Omeo is a small town in East Gippsland, located in an attractive open and undulating plain, surrounded by high mountain ranges.
It is 400 km east of Melbourne on the Great Alpine Road at the edge of the Snowy Mountains and is the commercial hub for the Tambo and Omeo Valleys. The Omeo region encompasses the towns of Omeo, Cobungra, Benambra, Swifts Creek, Ensay, Cassilis and Tambo Crossing.
The name “Omeo” is derived from the Aboriginal word for “mountains” or “hills“. The first reported sighting of the area was by the naturalist John Lhotsky from the southern alps in 1834. The area was first visited by stockmen who drove stock through the region as early as 1835. The town boomed with the discovery of gold in 1845; the goldrush reaching its peak in the 1860s. As the gold ran out, cattle and sheep grazing took over as the town’s major industry. Remnants of the town’s gold-mining history can be found a few kilometres west of Omeo at the Oriental Claims Historic Area which is the highest alluvial gold field in Australia.
The town centre is situated on the slope of a hill along Day Avenue, offering scenic views over many historical buildings.
The A.M. Pearson Historical Park, in the town centre, consists of the most intact and original Justice Precinct in Australia.
It features the town’s original courthouse (year 1865), post office (1890s), gaol built of logs (1858), blacksmith shop, stables and waterwheel.
The “new” courthouse is still an operational court on two occasions every year and at other times is open as part of the historic park. Omeo Historical Society manages the park on behalf of East Gippsland Shire.
An extensive recreational park extends from the town centre at Day Avenue right down to Livingstone Creek and features walking tracks, a rotunda and a swimming area in a wide section of the creek.
Omeo Region Visitor Information Centre is located at 152 Day Avenue, which is diagonally opposite the Post Office, at the entrance to the town. A place of interest is the German Cuckoo Clock Shop (199 Day Ave) which displays a wide range of hand-crafted cuckoo clocks.
Scenic lookouts around Omeo include the Kozsciusko Lookout just outside the town along the Great Alpine Road and the McMillans Lookout. The alpine resorts of Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham are located less than an hour drive west of Omeo. Take a wine and gold drive from Omeo or Swifts Creek and discover the Cassilis historical area, once among the richest goldfields in the state. Or go four-wheel driving along the 17-km Knocker Track.
Fishing is a popular activity in the many creeks and waterways in the area. The Cobungra River, Bundara River, Big River and Mitta Mitta River around nearby Anglers Rest, as well as the Tambo River, all provide good trout fishing. White water rafting can be done on the Mitta Mitta River.
Omeo hosts the Omeo Plains Mountain Festival in December and January each year, a market and rodeo and polo match at Cobungra around Easter and an agricultural show in November.