An all season’s playground, journeying to Bright should come with a warning: be prepared for the fact that you may never want to leave.
The delight that comes with having four very distinct and unique seasons means that Bright is surprisingly action-packed and lively no matter what time of the year. Surrounded by landscapes so dazzling it makes your eyes hurt, hidden culinary gems and a plethora of activities, Bright is just waiting for you to write your own adventure.
Here is our top 10 list of things to do in Bright to help you achieve that, or find and book accommodation in Bright today.
Bright is a premier cycling destination in Victoria, and whether you fancy yourself a bit of a two-wheel warrior, weekend cruiser, or have the family in tow, there’s a cycle path to suit everyone. The Murray to Mountains Trail is the most popular route, and with over 100km of sealed off road trails, it takes riders through some of the area’s most spectacular and diverse scenery. The track also winds past a smorgasbord of markets, cafes, wineries and some cracking restaurants, so the many picnic spots that litter the path are the perfect rest-stops to refuel and recharge with some newly acquired goodies.
Chocolate lovers gather! A mecca awaits you at the Bright Chocolate Factory. Specialising in making small batches of chocolate from the bean to the bar, Bright Chocolate offers visitors the opportunity to discover what the cacao bean actually tastes like, something which is lost in the creation of mass-produced chocolate. Housed in the brick stables factory, which has been painstakingly restored to its former glory, the cacao beans are hand sorted, lightly roasted and refined for 16 hours to perfect their flavour. Take a tour of the factory and see this chocolate making process firsthand, and make sure to stock up on chocolate before you leave.
The Alpine National Park and state forests that surround Bright are ideal locations for 4WD enthusiasts, and are home to a multitude of tracks. Sharp ascents and stomach-churning declines are standard features on many of the trails, as are river crossings and muddy bogs, so it helps to have an experienced driver in the midst. However, with summit views on offer, or the chance to traverse routes that go deep into the heart of the parks, it’s well worth the adrenaline rush.
Tales of gold rushes, agricultural triumphs and a vital railway system are just some of the elements that have helped shape the town of Bright, and the best way to gain an insight into this rich history is to visit the Bright Museum. Located within the old Bright Railway Station, the museum delves into the flood of opportunities that followed when the railway line was completed, and contains an assortment of historical artefacts and memorabilia from its gold mining past. There is also a display which focuses on the arrival of the Chinese miners who descended on the Bright goldfields, which includes a reconstructed Chinese Joss House.
Take your pick from three of Victoria’s most renowned mountains, with Mount Hotham, Mount Buffalo and Falls Creek all just a stone’s throw away from Bright. Snow-capped peaks and heavy frosts take over during winter, completely transforming the landscape and turning Bright into a winter wonderland. All of the ski resorts offer an excellent range of snow activities – including skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and snow play - and with Bright as your home base, you are in the perfect position to try them all out.
Conditions for brewing beer could not be more perfect in Bright, as the abundance of hops growing along the banks of the Ovens River and the fresh mountain water combine to create some award-winning brews. Bright Brewery is a standout on the food and drink trail in Bright, and tours are run as an opportunity to learn and understand the craft brewing techniques that go into making such a highly acclaimed beverage. With 26 varieties on tap, an extended stay in Bright might be on the cards, to ensure you don’t miss out on any, of course.
Visit Bright and you are spoiled for choice when it comes to national parks, with both Mount Buffalo National Park and the Alpine National Park beginning at the very doorstep of Bright. Numerous walking trails weave through the parks, and are the best way to discover the thundering waterfalls, seas of wildflowers and sheer cliffs that make up the diverse environment. For some unforgettable, sweeping views across the high country, a short climb to the highest peak on the Mount Buffalo plateau, known as The Horn, is a spectacular vantage point and a true highlight of the park.
Lake Buffalo, Kiewa River, Mount Beauty pondage, Buckland River, Ovens River – half the challenge in fishing around Bright is deciding where to throw a line! Evidently, there is no shortage of places to fish, and fortunately, no shortage in what to catch either. Trout and salmon are always a worthy catch, as are blackfish, so hopefully dinner will be taken care of. Fly fishing is extremely popular, especially during the months of October to December when the spring snow has thawed and the wide rivers fill with pristine, fast flowing waters, creating ideal conditions.
For the thrill-seekers, the rock climbing and abseiling you can undertake on Mount Buffalo is considered some of the best in Australia. The stunning views into the valley below will be rendered insignificant as you scale a 300m deep gorge, or attempt some of the granite tors which are situated on top of the plateau. The varying degrees of difficulty of each climb, combined with being over 1500m above the plains obviously require a certain level of experience, and should not be attempted lightly. The good news for hopeful beginners is that basic climbs led by experienced guides can be organised.
One of the most scenic and relaxing ways to see more of Bright and its surrounds is via canoe or kayak. Guided tours are available in the warmer months, but with conditions generally quite calm the river systems are yours to explore as you please. The Centenary Park in particular is a well-suited spot for blow up rafts and lilos, and is also a favourite swimming hole amongst the locals, making it a particularly family-friendly spot.
For more accommodation options in and around Bright, click here.
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