Benalla

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Benalla is situated mid-way between Euroa and Wangaratta on the main road and rail route between Melbourne and Sydney. Benalla's busy commercial center begins at the eastern bank of Lake Benalla, mainly centred along the thoroughfare of Bridge Street and neighboring Nunn Street. Historic buildings in the town center include the Commercial Hotel (built in 1860), the town hall (1882) and the National Bank. In 1974, the Broken River, which the town lies on, was dammed, creating an attractive and wide waterway known as Lake Benalla. Swimming and boating activities are popular on the lake which is surrounded by parkland and walking tracks. On the western bank of the river lies the town's botanical gardens which feature an art gallery, the Sir Weary Dunlop memorial statue and Benalla's famous rose gardens which are home to a large variety of colorful roses. The eastern bank of Lake Benalla is lined with a recreational park adjacent to the council offices and a network of bicycle and walking tracks which traverse the several islands that exist in the lake. North-east of Benalla is the Winton Motor Raceway which hosts car, motorcycle and super kart racing. Near the raceway is Lake Mokoan. This artificial lake was created in 1971 by flooding an extensive wetland system resulting in a large body of water of almost 8,000 hectares in size which was used for irrigation and recreation purposes. Due to water quality issues, plans are in place to decommission the lake and return it back to its natural wetland state, providing a habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna. The attractive holiday township of Bright is situated on the scenic Great Alpine Road between Porepunkah and Harrietville in the beautiful Ovens Valley. Bright is a popular tourist center due to its close proximity to the mountain and ski resorts of Mount Buffalo, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, and other natural attractions such as the Alpine National Park and Mount Buffalo National park. The commercial center of Bright extends from the Great Alpine Road to the war memorial tower located at the roundabout in front of the Alpine Hotel, and then south along the wide boulevard of Ireland Street. The towering mountains of the Victorian Alps provide a scenic backdrop in all directions from the town centre. A number of attractive parks and reserves are located within Bright. Howitt Park stretches along the Ovens River from Star Road to Morses Creek, while Centenary Park continues along the Ovens River from the Morses Creek junction and out to Mountbatten Road. Both parks feature attractive picnic spots and grassy areas which extended right down to the river. There is a water slide and designated swimming area at the junction of the Ovens River and Morses Creek, accessible via a footbridge. To fully appreciate Bright, several lookouts located within the surrounding mountains provide good views over the town and adjacent forests.

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