Before the Europeans came, the Wangaratta region was originally inhabited by Panderang Aboriginal tribes. The first European people in the area were Hume and Hovell who reached the nearby river. They named this river as Ovens. In 1837 or 1838, George Faithfull set up the Wangaratta cattle station on the Ovens River. The name of the city was obtained from an Aboriginal word which means ‘nesting place of cormorants’. Thereafter development followed in the city with many European settlers making significant contributions. After gold was discovered in the nearby regions during the early 1850’s the city was almost deserted and it prospered only after gold was discovered in the Ovens River. Wangaratta has prospered hugely after the Second World War and gained the city status in 1959.
The city of Wangaratta enjoys a pleasant and comfortable climate all year round. During summers, the temperatures soar up to 30ºC and more and in winters it drops down to 4ºC on an average. Most of the rainfall occurs in the winter season and is about 55m on an average.
The Wangaratta city is served by the V/Line rail services between Albury and Melbourne as well as the Countrylink XPT which is available from Sydney and Melbourne. The latter service is available twice on a daily basis. The city is also served by a regional airport which is quite small. Wangaratta has also many private bus services which ply in the city after every half an hour on a daily basis.
The main cultural attraction of the Wangaratta city is the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues which draws thousands of national and international artists every year. This festival is held in the weekend after the Melbourne Cup in the month of November and the National Jazz Awards are given at the end of the ceremony. The other popular regional cultural events include Wine and Food Festival held in the month of March and Winery Walkabout on the Queen’s Birthday weekend which is organised in the month of June.
Wangaratta city has many exciting historical, cultural and adventurous tourist destination places which attract thousands of visitors every year. Some of the most popular ones are:
- Wangaratta Museum
- Exhibitions Gallery
- Warby Range State Park
- Wangaratta Cemetry
- Killawarra State Forest
Wangaratta city also has a variety of accommodation options suiting the budget of the travellers. Some of the popular accommodation options in Wangaratta include:
- Vine Hotel
- Royal Victoria Hotel
- Hermitage Motor Inn
- Wangaratta Motor Inn
- Wangaratta Caravan and Tourist Park