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National Parks Of The Victorian High Country
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Alpine National Park

Known as Victoria's largest park, Alpine National Park is nestled on 646000 hectares and covers pretty much all of the high country. Home to vast landscapes and rugged features, this park is home to some of the most beautiful country sights in the world. In winter, the tourists flock here as this is when snowfall on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range occurs. Many tourists choose to stay in the adjacent ski resorts of Falls Creek and Hotham, which offer a unique holiday experience. When summer rolls around, other adventure sports such as cycling and rock climbing become prevalent. The fisheman come out to play, choosing the King and the Rose Rivers, where the brown trout grow thick and fast as their playground.

Bushwalking is another popular pass time in this park as well, with plenty of walks on offer, ranging from the short to the very long. The 655 kilometre long Australian Alps Walking track that runs all the way up to Canberra, begins down here, but of course this is a walk that only the fittest of hikers should attempt.

If you wish to embark on a driving tour route, the best one would have to be the Great Alpine Drive, which runs from Wangaratta to Bairnsdale. The 110 kilometre stretch between Bright and Omeo provides the greatest views of the park and if you make a stop at Danny Lookout, you will also be able to experience the views of the park and Mt Feathertop in even more depth.

Lake Eildon National Park

Journey 150 kilometres north east of Melbourne and you will come across a lush, forested national park that is nestled on the shores of Lake Eildon. The best way to reach this park is to journey along the Goulburn Valley Highway as it will introduce you to the beautiful countryside of this area. The park is nestled in the northern foothills of the Central Highlands, and rests on 27750 hectares, that are home to a wealth of Australian wildlife that roam freely through it. There are plenty of designated nature trails and walking tracks that bring you into close contact with this wildlife and the beautiful landscapes of the park, which makes bushwalking very popular here.

The lake itself is also popular among water sport lovers. Jet skiing, boating, fishing and swimming are all popular here and basically anyone can take part in them. There are a number of campsites both near to the lakes edge as well as deeper in the park, and a new online booking service has been implemented by the government to make booking and paying for your camping easier.

Mt Buffalo National Park

The Mt Buffalo National Park is one of the state's oldest National Parks as it is over 100 years old. Home to the stunning Mt Buffalo and some amazing surroundings, this park covers most of the sub alpine plateau.

It is positioned just to the east of the town of Bright, which is reached by a 320 kilometre drive from Melbourne. A number of camping grounds can be found within the park making it an ideal place to base yourself for a holiday. There is lots to see, from giant rock tors to 300 metre high cliffs to dense woodlands, sparkling creeks and crashing waterfalls. These will take a while to explore so be sure you come with a little bit of time on your hands.

Walking tracks span over 90 kilometres of this park and offer some picturesque views that will no doubt delight you. In winter, the park becomes a haven for cross country skiers who utilise over 11 kilometres of demarcated trials. Hang gliding and abseiling off the high cliffs are also popular in the summer months, as is rock climbing. In summer the wildflowers come to life adding colour to the rugged landscapes and making for perfect photography.

Beechworth Historic Park

The charming town of Beechworth lies 280 kilometres north east of Melbourne, and is situated right near the larger settlement of Wangaratta. Home to just 3000 residents, Beechworth is one of the most well preserved Gold Towns in the state, and over 30 of its buildings are heritage classified. Most of these are still in pristine condition as they have been well maintained since the 1860's.

The Beechworth Historic Park lies above and below the town, and is home to several important old gold mining sites. Although it is only 1080 hectares in size, there is still a lot to see and do in this beautiful park. Creeks wind their way through thick eucalyptus and pine forests, and steep granite gullies mark the spots where miners once toiled away. Several lakes, including Lake Sambell and Kerferd, not call this park home, accompanying the network of walking trails that can also be found here. If you are feeling particularly lazy or you are a little stuck for time, taje the five kilometre drive called the 'Gorge Scenic Drive' which will take you past some truly magestic waterfalls. This is a great way to wrap up your time here and remember the best of Victoria's National Parks.

Christine Barton

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