Sugar Beet Historic Museum, Maffra Historical Society

Population 4151

Maffra, settled in the 1840s, has the charm and old-style hospitality of another era. Named after Maffra in Portugal because many of the early Gippsland settlers had fought in that area of Europe during the Peninsula War, the town's early days were fraught with drought until a sugar beet industry established in the 1890s provided a major boost. The Glenmaggie Irrigation Scheme of 1919 also signalled a new heyday and ensured the viable and lengthy success of today's dairy industry. The sugar beet factory closed in 1948 owing to World War II's labour shortages and the competing dairy industry, but Maffra continues to support its rich agricultural surrounds. It also holds a great sense of history in its original shop verandahs and grand homesteads.

Visitor Information

96 Johnson St; (03) 5141 1811

Nearby national parks

  • Mitchell River National Park

    Stunning river scenery, thickets of temperate rainforest, idyllic fern gullies and tracts of rugged countryside are the background to a wide...more

  • The Lakes National Park

    The Lakes National Park in Gippsland is a birdwatcher’s paradise, a tranquil retreat edged by the blue waters of Victoria and Reeve...more

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

Nearby towns

  • Sale vic

    Situated by the Thomson River near the Latrobe River junction, Sale grew on the back of the gold rush and became Gippsland's first city in...more

  • Traralgon

    Traralgon is one of the Latrobe Valley's largest towns; a commerical hub located on the main Gippsland rail and road routes. Primarily a...more

  • Walhalla

    This tiny goldmining town is tucked away in dense mountain country in Gippsland – in a steep, narrow valley with sides so sheer that...more

In Town

Sugar Beet Historic Museum: local history museum with special interest in the sugar beet industry; open Sun afternoon; River St.

Mineral and gemstone display: large collection of rare gemstones and fossils at the information centre; Johnson St.

All Seasons Herb Garden: Foster St.

Gippsland Vehicle Collection: outstanding rotating display of interesting vehicles; located in a historic vegetable-dehydrating factory; Maffra–Sale Rd; (03) 5147 3223.

Gippsland Plains Rail Trail: recreational trail for cycling and walking that passes through town; still under development but when complete will link Stratford in the east to Traralgon in the west by traversing dairy country.


Stratford: the scenic Avon River flows through town. Knobs Reserve is a site where the local Aboriginal people once sharpened axe heads on sandstone grinding stones – it is part of the Bataluk Cultural Trail, which takes in significant Indigenous sites throughout East Gippsland. Stratford hosts the Shakespeare Celebration in May; 9 km E.

Australian Wildlife Art Gallery and Sculpture: Princes Hwy near Munro; 25 km E.

Robotic Dairy: the first Australian dairy farm to install 4 'Astronaut Milking Robots' where the cows decide when to be milked; open on public visitor days or by appt; Toongabbie Rd, Winnindoo; (03) 5199 2212; 26 km W.

Lake Glenmaggie: popular watersports venue; 42 km NW via Heyfield.

Alpine National Park: sprawls from Licola, 75 km NW, to the NSW border. Near Licola is Lake Tali Karng, which lies 850 m above sea level and is a popular bushwalking destination during the warmer months.

Scenic drives: the Traralgon to Stratford Tourist Route highlights attractions of the area. For stunning scenery, drive north along Forest Rd, through the Macalister River Valley to Licola and Mt Tamboritha in Alpine National Park; or to Jamieson (166 km NW via Heyfield), with access to snowfields or Lake Eildon.

Fishing spots near town

Lake Victoria 56 km

This lake joins Lake King at the popular boating and fishing town Paynesville, opposite Raymond Island. The piers on both sides of McMillan Strait here are popular with anglers, especially lure fishers who have found the... Find out more

Mitchell River 62 km

The estuary section of the Mitchell River begins at the rock barrier, about 5 km upstream from Bairnsdale. Bream are caught all the way through to where the silt jetties enter Lake King. The jetties look like two long... Find out more

Nicholson River 68 km

The Nicholson is the shortest of the three waterways in the Bairnsdale area and is more affected by thawing snow than rainfall. The stretch near the railway bridge can be productive. A scenic waterway, it has limited... Find out more

Metung 75 km

Metung, on the western shore of Bancroft Bay, is a major centre for the cruise-boat industry. Whether you own one or want to hire a live- aboard boat for a few days, Metung is a prime spot. Surprisingly, for a town so... Find out more

Tambo River 77 km

The Tambo River is renowned for the quality of its bream fishing. From the mouth of the river at Lake King upstream past Johnsonville and Swan Reach, anglers can access long stretches of sheltered water above and below... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Mitchell River National Park 48 km

Although only 11 900 hectares in size, this rugged national park contains some of the best forest country in Gippsland. Great for experienced rafters, kayakers and canoeists, it also has some superb bushwalks. With a... Find out more

