside is pleasant to drive through, and the town is a charming and homely place to start and end the day. I'm glad I eventually went back and stayed there.
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