In Victoria’s Gippsland region, Moe is part of a series of linked settlements along the industrial Latrobe Valley.
It was a real contrast to the surrounding countryside, where cooling towers and open pit coal mines soon gave way to pastoral dairy farms and large swaths of remaining bushland.
The museums and attractions around Moe are reminiscent of the early days of European settlement and the importance of immigration to Gippsland, while the old industrial railway has become a railway trail for easy walks in the bush.
On the southern slopes of the Great Dividing Range just north of Moe, you can head to the gold rush town of Walhalla, once one of the wealthiest places in Australia, now a ghost town.
1. Old Gippstown – Gippsland Heritage Park
Moe’s main attraction is a much-loved outdoor museum that depicts the European settlement of Gippsland.
Over 40 historic buildings stand on this charming 3-hectare site, dating from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.
These have migrated to Moe from across the region, some outstanding are Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Moe (1889), Buxton’s Working Watermill, Sunny Creek School (1920s), Meeniyan National Bank (1899) and Narracan General Store (1889).
Complementing these buildings are some great collections, such as Australia’s largest motorcade of carriages, as well as antique furniture, books, documents, tools, military, machinery and many humble mayfly fragments that bring the past to life.
2. Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail
Heading east from Bennett Street in the Moe Centre is an 8km trail on the route of a former railway line.
Dating back to the 1950s, the branch joined Moe’s mainline and serviced the Yallourn Power Station, open pit mine and briquettes plant.
The line was closed in the 1980s and is now gravel for a gentle walk into the countryside.
Along the way you will pass through Moe Botanical Gardens and peaceful creek flats with views of haunted hills and Lake Narakan.
On a hot day, you can take a detour to the lake for a swim, while to the east stand the impressive cooling towers and chimneys of the Yallourn Power Station.
3. Edward Hunt Heritage Bush Reserve
What makes Moe special is that the town has a large area of remnant vegetation, one of the last to be found in the Latrobe Valley.
So just a few minutes south of the CBD, you can stroll into native eucalyptus forests along fern-lined creeks and wetland areas traversed by boardwalks.
You can stop at the observation deck to observe the wildlife, and there are helpful maps and information boards detailing the reserve’s flora and fauna species.
Orchids can be seen all year round, while wildflowers are abundant in spring.
The terrain is moderately hilly, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore via trails that branch off from the main track.
4. Narakan Falls
Narracan Creek is about 20km southwest of Moe, winding through rolling farmland to the Latrobe River north of the town.
For a worthwhile excursion, you can take a 15-minute trip south of Moe to this small but picture-perfect waterfall on the creek.
Narracan Falls is about five meters high and is nestled among mature trees and fields dotted with sheep and cattle.
There is a short 50m trail from the car park where you can pack a picnic and spend a little more time in this idyllic spot.
5. Lake Narakan
The northern boundary of the Ministry of Education is formed by a reservoir on the Latrobe River, built in the early 1960s to supply cooling water to a local power station.
And since Lake Narakan does not supply domestic water, it is a honeypot for all kinds of outdoor activities, especially in summer.
Motorized water sports such as jet skis, jet skis and water skis are permitted here, as well as sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
There’s a campground on the south bank and next door is the Moe Golf Club, which has several holes overlooking the water.
At the front of the RV park is the lake’s swimming area with a small sandy beach and a jetty, and at the back there is a grassy hill where you can rest under the gum trees.
6. Moe Botanical Garden
This lovely local park is located on the east side of the CBD and is connected to the Moe-Yallourn rail trail.
There, you’ll find a variety of native and exotic trees, verdant lawns, Narraken Creek and winding paths, as well as picnic tables, barbecue sheds and toilets.
But what makes the garden a home essential is the fantastic railroad-themed playground.
This comes with a bird’s nest swing, flying foxes, a water play area on the riverbed, a sandpit and a scooter to climb.
7. Apex Park
For generations, Moe residents have been bringing their children to this park next to the town’s racetrack.
With an hour or two of leisure time, Apex Park has just about everything you need, as well as being the venue for public outdoor events like the Moe Community Carnival and fireworks displays.
There are tall, mature trees, grass space for ball games, electric BBQ, dog run, ample seating, toilets and shelter.
For the kids, there’s an expansive, all-ability playground with a free swing, alongside a nature play space with a tree house and wood sculptures of animals.
8. Morway Centennial Rose Garden
International quality rose gardens are just a stone’s throw away, right at Morway.
