Victoria’s high country is truly one of the most photogenic and stunning natural locations in the entire world.
The high country refers to the alpine and outback regions northeast of Melbourne leading up to the mighty Murray River.
The mountains of the Southern Great Dividing Range are a legend in themselves.
Most folk consider Australia to be all beaches and desert, but we certainly have far more, including our treasure of 646,000 hectares in The Alpine National Park, boarded by incredible towns like Bright, Mt Hothman, Falls Creek and Mt Buffalo.
How to get there
Following the Midland highway from Melbourne getting to the highlands is an incredible experience on its own as you follow the paths of Australian bushrangers such as Ned Kelly, and visit the places made legendary by Banjo Patterson as he wrote “The man from Snowy River”, people can hear Banjo’s moving Australian poetry in their hearts as they travel along the same roads his own heart had travelled.
Enthusiastic Australian patriots should be warned that this is an emotional journey and one on which you may find yourself so moved with the Australian experience, leaving means leaving a little of your heart behind. Getting to the door of the high country from Melbourne is only a three hour trip, but I suggest taking some time and stopping along the way.
Bright is located in the Ovens Valley offering beautiful scenery and landscape or winter holiday adventure fun for the whole family.
Bright is the closest town to the incredible Mt Buffalo National Park.
Winters are full of snow but Bright certainly offers something for everyone all year round with warm, Bright sunlight, lazy summer days for trout fishing in the alpine streams and sipping wines at the sidewalk cafes located along the streets.
The Bright Spring Festival highlights the country with spring in the air. An array of spring colors open the season in Bright as local gardeners invite spring in with open colorful gardens.
Spring events include festivals, aerial sports and water rapids to play in.
The Wandiligong Nut Festival and the Autumn Art Exhibition are inviting as summer ends. Bright is picture postcard perfect in autumn color, cool mornings, warm sunny days, and cozy cool evenings to enjoy gourmet foods and wine. Interested in a stay in Bright? Then check out some of the best Bright accommodation on offer.
Located at the crest of the Great Alpine Road deep within the Victorian Alps, Mt Hotham stands above all others as a true snow destination. Mt Hotham is certainly known as Australia’s winter playground destination.
And you thought that Australia is only good for sun, sand and beaches…? Check out the video below for some snow fun and great skiing.
Mt. Hotham holds a Winter Triathlon for the serious snow-a-holics.
With expert and advance runs Mt Hotham is one of Australia’s best ski and snowboarder’s resorts and the one with the most ski-able area.
Getting to Mt Hotham from Melbourne is easy, simply take Hume Highway to Wangaratta and then the Great Alpine Road via Bright and Harrietville, travel time is about 4.5 hours.
Falls Creek has ski-in ski-out accommodation in the snowy winter, and excitement for the whole family. Activities such as now mobile tours of the area, snow biking, helicopter flights, is enough to keep everyone entertained.
Falls Creek sits in the valley of the Alpine above the snowline with access to both sides of the mountain. Check out some of the Falls Creek accommodation for your next visit to Falls Creek.
Mt Buffalo is the perfect place for experiencing nature-based activities, adventure, snow sports, gourmet food and wine.
Mt Buffalo is considered a historic Victorian icon on its own.
Mt Buffalo offers excitement in exploring nature activities, snow sports, gourmet wines and food, and adventure.
Situated in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Mansfield is surrounded by mountain forests. It is the closest major town to Australia’s largest ski resort of Mount Buller and the resort of Mount Stirling. Several lakes and a national park are also nearby. Mansfield is so famous for its stunning scenery that many movies have actually been filmed in the mountain ranges here. Want to get away from it all, close to Melbourne? Then plan your stay in Mansfield with the Mansfield Accommodation Guide.
Beechworth used to be one of those towns that thrived and flourished during the days of the gold rush. The town of Beechworth is today a restored area with the grand buildings and all that was once a part of this town during the colonial building era. This is not a huge town, but when you walk these streets you will be in for a treat. Such a wide variety of cafes, pubs, restaurants, galleries, Ned Kelly reminders (more about him below) as well as items for sale by the locals.
Definitely a town worth visiting. Thinking about a stay in Beechworth? Then check out my handy Beechworth Accommodation Guide
Situated in between the snowgums of Victoria’s alpine high country, Dinner Plain is a unique resort village that boasts of great outdoor activities all year round.
This village has helped make the Australian Alpine lifestyle famous, characterized by architecture built from plain timber, local stone and corrugated iron and houses not higher than the trees in the surrounding.
Wangaratta is more than 300 kilometres north of Melbourne, towards the northern end of Victoria. This rural city, though a bit far is easily accessible by the main railway running between Australia’s two great cities – Sydney and Melbourne.
Wangaratta has a lot to offer to the visitor who has an eye for it and is host of the famous annual Wangaratta Festival of Jazz.
Glenrowan, Ned Kelly country
Ned Kelly is often considered Australia’s favourite son.
Sure, he was a bush ranger, perhaps even a common criminal, but he represents an era and a voice of the Australian people from a time of oppression.
To some he is a bush ranger, to others a folk hero.
Check out the video below with some great pictures. Music is from Slim Dusty – “Game as Ned Kelly”
Ned Kelly was born in Beveridge in 1854 but is known for growing up in Glenrowan. The Ned Kelly story begins when he was just a boy of 15 when charges were laid against him for assault and robbery. He was found guilty and sentenced to hard labor.
He was to experience many petty clashes with the police before the final confrontation.
A friendly family prank even saw Ned Kelly with charges of assault and indecent behaviour against him and he was given six months jail.
Shortly after his release, he was charged with receiving a stolen horse, which he was not aware of being stolen,and was given three years hard labor.
After his release, Ned, a hardened man but more mature, was determined to stay on the right side of the law but on finding his horses stolen and on hearing of the assault of a female relative by a police constable, Ned and his step father, George King, were set for retaliation against those persons whom they thought were dishonoring them.
The result was a murderous chain of events, the establishment of what became known as the Kelly gang.
A conclusion came to the Ned Kelly story on June 27th 1880 after nine hours of fighting, which during this time telegraph wires were cut, over sixty hostages taken, while waiting for the police’s special train.
With a tip off from a local school teacher the train stopped as the gun battle started.
With the building burnt, three gang members killed and Ned being wounded, he was arrested, quick to trial and sentenced to death. November 11th, 1880, Ned Kelly was hung in the old Melbourne Goal.
The entire Ned Kelly story is one of Australia’s most interesting tales and one that can best be told by visiting historical Glenrowan. A stroll down the main road here will offer visitors the story of the journey in Ned Kelly’s life.