Wangaratta and the surrounding rural communities offer a year full of festivals, celebrations and events that attract people from across the country and in some cases from around the world. Events such as the annual Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Swap Meet are all centrally located, and across the region there are wine and food events which are hugely popular. Wangaratta also offers an excellent selection of accommodations from which to explore and enjoy some of the many events that are held in nearby communities such as Beechworth, Myrtleford, Bright, Rutherglen and Yarrawonga. Wangaratta is also host to regular markets, youth events, senior citizen events and sporting competitions including Australian Rules Football, netball, squash and swimming.

One of the great things about Wangaratta is its central location to a number of regional attractions. Whether you are planning on visiting the natural wonders around the Warby Ranges or wineries of the King Valley and Rutherglen Wangaratta is a convenient location. If you are travelling to the snowfields then Bright is a comfortable drive and for a taste of history Glenrowan and Beechworth are close by. Wangaratta’s own Performing Arts Centre hosts regular shows. There are also a number of annual, seasonal and special attractions across the region that attract large numbers of visitors to the region each year. If you are planning on visiting during the holiday season be sure to book your accommodation early as rooms do fill up.

If you are looking for something unique then one of the many regular Wangaratta and regional markets are a great place to begin your search. Each year residents and visitors alike can enjoy markets such as the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz Market, Oxley Bush Market, Wangaratta Swap Meet as well as those close to Wangaratta in Mansfield, Yarrawonga, Jamieson, Myrtleford, Beechworth, Peechelba, Rutherglen and Benalla. These markets include everything from clothes and popular foods through to unique handcrafts and gourmet local produce and wines. These markets are a great opportunity to stock up the pantry with all your favourites from one convenient location and in many cases by dealing with the producer direct.

The King Valley is a wonderful area which is easily reached from Wangaratta. The King Valley is famous for its excellent wineries and a variety of natural attractions. Whitfield is the hub of many of the King Valleys attractions with Paradise Falls, Lake William Hovell and Powers Lookout all within easy reach and each is certainly worth the drive.

The Warby Ranges is only a 10km drive from central Wangaratta and is officially known as the Warby-Ovens National Park. It offers a variety of spots for family picnics and natural experiences such as Ryan’s Lookout, Briens Gorge Falls, The Forest Camp and Pine Gully. Fishing, Camping, Walking, Bike Riding and Gem Prospecting is also available in some areas.

There is a good selection of Wangaratta accommodation available to suit all budgets and needs. Offered within central Wangaratta as well as the surrounding communities travelers will find and excellent variety of motels, hotels, pubs, caravan parks, cottages and guest houses specifically catering for both short and longer stay temporary accommodation. There is plenty of accommodation in the heart of Wangaratta plus the nearby regions of the King Valley, Glenrowan, Milawa, Eldorado and many other also have some excellent accommodation choices. Furthermore, with the region hosting a large number of annual festivals, celebrations and events, accommodation can be scarce. For that reason if you require Wangaratta accommodation be sure to book early.

Paradise Falls is one of those places that is often overlooked by visitors to the King Valley but for those that make the effort they are well rewarded. The short walk from the car park leads you down a series of rocky steps into the ravine below that gets cooler and more welcoming as you approach the falls. Be sure to visit after recent rains as the water flow does dry up in the warmer months There are some very interesting conglomerate rock formations along the path and around the falls. If you are particularly lucky you may even see some of the resident Peregrine Falcons that nest in the cliff tops above the falls. Paradise Falls are a great destination for families but do pack a spare set of clothes as the temptation may be to get a bit wet.

William Ah KetWilliam Ah Ket was born on 20 June 1876 at Wangaratta Victoria. He was the only son amongst five children for Ah Ket, storekeeper and grower and buyer of tobacco, and his wife Hing Ung.

William’s father had arrived inVictoriain 1855 and spent his early days in Australia on the goldfields and also established one of the earliest tobacco farms along theKingRiver. He was a respected member of the Wangaratta community.

William was educated at Wangaratta High School and maintained his Chinese heritage with a Chinese home tutor. Given that he was one of the few Australian-born Chinese citizens to be proficient in both Chinese and English he was often used as a court interpreter during his early teens.

It was his father's wish that he should qualify for the law in his countrymen's interests. In 1893 Ah Ket enrolled in law at the University of Melbourne and proceeded to his articled clerk's course in 1898. In 1902 he won the Supreme Court Judges' Prize and completed his articles with Maddock and Jamieson. He was admitted to practice in May 1903. During the 1900’s Ah Ket was an active opponent to both State and Federal restrictive and discriminatory legislation. In 1901 he helped to create a committee to agitate against the proposed immigration restriction bill. He was a member of the Chinese Empire Reform Association of 1904 and of the Anti-Opium League of Victoria, organizations which supported modernisation and social reform among Chinese at home and abroad. He was a delegate to the first interstate Chinese convention held atMelbournein 1905.

As adviser and publicist Ah Ket was prominent in opposition to the Bent government's attempts between 1904 and 1907 to drive the Chinese out of occupations where they competed with Europeans, by requiring licensing of Chinese workers under the Factories and Shops Acts. He defended his people in A Paper on the Chinese and the Factories Acts (Melbourne, 1906), and was co-founder and president of the Sino-Australian Association, which was the first Australian-Chinese club. In 1912-13 Ah Ket visitedChinaas the delegate of the Victorian Chinese Chamber of Commerce to participate in the election of overseas Chinese to the new parliament of the Republic.

He was acting consul-general forChinain 1913-14 and in 1917. On 16 November 1912 Ah Ket married Gertrude Victoria Bullock at the Kew Methodist Church. They had two sons and two daughters. Ah Ket died of arteriosclerosis and renal failure at Malvern on 6 August 1936, and was cremated after an Anglican and Masonic service.