Baw Baw National Park 59 km

This 13 300-hectare national park cradles the low-key ski resort at Mount Baw Baw, the closest downhill ski resort to Melbourne. Near the resort are 10 kilometres of groomed cross-country trails (and you can hire gear at... Find out more

Campsites around town

Dermody Camp camping area 19 km

Dermody Camp is in the north-eastern section of Avon–Mt Hendrick Scenic Reserve and offers campers flat sites next to easy swimming in the Avon River. From here you can walk westwards for 9 km along the Avon River... Find out more

The Quarries camping area 19 km

The Freestone Creek Rd slices roughly north–south through Briagolong State Forest, and it’s off this thin thoroughfare that the majority of the forest’s campgrounds lie. The first one you reach when... Find out more

Huggetts Crossing camping area 21 km

This camping area is at the western edge of the reserve, and is connected to Dermody Camp by the enchanting Avon River Trail. South of here you can get superb forest views from the Green Hill and Huggett lookouts, or... Find out more

Valencia Creek camping area 21 km

On the other side of Briagolong State Forest from Freestone Creek is the equally fetching Valencia Creek. Alongside this waterway, 8 km north of tiny Valencia Creek township and reached via the Valencia... Find out more

Blue Pool camping area 24 km

Blue Pool is a fantastic, deep swimming hole in a gorge on Freestone Creek, and one of the most popular spots in the state forest on a hot day. After your swim, you can walk a couple of hundred metres to a lookout over... Find out more

Froam camping area 24 km

The Froam camping area is 500 m beyond Blue Pool along Freestone Creek Rd, close enough that you can make the most of the popular swimming hole, as well as the engaging walks that radiate out from it. That said, Froam is... Find out more

McKinnon Point camping area 25 km

Between the Froam and Carney Creek camping areas sits McKinnon Point, some 14 km north of Briagolong along Freestone Creek Rd. If you feel like disappearing on a long walk into the gums and stringybarks, consider... Find out more

Carney Creek camping area 27 km

Carney Creek is a small camping area signposted off Freestone Creek Rd just to the north of McKinnon Point. When you’ve had your fill of swimming in the creek, why not drive or hike up to the lookout on nearby Mt... Find out more

Harrier Swamp camping area 29 km

The short walking track around Harrier will provide a good introduction to swamp life. This low-key camping spot is at the western edge of Holey Plains State Park, and can be accessed by turning off Limestone Quarry Rd... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Stratford On The River Tourist Park 8 km

This is a good quality park with a range of accommodation, just a short 600-metre walk from the centre of the small town. There are good facilities and it is ideally located for overnight stops or longer stays. Bookings... Find out more

Sale Motor Village 17 km

This caravan park is alongside the highway, just 1 km west of the town centre. It is a good base for exploring the area or a convenient overnight stop. Bookings are required during peak periods and a minimum-length stay... Find out more

90 Mile Beach Holiday Retreat 49 km

This camping park on a private farming property is just a stroll away, over the sand dunes, from the fabulous Ninety Mile Beach. The owner-operated park is reached via some 5 km of unsealed access road but the journey is... Find out more

Rawson Caravan Park 51 km

Close to Walhalla, Thomson Dam, the forests and the mountains, this little-known park is an excellent base for exploring the local area. It has good facilities, including a bistro. Bookings are required in peak periods... Find out more

Traralgon Park Lane Holiday Park 52 km

This is a very good quality park with gleaming amenities and excellent facilities. The park is about 2 km east of town, on the highway. It is a great base to explore the Latrobe Valley and surrounding areas.... Find out more

Mitchell Gardens Holiday Park 60 km

This park is at the river end of the main street (Princes Highway), just 500 metres from the centre of town. With beautifully maintained surrounds, the park is located on the banks of the Mitchell River. Bookings are... Find out more

Bairnsdale Holiday Park 61 km

There are many caravan parks in Bairnsdale but this is one of the few with a large number of tourist sites. Located on the Princes Highway, it is well suited to a family holiday or just a couple of nights. Bookings are... Find out more

Lake King Waterfront Caravan Park 62 km

With absolute lake frontage, this neat park has its own jetties and boat ramp and there are waterfront van sites available. This is good value. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies to... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Willows rest area 25 km

1km NE of Rosedale (L) or 25km SW of Sale (R)

Large grassed area just off the highway.

Providence Ponds rest area 26 km

17km E of Stratford (R) or 35km W of Bairnsdale (L)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Blind Joe Creek park area 28 km

21km E of Traralgon (R) or 2km W of Rosedale (L)

Just off the highway near the caravan park.

Traralgon park area 51 km

32km E of Trafalgar (L) or 7km W of Traralgon (R)

Adjacent to the highway among a few trees.

Nicholson park area 69 km

At Nicholson

Overlooking the river on the east side of town.

Trafalgar park area 77 km

At Trafalgar

Middle of town via the service road.

What's on around town

Gippsland Harvest Festival: Mar.

Mardi Gras: Mar.

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