Photo: Victoria - High Country Snow
In winter, the Victoria High Country is home to premier snowfields, such as Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek - all of which have a wide range of on-mountain accommodation. For the rest of the year, fishing, hiking and long scenic drives. There are also acclaimed wineries that you can visit in the nearby Murray and Gippsland.
Closer to Melbourne, Mt Baw Baw offers gentle slopes for beginners and snow-play, while Lake Mountain and Mt Stirling are prominent cross-country skiing destinations. There is great hiking there with stunning scenery in the Mt Baw Baw National Park.
Traversing through the beautiful high plains of Victoria and winding its way through some of the state’s most majestic alpine peaks, this 308 kilometre touring route takes travellers through some of Victoria’s most scenic areas.
Travelling from Wangaratta in Victoria’s north-east to Bairnsdale in the heart of Gippsland, it peaks at 1,825 metres before descending through a spectacular array of local sights to the wide open spaces of the Gippsland Lakes on the East Coast of Victoria.
Start in Wangaratta, a historic town renowned for its hospitality and popular annual jazz festival. Known also for its fine food and wine, there are gourmet cheeses available from nearby Milawa. Here also is the famed Brown Brothers winery, which sells world-class muscats and fortified wines at the cellar door.
While at the northern end of the journey, take a side trip to Beechworth, a village built on the wealth of the gold rush of the 1800s. Here you can explore the historic granite buildings, including the courthouse where the final trial of bushranger Ned Kelly was held.
In Bright, a beautiful town on the Ovens River, there are grand deciduous trees and Simone’s of Bright, one of Victoria’s great restaurants.
The most compelling reason for many to take this journey is, of course, the high country.
In winter snow brings skiers to the downhill runs and cross-country trails of the region’s resorts. In summer these areas are transformed into a favourite destination for bushwalkers, horse riders, cyclists, fishermen, campers and 4WD enthusiasts.
Continuing through Omeo, the Great Alpine Road journeys south towards Bairnsdale - the only city in East Gippsland. Originally settled as an inland port, Bairnsdale sits on the banks of the Mitchell River. Its also the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes, where boating, fishing and windswept ocean beaches complement the gourmet producers of the area.
Follow the coast road to Melbourne, touching the Australian mainland’s southernmost point, Wilsons Promontory National Park. From unspoiled sandy beaches to eucalypt rainforests, Prom Country offers striking scenic landscapes.
In the green hills and stunning coastal landscape of Gippsland, find evidence of the regions Aboriginal past. Visit Wilson’s Promontory National Park, a place of immense significance for the Aboriginal people of Victoria. Stop in at the Krowathunkaloong Keeping Place in Bairnsdale to see examples of the skilled craftsmanship of traditionally made baskets, spears, shields and canoes.
At this museum one can see a wonderful collection of artefacts, art and information about the history and culture of the traditional owners of the land.
37-53 Dalmahoy Street, Bairnsdale VIC 3875
Phone: +61 3 5152 1891
Keep an eye out for the distinctive yellow i on a blue background sign to locate the nearest accredited Visitor Information Centre, which offers comprehensive information and advice on travel throughout Victoria.
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Photo: Mt Buller - Victoria High Country