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Published March 10th 2017
Two absolutely beautiful gardens in the one location
Can you tell me a bit about the history of Merriwa Park?
Merriwa Park was originally named 'Merriwa Gardens' - 'Merriwa' was thought to be an Aboriginal term which means "rich flat ground at the bend of a river". This beautiful area with sweeping lawns was officially opened in August 1905, with many of the River Red Gums planted at the time still in the park today. Neighbouring park Kaluna Park is known as a "natural partner" of Merriwa Park, with bush walking tracks which provide great opportunities to view local Indigenous plants.
Merriwa Park is a vast area of lush green, encompassing beautiful walking paths, an encircling lagoon, and even amazing art sculptures. Plus, with facilities for the whole family thrown in, you've got yourself the perfect location for a family and friends gathering away from the city. The park itself is actually located below street level - it can be accessed either by driving down to the carpark, or taking the scenic route and walking down the steps from the street. Being below street level makes Merriwa Park a little bit cooler (temperature wise) and as such is a cool retreat from the rest of the town. There's also plenty of shade in many areas of the park, mainly provided by the majestic gum trees mentioned earlier. Oh, and don't forget to stop and smell the beautiful roses as you meander through Merriwa Park!
What facilities are available for families at Merriwa Park?
Merriwa Park is a great place for a meal in a park with your family, whether you choose to pack and bring your own prepared food, or bring food to be cooked on site using the free electric barbecue they have available. There are plenty of park benches to go round, under the canopy of the impressive gum trees; otherwise, opt to lay out a picnic mat in the expansive green grassy area that calls Merriwa Park home. This expansive open area is also great for those with little ones who can run around and have a ball, doing what kids do best. There's also a playground too, with slides, swings, and everything in between.
I thought you'd never ask! Merriwa Park is found in the town of Wangaratta, a cathedral city approximately 250km northeast of Melbourne. Wangaratta is believed to be derived from an Indigenous language, meaning "nesting place of cormorants" or "meeting of the waters". It takes approximately two and a half hours by car to get from Melbourne's central business district to Wangaratta - it's a great weekend escape from the city without having to spend hours in the car. There's also heaps of other great attractions nearby, including Ryan's Lookout (Wangandary - 15 minute drive) and the town of Ned Kelly's last stand (Glenrowan - 15 minute drive). Plus, just across the road from Merriwa Park is the Wangaratta Rose Gardens, where there is a gorgeous array of brightly coloured roses on display. Entry is free! There's even a beautiful gazebo in the centre of the gardens, which would make a great place for a photoshoot for special occasions.