With local tour guides for the day, we sat back and enjoyed a day of sightseeing. First was a stop for coffee (hot chocolate and a milkshake for us) at a little café in Whitfield, and then on to Lake William Hovell. The drive up the King Valley was very pretty, with lots of vineyards and old tobacco kilns. Since the 1850's tobacco was a big industry in the Wangaratta area, up until production ceased in 2006, and these two storey high tin constructions are an interesting and picturesque remnant of the era.
After soaking in the serenity of the lake for a while, we headed up to Powers Lookout. Here we enjoyed a cut lunch before tackling the steep staircases to the lookout for panoramic views of the King Valley now stretched out below us.
For something different, we took the road through Archerton and Tatong back towards Wangaratta, and a ways off the beaten track we came to Stringybark Creek. Here we found the Kelly Tree. It holds a replica of Ned Kelly's armour which the tree is slowly claiming as it grows around the metal suit.
A short walk through the trees and old mine shafts took us to the actual site where the Kelly Gang had their infamous shoot out with the Mansfield police, killing three police officers in the battle. This was one of the last major Ned Kelly locations we were yet to visit, so it was interesting to fit this piece into the puzzle, after visiting the graves of Michael Kennedy, Thomas Lonigan and Michael Scanlan in Mansfield many years ago.
Today is New Year's Eve and that should probably mean that we are going to stay up until midnight and celebrate, but instead we stayed in, enjoyed a home-cooked meal and watched the 9 o'clock fireworks over the neighbour's roofs before heading to bed, as we anticipate that tomorrow will be a big day.