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Shining Bright in North East Victoria

Gavin from Australia

The Alpine High Country of Victoria lies in the North Eastern part of the state, an expansive region characterized by colorful and lively valleys, snow capped mountain peaks and wide open spaces. Nestled into the dramatically beautiful landscape are cozy country towns that present perfect opportunities for an idyllic retreat, a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family holiday! One town that really shines as a vacation destination is Bright, ideally situated between the snowfields of the Australian Alps and the lush banks of the Murray River. Just over 300 kilometres from the state capital of Melbourne, itís the perfect spot to spend a long weekend away. If you wish to stay longer than that, then rest assured boredom will never set in - in the High Country, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to recreational activities!

Perched on the banks of the Ovens River and tucked into a valley presided over by the imposingly beautiful Mt. Buffalo, Bright is a small settlement of 1,900 people. It is unique in that the early pioneer settlers made an effort to plant large numbers of deciduous trees throughout the town and lining the main street. In autumn each year the leaves of the chestnuts, poplars and scarlet oaks turn to vivid reds, oranges and yellows, draping the town in color and providing the region with a very European feel. The present day residents have contributed to the color by building and maintaining gardens of their own that enhance the autumn splendor of Bright, making this a great time of year to visit the town.

The beauty of Bright is that whatever time of year you choose to visit there will be something particularly appealing about the season that will help make your holiday special. In the winter times, the nearby snowfields provide endless opportunities for snowboarding and skiing, and the ever-popular ski resort of Falls Creek is just over an hours drive away. The almost guaranteed snowfall here, together with the fun holiday atmosphere, has made Falls Creek one of the most popular resort towns in the world. It's close enough to Bright to drive there in the morning, have a full day of skiing and then head home in the evening! For a bit of variety in slopes, and to see more of the stunning Alpine National Park, your next trip to the snowfields can be to Mt. Hotham, which is the fastest growing resort in Australia. An hours drive away through pristine mountainous countryside, the journey alone justifies any excursion to Mt. Hotham!

In the summer time, the adventure sports of the Alpine High country don't come to an end, in fact they probably increase because people are able to do more than just ski or snowboard. Mountain biking down the rugged slopes is popular, as is taking in the awe-inspiring mountain scenery from the back of a horse. The rivers become a hot bed of canoeing and kayaking, and their cool waters provide the perfect opportunity for a refreshing dip out of the summer heat! Fishing is also very popular in these parts, and the Ovens River is renowned for its large populations of trout. There are many walking trails that circle Bright which are heavily used in the summertime, and what better way to get to your fishing spot than by walking along a nature trail? That way you get some exercise and fresh air and can fully appreciate the scenery and the beautiful old trees. The Canyon Walk and the Apex Lookout Walk are a couple of popular trails.

Mount Buffalo National Park, which is accessed via an easy 20 minute drive, also offers a myriad of bushwalking opportunities. This park is known for its amazing granite rock formations and views of the surrounding valleys and hills. The networks of creeks and rivers that criss-cross it frequently crash down rocky slopes to create stunning waterfalls, and often you are able to swim in the pools created at the base of the falls. There is camping available in the park, but Bright is only round the corner, so you could return to your accommodation there after a days outing.

Whenever you feel like you deserve a holiday, no matter what time of year it is, the Victorian Alpine High Country should definitely be on your list of considerations. In fact, just scratch the rest of the list and plan your next holiday here right now! You will not be disappointed with the region, and you will certainly not be disappointed with Bright as a place to base yourself.

Author: Author's Notes: Gavin Wyatt is a journalist with a passion for travel. Originally from Zambia, he has traveled around the world to end up on the sunny shores of Australia. Gavin is a travel writer with Discovery Rentals (Australia Car Rental)

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