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Shining Bright In North East Victoria
brightVictoria's Alpine High Country can be found in the North Eastern part of the state, an extensive region which is most easily recognisable because of its colourful and lively valleys, snow capped mountain peaks and wide open spaces. Dotted throughout this majestic countryside you will find cosy country towns that offer perfect destinations for an idyllic retreat, a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family holiday!

One town that stands out above the rest, is the somewhat descriptively names, Bright, which is ideally positioned between the snowfields of the Australian Alps and the lush banks of the Murray River. Its location just 300 kilometres from the state capital of Melbourne, makes it a perfect place to escape to for the weekend to escape the city buzz. However, if you decide that the weekend just isn't long enough to see and experience it all, stay a while longer and you will be treated with an abundance of recreational activities just waiting to be discovered by you!

Nestled on the banks of the Ovens River and tucked into a valley that is positioned at the foothills of the imposingly beautiful Mt. Buffalo, Bright is a small settlement with a population of just 1,900. What makes this town so unique is the fact that many of the early pioneer settlers made an effort to plant large numbers of deciduous trees throughout the town, that now pleasantly line the main street. During the autumn months the leaves of the chestnuts, poplars and scarlet oaks turn to vivid reds, oranges and yellows, that coat the town with wild colours and give the town a certain European feel. The town is also filled with many other beautiful gardens that add colour and splendour to Bright.

One of the best things about Bright is that fact that it retain its beauty throughout all the seasons of the year. During the winter months, the nearby snow fields are sheeted with a white glaze and are perfect for snow boarding, skiing and tubing. Also, the incredibly popular ski resort of Falls Creek is just over an hours drive away meaning you will have a great place to stay. The almost guaranteed snowfall here, combined 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 head out in the morning and be back by nightfall if you are staying within the township.

For those keen skiiers out there, take some time to explore more of the stunning Alpine National Park, where you will no doubt come across 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 and the ski slopes will reward you even further.

If you wish to avoid the crowds that winter time draws here, the summer time is another great time to visit. During these months visitors can enjoy mountain biking on the rugged slopes or taking in the awe-inspiring mountain scenery from the back of a horse. The rivers unfreeze and 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 extremely popular in these parts, and the Ovens River is renowned for its large trout populations. There are also many countless walking trails in and around the town, which offers a perfect opportunity to get back in touch with nature. They are also great for combining some exercise into your holiday, all while fully appreciating the scenery and the beautiful old trees. The Canyon Walk and the Apex Lookout Walk are a couple of popular trails that should definitely be attempted.

Another great place of nature is the Mount Buffalo National Park, which can easily be accessed via an easy 20 minute drive. This National Park also offers a myriad of bushwalking opportunities that are ideal for all fitness levels. This park is probably most famous for its amazing granite rock formations and the views that it offers 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, that fall into refreshing rocking pools that are ideal for swimming in. Camping is conveniently located in the park, but since Bright is located just around the corner, you will probably want to return to your accommodation there after a day here.

Bright offers many accommodation options to visitors that come to visit. However, if you are after a warm welcome, luxurious rooms and amazing facilities then you cannot go past the Bright Chalet. Centrally located on the Great Alpine Road, this four star resort can cater for the needs of everyone and is also a great venue for weddings, conferences and other such get-togethers. There is a bar, a lounge and a restaurant at your service, and for the active folk there is a swimming pool and a tennis court. Its a great place to base yourself whilst you explore the numerous attractions in and around the town of Bright!

When the time comes that you really need a holiday, make sure the Victorian Alpine High Country is at the top of your destination list. In fact, if it isn't already, put it there now because this is one region that will do far from disappoint. The three hour drive from Melbourne (and any exploratory driving you do in the region), will be a pleasant start to your trip and once you arrive, you may never want to leave.

Christine Barton

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