Victoria’s Hume region offers a whole lot more than a fun day out. Intrepid types could spend a lifetime exploring its rocky high country and swathes of wild bushland, while culture hunters will easily fill their weekends with festivals, wine tastings and gallery visits. Cast an eye over our quick guide to Hume below, and consider if one of its regional cities could be your new home.
So much serenity
People turn to North East country living for myriad reasons. Some come for the clean air, solitude and gentler pace of life; while others want to be closer to their favourite thrills, like water and snow sports. You can cover all bases because Hume is a region of inspiring and accessible natural beauty; home to the Victorian Alps, Lake Eildon and hundreds of hectares of untamed bush.
In summer, you might feel like barbecuing some snags in the local public gardens, parking your jet ski by the Bonnie Doon pub and grabbing a pint, or hiking through the Strathbogies and taking a refreshing dip in a swimming hole. When the winter chill sets in, you’ll push the gloom away by taking your skis or snowboard to the slopes, catching a film at the local cinema or treating yourself to a bit of shopping in one of the major regional cities.
When the sun sets, you’ll be treated to a light show better than fireworks. You haven’t seen the night sky properly until you’ve left the city. Living in the suburbs, you might spot the odd star in the sky, but the city smog and light pollution forms a force-field around Melbourne, blurring the true beauty and expanse of the Milky Way. On a clear night in Hume, though, you can sleep out under a stunning canopy of the cosmos, making it the perfect place for solo reflection or a campfire with friends.
If you’ve got family spread between Melbourne and Sydney, Hume is a perfect launch pad. In some parts of the region, you’ll be able to hit Sydney in half a day or Melbourne in a couple of hours. The roads are top class too, making your drive leisurely so you can save your energy for the family dinner.
Regional Victoria has an ancient human history. First Nations people are believed to have lived here for more than 40,000 years, and Aboriginal culture still plants a proud mark on the area. Over the last decade, local councils have worked hard to acknowledge and preserve this history and educate residents. One highlight of these efforts is the Bullawah Indigenous Culture Trail in Wangaratta. It’s a gorgeous walking path decorated with paintings, sculptures and interpretive signage. Much of Victoria’s current Aboriginal population calls Hume home too, with a substantial community in Shepparton.
Hume plays a colourful role in Australia’s history since European settlement. ‘Bush poetry’ of the late 1800s from the likes of Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson romanticized the lives of horsemen and farm workers, who lived similar lives to people in North East Victoria. But before that, Hume shored up its place in folklore forever thanks to the exploits of one particular local fugitive with a penchant for heavy headwear.
Depending on who you ask, Ned Kelly was either the criminal who terrorised the region’s policemen and farmers, or the people’s champion who stood up for the rights of an oppressed Irish underclass. One thing is for certain, though, he knew how to make an iconic costume. You’ll see his bucket-headed visage on everything from beer and bourbon to belt buckles and bobbleheads. If you’re interested in Aussie history, you’ll always have someone to talk to in this region.
Sometimes the nice clichés about country towns having community spirit hold true. There are many local groups you can join here – choose between dozens of clubs across the full gamut of sports or help shape the future of arts and music in the area by applying to sit on a festival board. Groups like the North East Multicultural Association run a full calendar of events too. There, you can tutor culturally and linguistically diverse Australians in English and IT or even run a craft class. You get out of the community what you put in, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to contribute in Hume.
The Victorian Government has committed to a regional growth plan, placing a particular focus on strengthening cities in Hume. Residents of Shepparton, Wangaratta, Benalla and Seymour can expect ongoing attention and investment, and have already started to see the benefits through infrastructure upgrades. The trick for you is to get in early. There are some great things coming to Hume, and maybe you’ll be one of them.
In the Hume region, the Department of Justice and Community Safety manages the Beechworth and Dhurringile prison precincts. The department's Community Correctional Services program is run out of offices in Seymour, Mansfield, Benalla, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Myrtleford, Wodonga and Cobram.