Three-and-a-half hours’ drive north-east of Melbourne lives Bright: here we share some secrets on how to have the perfect day in this Victorian town.
Where is Bright?
Three-and-a-half hours’ drive north-east of Melbourne.
2406 (according to a 2016 census)
What it’s all about?
Set on the Ovens River in Victoria’s High Country, the alpine town of Bright is all about outdoor pursuits and scenic beauty. Down its quiet country roads, you’ll also discover cellar doors producing cool climate wines and farm gates touting the freshest of local produce.
Best months to go?
Visit Bright anytime between April and May. You’ll witness their incredible Autumn Festival with the streets being lined with trees covered in red, orange and copper coloured leaves.
Just along Great Alpine Road, you’ll come across Ginger Baker, Wine Bar & Cafe. Whipping up amazing and drool-worthy breakfasts each morning, just sit on the wooden chairs out at the back and feel the light Victoria breeze running past as you gaze out onto Ovens River. Order up a plate of their Ginger Baker’s avodict, consisting of a muffin with two poached eggs, bacon and avocado hollandaise sauce.
But if you happen to stumble across Bright in winter, this place makes the atmosphere extra nice and cosy. Lighting up the roaring fireplace every day. These folks grind their coffee beans each day and believe in only using the freshest quality around, brought in by Sixpence Beans.
I think now’s about time to head around the river for a relaxing post-brekkie feed walk. If you’re feeling the stride in your step, then make your way through Canyon Walk. This one and a half hour return stroll is super relaxing and has some awesome scenic views along the way. It’s an easy three kilometres and you’ll pass by two suspension bridges, birdlife, wildflowers and signs that depict the gold mining history of the region.
If you’re feeling the need to get the creative juices flowing, head back into the centre of town and step inside the Winding Road DESIGN Studio. A local interior design art studio that is run by Alicia Marshall (an ex-Melbournian) who has a flair for illustration and design. If you’re lucky, you might be in town when the studio is holding drawing classes. If not, feel free to browse (or by) the numerous original artworks on printed canvas and paper, as well as a range of lighting and furniture that is up for sale.
We all need a little boutique retail therapy session once in a while, and Bright is the perfect place for that. Hop through the Tartan Fox for fresh and fashionable items from brands like The Fifth Label, Zoe Kratzman and Nude Lucy. When you’ve literally bought the whole store, talk a wander down to The Bright Table. One of those fabulous homeware and gift stores that small towns are known for. Pick up a cute mug (or two) and peruse through their large range.
Lunchtime! Up on Ireland Street, you’ll find the Wild Thyme Cafe, a completely vegan and vegetarian eatery, this will knock your socks off. The menu boasts an all-day brekkie, burgers, wraps, nachos, pizzas and tacos, so this is the perfect spot for when you’re famished. Grab a bowl of the Vegan Pad Thai, mixed with crispy tofu, zoodles, peanut dressing and a whole heap of veggies, you can’t go wrong with this choice. And maybe grab one of their town-famous raw cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Next stop, is Mount Buffalo National Park. About a 30-minute drive from Bright, this place is ideal for an alpine dip during those humid summer days. Ladies Bath Falls is the optimal spot and is surrounded by pristine waterfalls and rock pools.
After your little dip, dry off and get into some nicer clothes to head over for a cheeky glass of vino before dinner. The Ringer Beef Winery is a small-operated winery and vineyard that has a gorgeous view of Mt Buffalo and the Buckland Valley. Open for tastings until 5 pm everyday, pay a small fee and get your fill of Pinots and Cabernets.
Make your way back to Reed & Co. Distillery for dinner. Try to nab a seat at the bar right in front of the open kitchen. Start off with one of their Remedy Gin cocktails, you can bet a Negroni never goes down the wrong way.
Then let the kitchen do the thinking for you and order the set menu. Everything is cooked over fire; be sure to request the smoked Murray cod from Buffalo River with barbecue potatoes, it’s like a fancy fish and chips.
Planning to stay?
If you’re thinking of staying a couple of days in Bright (definitely the right choice), then consider the Chalets Lumineux on Back Porepunkah Road. These self-contained spaces are sitting within lush lawns and gardens for optimal privacy. The long driveway up to the entrance will send you on a relaxation spiral you won’t ever want to get out of. On your off days, sit in the yard with a nice book and hear the chirping birds and rustling leaves within the distance.