No doubt the High Country boasts some spectacular scenery and one of the best ways to take it all in is to go for a drive. Possibly the most popular touring circuit is the ‘Alpine Discovery Loop’.
Leaving Bright around 8am and travel south-east toward Hotham on the Great Alpine Road. Turn left over the bridge to Tawonga Gap Road and head for the Kiewa Valley Highway. Turn right, travel through Tawonga South and Mount Beauty, and then take the Bogong High Plains Road towards Falls Creek.
Your journey will take you past Bogong Village and onto ‘Fainter Falls’. Park the car in the wayside stop and cross the road for a 800m board walk to the falls. The falls were exposed during the 2006 fires and access to them was completed in December 2008.
Travel through to Falls Creek, following the sign to Omeo. After passing Rocky Valley Dam travel several km, and then you will see the sign ‘Wallaces Hut’ on the left hand side of the road. Park the car and take the 750m walk to the historical cattlemen’s hut and a magnificent display of snow gums.
Back in the car and a couple of km’s further on to ‘Cope Hut’. This is only a 250m walk. Both of these huts survived the bushfires. Wallace’s Hut is a cattleman’s hut and is over 125 years old, built in 1889, and Cope Hut was built in 1939 as a mountaineering hut and is still in use as a shelter for skiers and hikers.
Travel further south to Anglers Rest where you can have a lovely drink or meal at the Blue Duck Inn – another history lesson! Continue your journey south to Omeo, where you can still see some of the original buildings which are over 150 years old and evidence of the earlier gold diggings before the settlers moved in with their cattle. This town also boasts the oldest wooden lockup still in original condition.
After leaving Omeo follow the Great Alpine Road up to Dinner Plain, look for the turn off on the right to Victoria Falls – Oriental Claims. This is a site of original Chinese Diggings, as well as waterfalls into a very steep ravine and worth a detour. It is also the site of Victoria’s first major hydro-electric station built in 1908 to supply water to the goldfields in Cassilis. There are lots of snow gums and mountain fern woodlands.
Stop at Dinner Plain for coffee and look around the village and its unique architecturally designed snow housing. There are more huts to visit in the Dinner Plain area, CRB Hut, JB Hut and Boggy Creek Hut are all short walks from the main road.
Travelling along the highest sealed road in Australia you will pass through Hotham. Stop at ‘The General’ for a drink and something to eat and head back down the mountain for some breathtaking views. Harrietville is the next stop on the loop. Park the car and have a wander through this quaint little village and along the Ovens River.
A leisurely drive back to Bright around 5:30pm in time for a rest, shower and a change of clothes, heading out and sampling one of the many fine restaurants Bright has to offer.