One of my favourite places to visit in Benalla is the Art Gallery. The Gallery sits on the banks of the lake, and can be seen clearly as you walk across the bridge that cuts through the town centre. The Gallery is nestled within the Benalla Botanical Gardens. There is a walking track around the lake, and I love to stroll along the path, through the rose gardens and finally wind up at the Art Gallery.
The Gallery building itself is a very unusual shape. It’s pointed roof reminds me of the Sydney Opera House a little. There is a painting of Ned Kelly by Sidney Nolan on the side of the building.
The Gallery is open every day of the week, from 10am to 5pm. There are two main galleries and entry to the gallery is free. During my lifetime, they have had a spectacular array of exhibitions, including local artists, knitted tea-cosies, indigenous art, Australiana and even an exhibition on the inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci. It’s well worth a visit, and is the perfect way to while away a rainy afternoon.
If you’re looking for a place to catch up for coffee, The Gallery Café is just the place for you. It’s beautifully quiet, with both indoor and outdoor seating. There are loads of umbrellas outside to provide you with the perfect amount of shade. Whether you’re sitting inside or outside, you’re guaranteed a perfect view of the lake, thanks to the massive windows that run along the side of the café.
The café have a delicious breakfast and lunch menu. However, the thing that keeps me coming back again and again is their gorgeous selection of cakes. They usually have at least six sweet treats to choose from, with everything from flourless orange cake to friands to Mars Bar cake. They also do a mean berry cheesecake. Of all the delicious temptations they have on offer, their lemon tart is my absolute favourite. The crust is firm and buttery, and the lemon filling literally melts in your mouth. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart and I adore it. It’s usually served with whipped cream and berries, and I personally think it goes down even better when accompanied by a pot of Earl Grey tea.
The Gallery is very special to me because it’s a wonderful source of inspiration and culture, and an excellent place to relax and enjoy some incredible food. In fact, I adore it so much that I had my 21st birthday party there. It’s a marvellous place, and if you do ever happen to be in the area, you should certainly check it out.