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Bright, Victoria

Australia

The visionaries of years past must have been able to foresee that Bright today would become a kaleidoscope of magnificent colour during Autumn. Nowadays, if you don't visit Bright during Autumn you will miss one of Australia's most colourful landscapes - a photographers' dream.

Activities abound all year round. You can cycle along the 94 lilometres of sealed rail trail from Bright, paraglide, abseil, go caving, take a 4WD adventure tour, or explore the scenery on one of many walks.

There are a whole host of walking trails around Bright which are great for bush walkers and cyclists. There are often fabulous lookouts along the way, giving spectacular views of the surrounding area. If you want to look at the area from a different view, then hold on tight to one of the popular hang gliders.

Around the town there is an interesting museum where you can learn about the history of the area, as well as a winery and the pretty Centenary Park.

Cold means snow and Bright is the ideal home base for the winter sport enthusiast.  Three major snow resorts can be accessed easily from Bright with Mt. Buffalo only a 45 minute drive, and Falls Creek and Mt Hotham approximately 75 minutes drive.  Bright can cater for all your snow needs.  Chains, skis, toboggans and clothing can all be hired or bought from local businesses.

The greatest advantage of choosing to base in Bright is that you can pick a different mountain everyday!  Also, Bright is considerably warmer than ‘up top’ and getting back to warmer temperatures, heaps of great places to dine, and just to re-coup far from the madding crowds may be just what you need after a hard days snow romp! 

Aside from access to the snow, Bright is a lovely destination to escape to in winter.  Lots of open fires, fantastic gourmet foods and wines, and plenty of indulgences to pamper you.

In the warmer months, the Ovens and Buckland rivers offer varied water for ripple rafting, canoeing or kayaking.  Local operators can take you on a short trip down part of the calmer but interesting sections of the river or give you a day of instruction and excitement on a more challenging part.

Why not try a float down the river through the small canyon on your own lilo from Centenary Park Bright down stream?

For those wishing for more excitement or to challenge themselves learning a new skill, Mt Buffalo is the place where you can learn to climb, abseil or go caving.

The local Ovens and Buckland Rivers and their tributaries provide good fly fishing with the best times being from October to December. The Ovens River and its tributaries are closed for all fishing from the Queen’s Birthday weekend at the start of June to the first weekend in September.  During this time if you get the urge to eat local trout, try the fish farms at Harrietville (you still catch your own but in a lot less time!) or the local restaurants.  Exactly when the great spring fly fishing starts will vary according to river levels, the temperature of the water and the spring snow thaws.

The foothills of the Victorian Alps are clothed in eucalypt forest and create a picturesque frame for the towns of Bright, Wandiligong, Harrietville and Porepunkah.  In spring the native eucalypt forest, especially those on the drier northern slopes, are rich in wildflowers including native orchids.
Commonly seen birdlife includes King Parrots, Crimsons Rosellas, Satin Bowerbirds, Pied Currawongs, Scarlet Robins and Blue Wrens. You are not likely to see them but these foothill native forests are also home to Sugar Gliders, Feathertail Gliders, Brushtail and Ringtail Possums, Long-nosed Bandicoots, Marsupial Mice (Antechinus) and Bush Rats.

Mt Buffalo National Park is one of Australia’s oldest and most spectacular national parks.  It is renowned for its walking trails which vary from short and sometimes gentle rambles to longer hikes into remote area. 

One of the most popular tracks begins at the top of the sheer 300 metre granite walls of the Gorge.  It leads you past thundering waterfalls, towering granite tors and reveals picture-postcard views of the vineyards and farms of the Buckland Valley.  Another walk that really should be attempted is up to The Horn, the highest peak on the Mt Buffalo plateau.  This is a short climb from the car park, giving the kind of views walkers have come to expect from a high country summit.

The Alpine National Park is Victoria’s largest national park, with ten of the state’s eleven highest mountains, rare fauna and a rich botanical community ranging from alpine herb fields to snow gum woodlands.  The park offers a tremendous variety of alpine walks ranging from an hour to several days.  You can choose an easy wildflower walk in summer or make a day of it and walk to vantage points where you can see Mt Buffalo, Mt Feathertop, the Bogong High Plains and the Kiewa Valley.

The Great Alpine Road, a 308-kilometre route from Wangaratta through Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain to Bairnsdale, is an extraordinary drive at any time of year (please note chains must be carried during the winter months). It packs a powerful scenic punch, taking you past valleys, mountains, forests, rivers, vineyards, farms and historic villages before arriving at Bairnsdale, near the ocean, in Gippsland.

The Mount Buffalo drive takes you from Bright-Porepunkah-Mount Buffalo-Porepunkah and back to Bright. It’s the best way to ensure you see the Mount Buffalo National Park on your travels. Alternatively leave Bright for the nearby heritage-listed village of Wandiligong, before heading back toward Harrietville, Mount Hotham, Dinner Plain and Omeo.

Wineries in the area have won many awards for their cool climate wines.  There are several at Porepunkah and also Gapsted, Myrtleford, Rosewhite and Mt. Beauty just to name a few!  All have stunning wines, locations and views.  Many of the regional wineries also provide an impressive dining menu for lunch and some also provide entertainment on special occasions.

The many restaurants and cafés in and around the Bright area can cater for every taste and any budget. Local restaurateurs experiment with the diverse ‘A grade’ quality local produce to make the most of what this resource rich area has to offer.

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