Take your pick from of one of the country’s great fruit bowls while experiencing the best of the outdoors with this lazy four day amble along and around Victoria’s Great Alpine Road.
You’ll sip on the labours of renowned wineries and brewers, have your plate filled by foodies with a passion for local produce and learn secrets from the producers themselves before burning off the calories exploring sleepy historic streetscapes, vital alpine centres and one of the state’s most wondrous mountain locales.
Image credit: Visit Victoria
Day 1: Wangaratta to Beechworth
40min | 47.7km
Before you leave Wangaratta, stop in at Cafe the PreVue for breakfast overlooking the Ovens River. Burn it off taking a walk – or hiring a bike from Rock and Road Cycles – and exploring the shared path network of this vibrant rural city.
Jump back in the car and make the short trip south to Milawa to visit Milawa Cheese Company, Milawa Mustards, Gamze Smokehouse, The Olive Shop and other specialty producers in this famed gourmet town. Enjoy a lunch to remember at Brown Brothers winery.
Next, travel north into the foothills of the Alps and the old gold mining centre of Beechworth. Take a stroll through its historic streetscapes and discover all kinds of treasures, from jewellery, homewares and designer clothing to honey based products at Beechworth Honey.
Have a picnic at Beechworth Historic Park among rocky granite outcrops, waterfalls and rockpools or stop in at Bridge Road Brewers for a tasting and lunch, then grab a complimentary “town bike” and explore the town on two wheels.
Continue the food bliss into the evening with the degustation menu at the hatted Provenance Restaurant, one of Beechworth’s many great eating possibilities. Book your overnight stay at 1860 Luxury Accommodation, a self contained luxury bed and breakfast in a restored historic timber slab hut.
Day 2: Beechworth to Myrtleford
45min | 60km
Start the day with the short drive north to Yackandandah, an idyllic village with a vibrant artistic community and eclectic mix of shops, galleries and studios. Grab breakfast at the city hip Saint Monday Cafe, drink in the town’s history with a stroll through its sleepy streets or a visit to its fascinating museum, or buy a licence and go panning for gold.
Then head back south into the stunningly picturesque Ovens Valley and Myrtleford, a town shaped by graziers, gold prospectors, tobacco growers and the timber industry, but nowadays known for its grapes, hops, nuts, fruit, vegetables, cattle and burgeoning tourism scene.
Stop at Valley Nut Groves to sample walnuts from one of Australia’s oldest walnut farms or Gapsted Wines for a wine tasting and alfresco lunch in fabulous surrounds. Alternatively, park the car, hire a bike from Myrtleford Cycle Centre and take in the section of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail that runs through the town to take stock of its wineries, farm gates and cafes.
Then take the walk up to the Reform Hill lookout for amazing views of the Alps before dining on authentic wood fired pizza at Bastoni Pizzeria. Greatview Holiday Spa Retreat for Couples is a luxury studio apartment with a spa and amazing views. Motel on Alpine offers clean comfortable and affordable accommodation in a central location.
Day 3: Myrtleford to Porepunkah via Mount Buffalo National Park
2hr 10min | 100km
Make the short drive south east to Ovens, home to a great alpine pub – the Happy Valley Hotel – and the Australian Pumpkin Seed Company, where you can sample locally grown pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil and other products. Then it’s on to Eurobin. Stop in at Bright Berry Farm to sample raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and jams, and grab a berry ice cream to go.
Continue driving south east to Porepunkah, tonight’s destination, and pause to stock up on goodies at Great Alpine Produce & Trading for a picnic later in the day. Then take the spectacular twisting drive up and into the Mount Buffalo National Park, a family friendly alpine destination in winter and, in the warmer months, one of the great natural playgrounds of the region. Stroll around the famous Mount Buffalo Chalet – currently undergoing restoration – take in magnificent views from clifftop lookouts, explore one or more of the 20 short walk options in the area or chill out with that picnic at Grossmans Mill Picnic Area beside beautiful Lake Catani.
Then descend from the ranges back to Porepunkah for a hearty boutique pub feed in a lovely riverside location at Punka Pub.
Manna Gum Escape has options of a luxury three bedroom home with a pool or, for couples, a romantic studio cottage.
Day 4: Porepunkah to Bright
15min | 12km
Make the run east into Bright, park the car and stroll to Ginger Baker Wine and Food for breakfast in a fetching setting surrounded by elm trees and waterfalls. The next step is up to you in this famous alpine town. Hire a mountain bike and tear up Bright’s MTB Trail network. Ride a horse or paddle a kayak or canoe down the Ovens River. Hike up to the Tower Hill Lookout to appreciate its majestic north and east views or see things even more memorably with one of the local hang gliding and paragliding operators. If you’re not feeling energetic, just kick back by the Ovens River or indulge in some retail therapy at Bright’s wide variety of shops and boutiques.
Amid it all you’ll need to eat and there’s an abundance of choice. Relax with a craft brew and matched fare at Bright Brewery, wines and tapas at Walker Bros Wine Bar, contemporary American/Mexican food at Tomahawks or just stop in at Rok Salt Fish and Chippery and eat your conquest down by the river. Or learn how to turn out great cuisine yourself with a class at Simones Cooking School. NRMA Bright Holiday Park has variety of competitively priced accommodation options in a lovely river location. Modern facilities here include a camp kitchen, two playgrounds, heated outdoor swimming pool with spa, free minigolf and free kids’ activities in holiday periods. Pets are welcome, too.