The little town of Bright in the Snowy Mountains of Victoria is a perfect year round holiday resort for anyone who loves fresh air and the outdoors. At an height of about 1000 feet (300meters), visitors get respite from the summer heat and a Bright accommodation during the ski season allows you to relax away from the ski slope while still being close enough to easily drive to the nearby snowfields of Falls Creek, Mt. Hotham and Mt. Buffalo.
Those who are familiar with Bright and its surrounds the best, the locals, often say that the perfect time to visit is in the fall. Australians from lower altitudes who wish to experience the beauty of the falling leaves in autumn find them in abundance in Bright and the rest of the Ovens Valley over the month of May and June. There’s nothing quite like hopping on a mountain bike and riding down the quiet streets of Bright when the leaves are changing color. To cap off a perfect day, after picknicking in Centenary Park and relaxing by the Ovens River, take a stroll around Ireland Street and do some browsing and shopping in the great shops in town.
Evidence of Bright’s history is found all over in the city and throughout the township. The discovery of gold in 1853 led to a turbulent 50 years which ended when the mining and dredging finally ended. Although the gold dredging in particular led to violence and environmental degradation, 100 years of healing have led to restoration both of the surroundings and the local architecture. Today, only the best of those years remains in the shape of several architectural restorations that pepper the region. Among the “don’t miss” attractions of Bright are the old timber house from the 1850s, now the home of Gallery 90 and the Park Street Courthouse, built in 1862. Also on Park Street is the old Presbyterian Church. Built in 1880, it has been superbly restored and now houses St. Andrews Gallery.
For the adventurous, Bright’s location on the edge of the Snowy Mountains makes it an ideal jumping off point for skiers, mountain bike riders, kayakers and hikers. Little needs to be said regarding the snowfields in the Snowy Mountains. They’re among the top Australia has to offer. What is less well-known, though, is that in the summer these mountains offer an exciting thrill for outdoor lovers of all persuasions. Mount Buffalo, for example, is where rock climbers go in the heat of the summer for challenging climbing in cooler conditions. When you’ve reached the plateau of Mount Buffalo (elevation 5652 feet), you can’t miss the climbing area – it stands like a large sentinel, jutting skyward above the otherwise fairly flat plateau. The camping area at nearby Lake Catani is a camper’s paradise, with cool, clear waters and fantastic amenities for the entire family.
Bright, Victoria lies nearly exactly between Melbourne and Sydney. Although it is an eight hour drive from either of these cities, no one really complains about the distance. Once you turn off onto the Great Alpine Road and make your approach to Bright, you recognize that you’re returning to a “bright,” magical part of Australia.
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