Melbourne - Wangaratta - Bright - Omeo - Bairnsdale
Travel from Melbourne through the Australian Alps to the lakes, beaches and national parks of Gippsland. Stop in Milawa for cheeses and Rutherglen for wine. Horse ride and mountain bike in Mount Buffalo National Park. Connect to gold-rush history and the legend of Ned Kelly in Glenrowan and Beechworth. Ski on Mount Hotham or walk through spring wildflowers on the Bogong High Plains. Canoe down the Mitchell River and swim, fish and surf on Ninety-Mile Beach. On Australia's highest accessible sealed road you can feast on fresh produce and fish, cycle, ski, climb or ride every step of the way.
At a glance:
Travel from Melbourne through the Australian Alps, the historic village of Beechworth, the Rutherglen wine region and the lakes, beaches, national parks and gourmet trails of Gippsland.
Travel north along the Hume Freeway to Wangaratta, known for its history, hospitality and popular jazz festival. Nearby, you can prospect for gold in Eldorado, learn about the legend of Ned Kelly in Glenrowan and indulge in fine wine and food in King Valley. Stop in Milawa for mustards and cheeses and in Rutherglen for wine. Further along, in the historic gold-rush town of Beechworth, you can lunch at excellent cafes and see the honey granite courthouse where bushranger Ned Kelly stood trial. Discover waterfalls, granite outcrops and sweeping views of the Alps in Mount Buffalo National Park, also a great spot for rock climbing, hang gliding, horse and bike riding. Afterwards, spend the night in the picturesque town of Bright on the Ovens River. In autumn, the deciduous elms, chestnuts, poplars and scarlet oaks cloak the town in fiery, spectacular colour.
Wind up through the heathland, alpine ash and snow gum forests of Victoria’s high country to the ski resort of Mount Hotham. Tackle the downhill and cross-country ski trails in winter and hike to historic mountain huts and mountain peaks in summer. From Danny’s Lookout at Mount Feathertop, you’ll get sweeping views over Alpine National Park. Stay in chalets under the snow gums in the pretty alpine village of Dinner Plain. Or horse trek or mountain bike through the river valleys, ridges and mountains of the surrounding high country. Further along you’ll find the pioneering mountain town of Omeo, where the historic buildings include a courthouse, post office, blacksmith shop and an 1858 jail built of logs. From here you can go trout fishing or white water rafting down the Mitta Mitta River. Four-wheel drive along the 17-kilometre (10.5 mile) Knocker Track and walk through spring wildflowers on the Bogong High Plains.
Bairnsdale sits on the banks of the Mitchell River at the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes. From here, you can canoe or raft down the Mitchell River and explore the Mitchell River silt jetties that reach eight kilometres (5 miles) into Lake King. Discover coastal holiday hamlets and swim, fish and surf on the sweeping expanse of Ninety-Mile Beach. Water ski in the Lakes National Park and see dolphins frolicking near Paynesville. Take the ferry to Raymond Island and see koalas, abundant birdlife and orchids and wildflowers. Follow the Mitchell River Walking Track to the Den of Nargun, a shallow cave beneath a small waterfall on the Woolshed Creek that appears in local Aboriginal legend.