There are some very bright autumn colours right now in the little town of Bright in NE Victoria. They have an Autumn Festival in two weeks time, but many of the European trees are already starting to turn into brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. Some, such as the poplars have already lost their leaves, whilst other s are still turning into their autumn colours. I couldn’t quite understand how a row of poplars on one side of the road could be completely bare of leaves, yet a stand of similar sized trees in a paddock just on the other side were completely green without even a touch of yellow just yet!
It is very easy to spend a few days in this region as we did over the last weekend. Nearby, is the old gold mining town of Beechworth with its historic buildings and very attractive streets. It’s the home of the famous Beechworth Bakery which sells delicious breads, cakes and other tempting morsels. We arrived to find a number of old T Model Fords parked in the street which added beautifully to the atmosphere and charm of this old town.
On the way from there to Bright, we drive up Mount Buffalo – a large granite mountain. Recent bushfires have left many of the rock faces as bare expenses of brown rock and these make the landscape stark and ominous. The old Chalet at the peak is now closed but the ski centres at Dingo Dell, for example, still provide services and accommodation.
Along the Ovens River are many pretty valleys and the the towns including Myrtleford, Porepunkah and Wandiligong.
On one of our days, we had a very interesting, but a long drive, to Omeo and back across the newly made Bogong High Plains Road. This crosses the High Plains from Falls Creek and then down through mountain forest to the famous Blue Duck Inn, a little pub in the middle of nowhere and where the Cobungra River joins the Mitta Mitta River. Unfortunately it was closed on Mondays and we couldn’t stop for a lunch as we had planned. On the High Plains we passed a number of the locations that I have visited as a bushwalker. This area really makes me feel good and I was wanting to get my hiking boots back on, until after a short walk of a c couple of kilometres I remembered my aching back and bad leg. Perhaps I should just go and sit on one of the mountain huts for a few days and savour the atmosphere.
We returned from Omeo across the Great Alpine Road which climbs to Mount Hotham with its splendid views across to Mt Feathertop and Mt Bogong; the two highest mountains in Victoria. From what seems like the top of Victoria, the road descends down a long winding route to the village of Harrietville. This is a splendid drive and quite worthy of the name ‘Great Alpine Road’.
If you are visiting Bright, you’ll find a surprising number of high quality restaurants. We ate at Poplars and Sol e Lune and can highly recommend both. We discovered that on a Sunday and Monday night, only a few of the really nice restaurants are open but we did find that the the pizza restaurant makes a very good capricciosa. On the night that we ate at Poplars, we found a party of ten very well behaved golfers sitting at an adjoining table. Whenever one of them became too loud and boisterous, or became a bit colourful in their description of their day’s activities, the others would all quieten them down with a loud Sssshhh. On leaving, we had to compliment them on their Suuushing! On our next visit, we will be sure to make an advance reservation at Simone’s restaurant. It was booked out, or closed on the nights that we spent in town, and has an excellent reputation.