Weave along the Great Alpine Road and you’ll be treated to a gem-filled touring route. Picturesque valleys, magnificent Alps, and beautiful national parks mingle with historical and picturesque destinations. The touring route begins in Wangaratta and heads south, bound for Lakes Entrance.
- Explore Mount Buffalo National Park while at Porepunkah
- Photograph the rich colours of Bright
- Strap on the skis at Mount Hotham or Dinner Plain
- Admire St Mary's Catholic Church at Bairnsdale
- Indulge in endless water leisure at Lakes Entrance
Surrounded by a profusion of landscapes ranging from snow-capped peaks to sensational national parks, Wangaratta hollers the words ‘great base’.
For example, within an hour you can reach attractive spots along the Murray River to indulge in endless water-based fun. Then, in the opposite direction is the glorious food and wine region of the King Valley.
This attractive city itself has great appeal. Wangaratta’s wide main street reveals outstanding old buildings, and a stroll along the Ovens River will impress.
Keep the eyes busy with a wander through the Wangaratta Art Gallery or catch a vast range of shows at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre.
Wangaratta has a busy events calendar and one of the standout gigs is the Wangaratta Jazz & Blues Festival. It is held annually on the weekend prior to the Melbourne Cup.
BIG4 Holiday Parks in Wangaratta
Street : 170 Bowser Road (between Frasers Lane & Detour Rd), City : Wangaratta, PostCode : 3678
Wangaratta to Bright (incorporating Porepunkah)
75km (1hr 10min)
Once you have uncovered Wangaratta’s abundant treasure, hit the Great Alpine Road and travel in a southeast direction.
You won’t be far into the journey before a short detour provides temptation. The destination is Beechworth, a wonderfully preserved gold-mining town. Arrive with an appetite because Beechworth and its surrounds serve up delicious produce, superb wine, and even prized craft beer.
Back on the main path, the picturesque town of Myrtleford soon presents itself. Enjoy the surrounds with a walk to Reform Hill lookout where views stretch to Mount Buffalo and the Alps. Or learn about the process of butter making with a visit to the Butter Factory.
Further along, pass a section of Mount Buffalo National Park on the way to Porepunkah.
Located at the junction of Ovens and Buckland rivers, Porepunkah is a treasured town that encourages outdoor exploration. Enjoy tranquil picnic spots along the river banks and indulge with a scenic flight over these spectacular surrounds.
Porepunkah is the nearest town to aforementioned Mount Buffalo National Park, which reveals a series of jaw-dropping sights. Incredible rock formations, gushing waterfalls, and brilliant wildflowers are among the highlights.
Just 6km south of Porepunkah is Bright, a town that wonderfully encapsulates the sheer beauty of the Great Alpine Road.
Within an instant, Bright's deciduous trees will catch your gaze, particularly if visiting during autumn when at their most colourful. A host of parks highlight the booming plant life.
A willingness to embrace the outdoors is again required – and it will reward. Take to a walking or cycling track to uncover the many delights of the High Country, whatever the season. Or canoe or kayak along the Ovens and Buckland rivers. A visit to nearby Mount Beauty delivers endless scenic delights and further along is the renowned ski resort of Falls Creek.
For a hit of culture, view a diverse collection of works at the Bright Art Gallery and Cultural Centre or visit the Bright Museum, which covers many themes.
BIG4 Holiday Parks in Bright
Street : 1-11 Mountbatten Avenue, City : Bright, PostCode : 3741
Street : 6674 Great Alpine Road, City : Porepunkah, PostCode : 3740
Bright to Bairnsdale
230km (3hr 5min)
Consider a short detour to the former gold-rush town of Wandiligong; the entire town has been classified by the National Trust and is an absolute treasure. It is also home to Wandiligong Maze, the largest living hedge maze in the country.
Returning to the main path, Harrietville is another old gold town that piles on the charm. Head to Pioneer Park for an insight into Harrietville’s past.
Further along is Mount Hotham, one of the country’s leading ski resorts. In warmer months, this is a fantastic area for walking or mountain biking: breathtaking views are a constant find. Nearby Dinner Plain alpine village is just an enticing.
Omeo is another point of interest along this touring route. Like several locations on the Great Alpine Road, gold once flowed freely in this town. The Oriental Claims Historic Area and a cluster of striking historical buildings are tangible reminders of its glory days.
At Swifts Creek, the Great Alpine Gallery showcases the works of local artists. Neighbouring Ensay provides the opportunity to please the palate at the Little River Inn and Ensay Winery and Vineyard.
Or quench a thirst at Bruthen as you continue your journey deep into the Gippsland area. This cute village is home to Bullant Brewery.
This incredibly scenic stretch of the touring route ends at Bairnsdale. Located on the Mitchell River, the city is home to many grand old structures that are led by St Mary's Catholic Church.
To sneak a look at the past, visit the Bairnsdale museum or Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place, which uncovers local Aboriginal culture.
Or use Bairnsdale as a base to explore rainforest, gorges, and more within Mitchell River National Park.
Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance
35km (0hr 30min)
The final section of this touring route follows the Princes Highway as it meanders towards the coast.
Nicholson River Winery makes for a pleasant stop at the small town of Nicholson before a diversion to Metung comes into consideration.
This tranquil village is a wonderful choice for taking advantage of the abundant aquatic adventures that can be enjoyed on the Gippsland Lakes, Australia's largest inland network of waterways.
Back on the Princes Highway, the end point of this glittering touring route introduces itself. Lakes Entrance has drawn a holiday crowd for more than a century and it’s no wonder. It has a glorious position on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach where the Gippsland Lakes is introduced to the Southern Ocean.
As you would expect, hitting the water is essential at Lakes Entrance. Ninety Mile Beach is a superb stretch of sand and is patrolled by lifesavers in summer. Or take a cruise along the Gippsland Lakes and keep a lookout for dolphins.
BIG4 Holiday Parks in Lakes Entrance
Street : 55 Roadknight Street, City : Lakes Entrance, PostCode : 3909
Street : 623 Esplanade, City : Lakes Entrance, PostCode : 3909