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Visit Leongatha in the foothills of Victoria's Strzelecki Ranges and gain an appreciation of the rich history of South Gippsland. This prime dairy district is home to the largest co-operative dairy in the southern hemisphere. Originally settled on cleared forests of the western Strzeleckis, Leongatha and the surrounding countryside were dotted with rich dairy farms from the 1870s onwards. The opening of the South Gippsland Railway in 1892 boosted development as more forests were cleared to make way for cattle grazing. Coal mining was also an important industry for the region between the 1880s to 1958. Take a walk through time - or a ride on the bush tramway - at Coal Creek Community Park and Museum, featuring interesting and informative displays and tours of the history of coal in Victoria. Friendly animals may make unexpected appearances at picnics around the park. Wineries including Bellvale, Lucinda Estate and the revered Bass Phillip will give you a taste of Gippsland in a glass. Check cellar door opening times for a viticultural tour. Experience a wide range of cultural events and festivals at Leongatha throughout the year. The town also boasts numerous shops, galleries and museums devoted to the local arts and crafts of the region. Around Leongatha, discover numerous tracks and trails, like the Great Southern Rail Trail, that offer relaxing walks through its undulating and captivating scenery. Leongatha is less than two hours from Melbourne. Travel south-east along the Monash Freeway to the South Gippsland Highway.