Published: May 11th 2006March 3rd 2006
Coffee time at Bright
Friends meeting for coffee and cakes a favorite pastime
Leaving the Mornington Peninsular and Melbourne was an unexpected wrench since I was excited at going to the mountains.
We set off after breakfast . People had been very kind and told us their favorite routes to travel, avoiding busy areas and being the most scenic, it also proved to be the longest, but it didn't matter we had a full day to get there.
Our route took us through the Dandenongs which we visited the previous week, winding our way through hills, farming land,vineyards and vast forests.
When we were planning the holiday we thought that it would be like Europe, going up mountains is cold, but in Australia, it gets hotter not colder.
As we neared Bright it got hotter and hotter.
It became unbareable at Glenrowan. This small town is where Ned Kelly made his final stand, it was too hot to stand and take a photo.
Thankfully it was early evening when we arrived at our destination and cool.
Bright has been a favorite holiday resort since the 1870,s. It is an all year round resort being close to the major ski resorts. cafes, the river and plenty of things to do.
a very cold swim, in water straight from the mountains
The railway which ran through the town is now a cycle track and walking area. Bikes can be hired in the town and there are plenty of flat safe places to ride.
The town of Bright is reminiscent of a time gone by with beautiful tree lined streets, lovely well kept old buildings all clean and shining. There are plenty of pavement cafes and resteraunts for the evening. The town is situated at the side of the river Ovens, where a swimming area is very popular. The river has yielded gold for many years and can still be panned although it is not formally mined now.
If you like trees and mountains, then this is the place for you. Most official photos of Bright show the trees in autumn when the colour changes are spectacular. I found then stunning anyway. The famous avenues of trees were planted in the 1930's.
We were surprised to see crops of tobacco, but found out that Victoria is a major growing area although the industry has declined in recent years. We spent a day at Mytleford at the Timber, Hops and Tobacco Festival, it went on for four days in
they do spit just like their cousins the camels
total. The brass band came from Wodonga, I love these local names especially if I can pronounce them.
A developing industry is the farming of Alpacas, the smallest of the Camelids. The fleece is softer than cashmere and just as expensive. They are friendly animals and many farmers encourage visitors to pet the alpacas, this helps when they go to shows if they are already used to being handled by strangers.
We found ourselves in a major wine growing area. Alongside the vineyards are apple orchards and hops, other fruits are also grown here. Wine making is on the increase as more wines become exported. The wine tour is great fun, we visited 4 wineries,1 cheese factory and an olive oil producers in a limo. I never knew that olive oil could taste so good and the wine, also the cheeses were excellent.
Surrounding the town are the mountains and each one is beautiful. our first mountain was not far away and not very high but the journey was very pretty. We were able to see for miles down either side of the valley and a signpost gave us the direction and mileage to major cities like
Sydney and Brisbane.
It was not long before we needed to go on to the mountains proper, so we went on a 4x4 trip to Mt. Murray. It was a long drive to our first stop high in the forest. Our driver was Daniel and our guide was Terry an archeologist, who specialised in Aboriginal culture.
Whilst Daniel prepared morning coffee and hot scones with jam and cream, Terry took us into the bush and introduced us to native herbs, explaining how the could be used.
Then back on the road as we travelled higher up the mountain on to a ridge, where we could see on both sides. It was here that we found evidence of an aboriginal settlement in the form of a whetstone, used for sharpening implements. The site had to be recorded and photographed so that a full exploration could be done.
When we stopped for lunch, Terry took us off for more tuition, this time learning to throw a spear using a woomera as a launcher. Later we cut flint to make tools, sharp enough to cause a nasty cut ( we were very careful )
This was a super day out.
Using a woomera
Whilst on holiday people with local knowledge can be a boon since they know all the best bits not always in the brochure. One such place was Falls Creek, a large lake on the top of the mountain. The town is a ski resort with runs from novice to expert. The roads to the resort are great but the sealed surface ends and you are faced with miles of unmade roads. We decided we had gone far enough. The previous week there had been dragon boat racing on the lake.
Because gold was found here we had to visit Beechworth and the gold shop, where we made several purchases. The town has maintained its old colonial buildings and many of them are open to the public. We had a picnic in the gorge near a museum and old miners hut.
It was with regret that our holiday had to end there was so much to see and do. We had met some wonderful people, seen lots of lovely places and felt welcomed.
Goodbye Australia, we can't wait to come back.
There are more photos below