towns & region

Get out, get snapping & share your unique MGR experience with us #milawagourmet

Discover our towns


Servicing the surrounding farming families, Markwood once boasted a primary school and town hall, but now it sits quietly at the base of Henley Ridge on the Snow Road. In recent years, however, the area has undergone a metamorphosis with the introduction of niche agribusinesses such as organic beef, olive groves, garlic crops and specialty mushrooms.


Rich, flat plains located between the Ovens and King Rivers have attracted graziers and growers to Milawa since the mid 1800s. Once considered a smaller cousin to Oxley, Milawa has since thrived thanks largely to the establishment of a dairy company in 1891 that by 1896 was one of the largest of its kind in Australia and the world-famous Brown Brothers vineyard in 1889. Along with the vineyard, Milawa now boasts an assortment of culinary producers such as cheese, mustard, honey and gin.


Sitting at the apex of the King and Ovens Valleys, Oxley was named after the surrounding Oxley Plains, which were named by explorers Hume & Hovell in 1824 after Sir John Oxley. The vast plains were taken up for grazing and in the 1850s Oxley boomed because of its location on the main Cobb & Co route to the goldfields. Now it has settled into its role as an agricultural village with quaint historic buildings and an impressive selection of specialty crops, such as grapes and blueberries.


Tarrawingee is a small rural hamlet named after the local pastoral run, which was taken up in 1837. It is thought to come from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘emu’. The hamlet’s location on the main route to major gold towns of Eldorado and Beechworth resulted in a flurry of building activity in the 1860s. It is these heritage-listed buildings, one still operating as a pub and restaurant, that give passers-by a reason to take a break in Tarrawingee.


Nestled between the Great Alpine Road and the Snow Road, Whorouly, as its name suggests, is an Aboriginal word thought to mean ‘underwater’. The low-lying areas alongside the Ovens River regularly flood and, at times, the valley floor is a vast sheet of water. This makes the land particularly fertile and after the demise of the tobacco industry, farmers diversified and now Whorouly boasts one of Australia’s largest kiwifruit growing consortiums, and abundant farmgate produce such as sweet corn and persimmons.

Discover our region

  • Ovens River flows 130km from Mt Hotham to Lake Mulwala mainly through pine plantations and farmland, but there are a few publicly accessible spots from cross roads. Contains brown trout, some rainbow trout, trout cod (stocked), two-spined blackfish, river blackfish, redfin, mountain glaxias, Australian smelt and some small Murray cod downstream of Whorouly. Also possibly some golden perch.

    King River rises in forested mountains east of Mount Buller and flows 100km in a wide flat valley to the Ovens River at Wangaratta. Access is excellent with easy walking along the banks at several locations. The lower reaches contain brown trout (self-sustaining), European carp, redfin, two-spined blackfish, goldfish, occasional golden perch, Murray cod (stocked) and trout cod.

  • Apart from formal camping grounds at Milawa and Everton, there are a number of free (or small donation) camping spots in the region. Popular because of the facilities offered are Oxley Recreation Reserve and Whorouly Recreation Reserve. Riverside camping is also available on the Ovens River near Everton.

  • Bowmans Forest Cemetery (also known as Murmungee Cemetery) is located on the side of a hill just off the Great Alpine Rd and adjacent to the Murray-to-Mountains rail trail. The cemetery contains graves dating from the 1860s to the present day, with many of the names representing the first white families to settle the region.

    Milawa Public Cemetery (also known as Oxley Cemetery) is located on Kerrs Rd, just off Oxley Flats Rd, Milawa. It was established in 1864. The cemetery contains a number of European settlers, Indigenous Australians and Chinese, although many of the early burial places are not known with the original records having been lost or destroyed.

Planning your Milawa Gourmet Region adventure….

  • The majestic Mt Buffalo dominates most views in the region and, indeed, it was named by explorers Hume and Hovell in 1824 when they saw it for the first time from a vantage point at Kneebones Gap, near Whorouly. They thought it looked like a slumbering buffalo. From some viewpoints there are magnificent views east of the Oxley plains, south to the mountains at the top of the King Valley and north sweeping across the Murmungee basin.

  • The region is steeped in history, dating back to the Indigenous people who roamed the area. Most famous is Mary Jane or Gunyuk Milawa, a Pangerang woman born around 1830 whose traditional life was broken by European settlement. Explorers Hume and Hovell came to the region in 1824, naming both the Ovens River and Mt Buffalo, and writing about the rich and fertile land they crossed. Commemorating their exploration, there are Hume and Hovell cairns located at
    Everton and Whorouly. Notorious bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang roamed the plains and hills of the region. Legend has it that Ned watched the Whorouly horse races from the neighbouring hills to avoid capture. Gang members are said to have frequented pubs in Milawa. The night after the Mansfield murders, the gang was seen passing through Oxleyx.

  • Collect some local produce from the abundant farmgates, wineries or specialty shops, spread a blanket or set up on a picnic table, and enjoy peaceful spots beside the river or at one of the delightful recreation reserves, some with free barbecues and playgrounds for the children.

  • Being river flats, there are plenty of gentle cycling opportunities throughout the region but there are also some hills for those who like a challenge. One of the most popular routes is the Murray-to-Mountains Rail Trail from Wangaratta to Myrtleford, passing near Tarrawingee, Everton and Whorouly. Another popular bike track is from Wangaratta to Milawa, located beside the Snow Rd between Oxley to Milawa. But there are also plenty of back roads and gravel trails that provide spectacular views and peaceful peddling.