10 Things to do in Bright
Victoria’s alpine country offers snow-capped mountains, skiing and cosy chalets in winter; hiking, mountain biking, fishing and wild swimming in summer; and excellent eating and drinking throughout the year. The High Country is a diverse landscape that offers plenty of activities for adventure seekers, couples, food and wine lovers, and families, and the charming town of Bright is at the heart of the action. Surrounded by mountains and located on the Ovens River, Bright and its nearby villages of Porepunkah and Wandiligong offer a huge selection of experiences year-round. Here are 10 things to do in Bright right now.
- Take a gin flight at Reed and Co Distillery
Reed and Co is a small family-operated distillery, bar and restaurant in the heart of Bright that offers a neighbourhood bar experience and traditional distilling methods. Visit the distillery door for tastings of their Remedy Gin, then kick back in the bar for craft cocktails and smart bar snacks. Start with small plates of marinated anchovies, sourdough with seaweed butter and local cheese and charcuterie boards. Then move on to globally influenced dishes such as smoked salmon with koji buttermilk and venison tataki with ponzu and pickled radish. Along with bottles of Remedy Gin, bottled cocktails, tonic water and garnishes are also available for takeaway.
- Float the Ovens River
Whether you’re exploring waterfalls and swimming holes, fly fishing, kayaking or taking a leisurely float in a lilo, the region’s river networks are an endless source of natural entertainment. The Ovens River is dammed at Bright and Porepunkah around Christmas to create natural river swimming pools and one unforgettable summertime experience is to go tubing down the Ovens River from Bright to Porepunkah. For swimming holes along the Ovens and Buckland Rivers, check the Visitor Information centres in town.
- Make a splash
Bright’s Splash Park, Harrietville’s Dredge Hole or Lake Buffalo near Myrtleford are just some of the many family-friendly swimming spots you can visit in the warmer months, while waterfalls, such as Dinner Plain’s Carmichael Falls, Fainter Falls near Bogong Village or Mount Buffalo’s Ladies Bath Falls are a scenic option for those who don’t want to get their feet wet.
- To market, to market
The region is a foodie’s paradise and the best way to meet local growers and try local specialties is at one of the monthly farmers’ markets. Checkout the Make It, Bake It, Grow It farmers market in Howitt Park on the banks of the beautiful Ovens River in Bright on the 3rd Saturday of the month; the Myrtleford Farmers Market on the fourth Saturday of the month; and the Mount Beauty Community Market held at the top end of Hollonds Street and Kiewa Crescent on the first Saturday the month.
- Make a daytrip to Harrietville
Take a short 20-minute drive to Harrietville, a historic town that began as a goldmining settlement during the Victorian Gold Rush. Here, you can cast a line at local trout farm Mountain Fresh Trout and Salmon Farm for a spot of fishing guaranteed to produce results. Then pick your own blueberries at Feathertop Blueberries, a picturesque blueberry farm set in the beautiful alpine hills of Harrietville. Head to the Harrietville Snowline Hotel for lunch before you head back to Bright. There’s a huge outdoor dining area with stunning views and a family-friendly country pub menu.
- Picnic at Mt Buffalo
Grab a picnic pack from the Billy Button Cellar Door, then head up Mt Buffalo for a picnic at Lake Catani – one of the most stunning spots in the region. It also has an amazing campground if you are interested in sleeping under the stars. While you’re there, check out the Mt Buffalo Chalet, which was built in 1910 and is the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s not open to the public frequently, but you can see the amazing façade and gardens. After lunch, take the 1-hour Gorge Heritage Walk and follow in the footsteps of local pioneer ‘Guide Alice’. She was a guide and naturalist who ran her own guesthouse on the mountain at the turn of the century, guiding people up the mountain and pioneering outdoor wear for women with her trademark woollen pantsuit.
- Alt-picnic at Mt Buffalo
An alternative (and slightly more hair-raising) picnic option on Mt Buffalo is a cliff picnic with Bright Adventure Company. You are treated to a spread of local produce, but the catch here is that you’re suspended 300m above the valley floor on a rock-climbing ledge with majestic views in all directions. There are sunrise, lunch or dinner cliff picnic options, and two ledges available for groups of four.
- Horse-riding in the High Country
Take a day trip to Tawonga, where you can saddle up for a scenic horseback tour of the Alpine National Park with Bogong Horseback Adventures. Day rides start at two hours and stretch from a half day to a full day with lunch included. For the full bush ranger experience, overnight pack horse rides traverse the highest of the High Country, with spectacular climbs and descents across wild rivers and diverse landscapes. Campfire meals feature local ingredients and wine, then it’s time to bed down in a swag under the stars.
- Take to the skies
Adventure-seekers can launch into a tandem paraglide over Victoria’s spectacular High Country to take in the amazing scenery from a new angle. Active Flight Paragliding offer tandem flights for beginners and one or two day paragliding introductory courses for dedicated thrill-seekers. For a similar view without the adrenaline rush, take a scenic helicopter flight with Hilife Helicopters, who offer scenic flights and tours over Bright, Mt Buffalo and Mt Hotham starting from $85.
- Take a guided and catered hike
For people who are equally passionate about food, wine and walking, Hedonistic Hiking offer all-inclusive guided, catered walking holidays. ‘Highlights of the High Country’ is their Alpine itinerary that starts and ends in Bright. It explores the magnificent mountain scenery surrounding the ski villages of Falls Creek, Hotham and Dinner Plain, with regional produce and award-winning local wines in the mix to fuel each day.