Paul Daffey buckles up for a grand road tour of his home state.
Kyabram (including Tongala)
Substantial rural centre surrounded by rich agricultural land.
Kyabram is oddly situated between, but not quite near, the Goulburn, Campaspe and Murray Rivers, and on no major artery (the Murray Valley Highway is 14 km to the north). Nonetheless it is a substantial and growing rural town of some 5500 people which has proven attractive to large numbers of retirees. Brought to life as one of the state's irrigation projects, the district is a major producer of fruit, agriculture and dairy products. Local industries include a jam, conserve and topping factory, clothing manufacture and container production. It is 200 km north of Melbourne and 105 metres above sea-level.
Guildford (including Yapeen)
Tiny settlement with a superb "Big Tree"
Guildford is a tiny settlement of about 200 people located amidst low hills on the banks of the Loddon River. It has an attractive avenue of Plane trees planted in 1919 in honour of locals who fought in the First World War. Guildford is 130 km north-west of Melbourne between Castlemaine and Daylesford.
Koondrook (including Gunbower Island and Murrabit)
Quiet service town on the Murray River
Koondrook and its twin town Barham sit on opposing sides of the Murray River and the state border (combined population 1217), 289 km north-west of Melbourne via Bendigo and Echuca. It is an attractive town surrounded by rich river flats and picturesque red sand hills. Timber, dairying and citrus fruit are the main produce of the immediate area. Irrigation is supplied by the Murray River which is, not surprisingly, an excellent spot to dangle a line for Murray cod, golden perch, carp, silver fish, catfish and yabbies.
Reputedly Victoria's oldest inland town
It is claimed, contentiously, that Kilmore is Victoria's oldest inland town. It is located 61 km north of Melbourne on the Northern Highway and 370 m above sea-level. Over the past 20 years the population has doubled to nearly 3500 as the town has a become a satellite of Melbourne, with the Hume Freeway rendering it well within commuting distance for those trying to avoid full-time existence within the capital. Kilmore has a strong racing fraternity which supports many subsidiary industries and there is some pastoral activity in Mitchell Shire.
Medium-sized rural service centre on the Loddon River.
Kerang is a smallish town of some 4400 people situated on the Loddon River at the northern tip of the state (25 km from the state border). It is the commercial centre to an irrigation district given over to dairying, horticulture, lucerne and grain and it is located 279 km north-west of Melbourne on the Loddon Valley Highway, at an elevation of 78 metres.
Small rural centre in northern Victoria.
Katamatite is a small rural township of 300 people located 229 km north of Melbourne and 50 km north-east of Shepparton.
Cohuna (including Gunbower Island)
Pleasant service town surrounded by the waters of the Murray River
Cohuna is an immaculate and peaceful little town of some 2200 people situated on the Murray Valley Highway, 265 km north of Melbourne and 80 m above sea-level. Adjacent the main road is a portion of Gunbower Creek, an anabranch of the Murray River. Sandwiched between the creek and the main body of the Murray River, 8 km to the north, is Gunbower Island and Cohuna is the main access point to the island's many attractions.