Trip Start May 08, 2008
65Trip End Jan 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
Alpine Cabins (Big 4) Bright
Travelled along the Murray Valley Highway then The Great Alpine Way. Had a very good trip and it was a beautiful warm, sunny day. The Caravan Park was adjacent to the Howett Park, which is located on the banks of the Ovens River. It is just beautiful, the river very low but bubbling along and the most magnificant trees in the most beautiful colours. Japanese Mapels, Claret Ash, Pittostorums, etc all the most vivid golds, reds, russets and all the colours in between.
We encountered family bathrooms for the first time here.. A lovely big bath, shower, toilet and vanity - like an ensuite - but shared with a few others in our section of the park (not at the same time, of course)! We had a wonderful spot in the back section of the park - a little away from the rest of the park and only a few other vans in there
Set up camp and had the best fish 'n chips from Rok Salt (yes, even better than Kiama fish 'n chips)! Weather at night is extremely cold and our heater came out for the first time here and our warmer bed linen and cashmere blanket went on the bed real quick!
We went for lots of walks, and the Canyon Walk, which is accessed via the back of the park meandered along the Ovens River, was the site of much gold panning in the early days. There are the remains of lots of diggings along the route carved by the hands of the early miners, which included Chinese, Americans and European immigrants. A beautiful walk and really interesting.
We were disappointed to awake the next morning to a rather smoky atmosphere - afer ascertaining it was not another bushfire in the area, but the CFS doing their regular backburning. The day was warm, but overcast, hazy and a very fiery sun all day.
Drove to Harrietville, a beautiful little town and a good morning tea stop.
Headed on to Mt Hotham and the road was really steep and wound around the mountain. The village is right on top of the mountain which is not like Kosciuszko where the village is located at the base of the mountain.
The damage caused by bushfires in 2003 and more recently 2006 was very obvious on the trip up the mountain
Views were stunning on one side of the mountain, and very smoky and hazy on the other. No wonder they are continuing with the back burning so this devastation doesn't occur again.
Also drove to Mt Buffalo NP and it was just such a beautiful drive - stopped at the Gorge to check out the views - reminded us of the Grampians - very rocky granite outcrops and deep gorges. Apparently they are the highest vertical cliffs in Australia. Headed up further to the Horn (1723m) - once again views obscured by the smoke. We have decided we definitely have to come back to visit this area as it is just so beautiful and would be amazing on a clear day. We still enjoyed it though.
On the way back down we stopped at Lake Cataini, a man made lake designed to service the Mt Buffalo ski fields
It was lovely and peaceful here and we did the Lakeside walk before heading for home. I really feel as though I am running out of adjectives to describe this whole area.
Bright is very popular with cyclists and there were certainly a lot of avid bike riders in our camp. There is a rail trail - old railway tracks converted to a fantastic bike trail. You can ride all the way to Wangaratta (about 90k) if you feel so inclined!. We decided that a ride to Porepunkah at the base of Mt Buffalo would suit us nicely.
We were heading off to hire the bikes when a lovely couple we met at Bright (Bev and Barry Sykes) insisted we take their bikes rather than pay to hire them. They had very expensive bikes, 8 gears, 3 speeds - fantastic - gave us their helmets, bike packs and off we went. I was a bit wobbly and nervous at first but gained confidence and really enjoyed a beautiful ride. However, very wobbly legs after the trip and a very sore bum!!!
We are continually meeting such very generous, interesting people who are all so very friendly. Of course, you occasionally come accross the "Mr BMW's" of the world, (no offence meant to anyone we know who actually does own a BMW - just our way of communicating personality types) but I suppose we are all different - makes it - interesting anyway!!
Woke on our final day to the sound of rain drops on the roof. A good time to set off. Drove in absolutely pouring rain (the first of the trip since we left Melbourne) to visit our friends in Cootamunda, Tony & Lorraine Naughton, ex-neighbours from Mt Keira.