Over 3,500 roses, from new hybrids and traditional classics, are grown on these two hectares, well tended and paved in paved beds.
Climbing roses create a colorful wall of colors and scents, while winding paths meander through beds of rugosa, Austin, Delbard, floribunda, and hybrid tea roses.
On the south side of the garden you can see rose varieties developed in Australia and New Zealand, while on the north side a lovely cottage garden displays old rose varieties.
9. Trafalgar Houghton Museum
Just 10 minutes from Trafalgar, an old 1930s butter factory has been transformed into a mecca for iconic Australian car brand Holden.
It’s the oeuvre of an avid Neil Joiner who has built a sprawling collection that spans Holden’s history as an automaker.
The show’s stars included 1963’s EJ Holden, 1965’s Holden HD Premier and 1967’s Holden HK, none of which clocked more than 21,000km.
Accompanying these models are various accessories, as well as details of the brand’s story, dating back to its early days as harness in the mid-19th century.
10. Latrobe Regional Gallery
Morwell is also home to one of the largest public galleries in eastern Victoria.
This has seven exhibition spaces that host a vibrant exhibition program showcasing the work of regional and national touring artists in a variety of media.
The Latrobe Regional Gallery also has its own fine collection of over 1,400 items, including Australian fine art from all periods, Australian sculpture (displayed in the Sculpture Garden), Asian art, glass works and art gipps related to Australian history Lan area.
The gallery also hosts regular tours, lectures, children’s activities and workshops, and has a great café and gift shop filled with interesting works by Gippsland arts and craftsmen.
11. Moe Outdoor Pool
For families, this communal outdoor pool, open from the end of November to the beginning of March, makes summer in Moe more comfortable.
The facility has been refurbished over the past few years and has an 8 lane 50m exercise pool, as well as a wading pool with beach access for your entertainment and relaxation.
In addition to this, there is a diving pool and an interactive water play area for children.
The entire space is surrounded by expansive grass and shade, along with an electric grill and a pavilion for when you’re hungry.
12. Gippsland Immigration Park
You can learn about the central role migrants played in the development of Gippsland at this beautiful location by Lake Morwey.
The Gippsland Heritage Walk wraps around the coast and guides you past the handsome Kernot Hall, with 72 information panels that provide insight into the area’s past from multiple perspectives, including the history of the indigenous ancient Naikunai people.
An exhibit at the park is the Immigrant Recognition Wall, a granite wall that pays homage to the achievements of local immigrant families.
The panels surround an inspiring statue representing a newly arrived immigrant with a bag in his hands, his eyes shielded from the Australian sun.
13. Tyers Junction Rail Track
The Old Tyers Valley Streetcar is a narrow gauge line built in the 1920s to transport lumber from the slopes of Mount Baw Baw.
The line closed in 1949, but you can hike the old route to the Thales Valley.
The trailhead is on the Moe-Walhalla Road, a rough dirt road that winds its way through the valley on a flat slope for 11 kilometers.
On a small adventure, you will travel through fern-covered valleys, rainforests and creeks.
Visit Moe and you’ll be in a convenient location to venture into the southern end of the Great Dividing Range.
Nearby, in the wooded valley of Stringers Creek is the gold rush town of Walhalla.
In the second half of the 19th century, it became one of the wealthiest places in Australia, but the supply of gold stagnated, and at the last census, only 20 people lived here permanently.
Walhalla is now thriving as a tourist destination, and you can relive the gold rush days in the beautiful Highland scenery, with autumn showing brilliant colors.
The town’s heritage walking trails have more than 30 interpretive signs, and you can view pristine gold mines at the Long Tunnel Extended Mine.
Not to be missed is the Walhalla Goldfields Railway, which criss-crosses Stringers Creek Gorge and crosses an epic trestle that once stretched from Moe to Walhalla.
15. Traralgon Farmers Market
If you happen to be near the city of Latrobe on the fourth Saturday of the month, you can take a short trip east to this award-winning market.
Organised by a local Lions club and located on lovely Kay Street, the farmers market gives you the chance to buy fruit, vegetables, plants, herbs, cheese, eggs, meat, jams, bread, olive oil, tea, pastries, condiments and more. Many, directly from the grower or producer.
There is live music while shopping, and kid-friendly activities like face painting.
Be sure to develop an appetite for some of the tempting food and drinks made on-site, from pies to Chinese street food.
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