Famous for its glorious autumn colours, Bright is a popular year-round destination in the foothills of the alps and a gateway to Mt Hotham and Falls Creek. Skiers make a beeline through Bright in winter, but it’s a lovely base for exploring the Alpine National Park, paragliding, fishing and kayaking on local rivers, bushwalking and exploring the region’s wineries.
Victoria’s largest and busiest ski resort is also the closest major resort to Melbourne, so it buzzes all winter long. It’s also developing into a popular summer destination for mountain bikers and hikers, with a range of cross-country and downhill trails. The downhill-skiing area covers 180 hectares, with a vertical drop of 400m.
Mansfield is the gateway to Victoria’s largest snowfields at Mt Buller, but also an exciting all-seasons destination in its own right. There’s plenty to do here in The Man from Snowy River country, with horse riding and mountain biking popular in summer, and a buzzing atmosphere in winter when the snow bunnies hit town.
Mt Beauty & the Kiewa Valley
Huddled at the foot of Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong (1986m), on the Kiewa River, Mt Beauty and its twin villages of Tawonga and Tawonga South are the gateways to Falls Creek ski resort. It’s reached by a steep and winding road from Bright, with some lovely alpine views.
Lake Eildon & Around
Surrounding most of its namesake lake, Lake Eildon National Park is the low-lying southern gateway to the High Country, covering over 270 sq km and providing superb opportunities for walking and camping. Originally called Sugarloaf Reserve, Lake Eildon was created as a massive reservoir for irrigation and hydroelectric schemes.
An old gold-mining town nestled in beautiful hills and valleys east of Beechworth, ‘Yack’, as it’s universally known, is original enough to be classified by the National Trust. You might even recognise it as the setting for the 2004 film Strange Bedfellows, starring Paul Hogan and Michael Caton.
High in the hills, historic Omeo is a pretty town reached after the winding drive up from the coast or down from the mountains. This is the southern access route to Mt Hotham and Falls Creek and the main town on the eastern section of the Great Alpine Rd. The road is sometimes snowbound in winter, so always check conditions before heading this way.
Baw Baw National Park
Baw Baw National Park, an offshoot of the Great Dividing Range, is the southernmost region of Victoria’s High Country. The Baw Baw Plateau and the forested valleys of the Thomson and Aberfeldy Rivers are wonderful places for bushwalking, with marked tracks through subalpine vegetation, ranging from open eucalypt stands to wet gullies and tall forests on the plateau.