“The oldest town in the Flinders” the sign read as we drove into Melrose late in the afternoon after just completing the Bridal 4wd track. What a cute little town we both thought as we made our way around the streets in awe of the beautiful stone buildings set against the outstanding backdrop of Mt Remarkable. Accidentally stumbling across the old Jacka Brewery building we just had to take photo. The stone work was glowing in the afternoon sun as we read the information board. “We have to come back here tomorrow” I said.
And that we did !
Just after lunch the following day we returned to Melrose to walk around the town and to find out a little more history and information on this beautiful little town.
The town could be a set from an old movie, nestled into the foot of Mt Remarkable and so rustic in charm that you immediately warm to the nature of it. Maybe it was just the warm summer afternoon sun that made the town glow and gave off such a welcoming feeling. Whatever it was it certainly captured our attention.
If the photos have intrigued you and this sounds like a spot you would like to visit, here’s our list of things to do in Melrose.
On entering town from the north you will see Paradise Park and what a beautiful shady green park it is. With a gas bbq, picnic tables and toilet facilties, it’s a great spot for lunch. Upon reading the board out the front we soon realised that it was more than just a beautiful park, it held a very historical place in the town. Between 1846 and 1872 it was the site of the cemetery before the new one had been surveyed. While some of the graves had been moved to the new cemetery , others are still there.
The Melrose Heritage Museum
Wow , we definitely didn’t expect the five building full of information and artefacts but it was a great way to spend few hours meandering through the old courthouse and holding cells. “You can put the boys in the holding cells as long as you like ” said the man at the enterence, “it’s soundproof so we won’t here them”! Tempting but no, the boys and I just put Carlo in there for a bit and the boys had a good old laugh. It’s worth every cent of the five dollars per adult admission fee !
Open : 2 pm – 5 pm daily
Admission price : Adults $5
The Old Swing Bridge
Now who can resist an old wooden swing bridge ? Not us and nor could our boys. How many times did we cross it ? I couldn’t tell you, we lost count at about 10. The swing bridge is located near the caravan park on Joes Rd Melrose.
Located on Survey Road just before you hit the dirt road that leads to the Bridal Track, you’ll notice an overgrown park setting below a cliff face. If you look closely at the stone it is actually rippled, just like that of the ocean floor. An interesting bit of Geology.
The Old Jakka Brewery
“The best beer ever made they reckon “! The Jakka Brewery was established in 1877 and this family owned brewery defined the town of Melrose for the next 57 years until it’s closure due to bankruptcy during the Great Depression. Today the building still stands, retaining a vital part of the towns history and makes for some beautiful photographs in the afternoon sun.
Hotels in Melrose
We visited the two hotels in this quaint little town, Mount Remarkable Hotel for an afternoon refreshment, (can’t beat a cider on summers afternoon ) and the North Star Hotel for a pub classic schnitzel. The North Star has been refurbished and oozes with character, corrugated iron clad walls and counter, bar stools made from old tools and tables made from solid slabs of timber whilst you sit on chairs made of canvas. Dining outside on the deck you are also treated with the spectacular view of Mount Remarkable. And to top it all off the food was just as great and we enjoyed a locally know treat for dessert, the Quaondong pie.
If you do visit the North Star Hotel you just might glimpse some unusual looking trucks with little houses on the back of them from the car park. This is one of the accomodation options the hotel offers and would be such a memorable way to spend your time at Melrose.
For more info : www.thenorthstarhotel.com.au
It’s pretty hard to miss the towering mountain that overshadows this quaint little town. At 960 meters high this impressive mountain is home to some great bush walks and mountain bike trails.
Mountain Bike Riding
Come autumn Melrose comes alive with many people taking advantage of some great mountain bike trails in the area, in particular the ones situated on Mt Remarkable and the Mawson trail.
War Memorial Lookout
Located high on the hill overlooking the town of Melrose and the Willochra Plains is the War Memorial lookout. The views from here are spectacular and with picnic tables provided, it’s a great spot to stop and have lunch. A number of walking trails also start from this point but as we visited on a total fire ban day we weren’t able to do any of them ( was a tad bit too hot as well ).
The Cheese Tree
If you do visit the old courthouse museum you may come across the story of Edy and George Bishop, a farming family who built their house 3km north of Melrose on the banks of the Willochra River. They used one of the gums on their property to help in the process of pressing cheese. The remains of this tree are cemented in its original location 3km north of Melrose on the Horrocks Highway
And only a stones throw down the road is
The Bridal track for any 4wdrivers looking for an easy track to tackle with spectacular views.
For the kiddies
Located in the main part of town is another beautiful park with a great playground for the little ones. And I would have to say it was a playground with a magnificent view !
At a Glance
Where : Melrose is located in the southern Flinders Ranges roughly 270 km North of Adelaide.
Best time to visit: April through to November although we visited in January and it was just amazing!
More Info : www.melrose-mtremarkable.org.au