Whatever the season, Victoria’s High Country delivers breathtaking views, gourmet fare and warm welcomes in the villages along the way.
By Sue Gough Henly
Whether you go skiing or boarding amid mystical snow gum trees, enjoy a hike near the top of Australia, pedal casually along a bucolic rail trail, challenge yourself to some of the toughest road cycling in Australia or simply explore a host of character-laden country towns, Victoria’s High Country delivers clean mountain air, a kaleidoscope of gourmet treats and unforgettable scenery.
HOW TO GET THERE
The national parks, towns and ski areas of Victoria’s High Country are between 2½ and 4½ hours drive from Melbourne. Access is generally along the Hume Highway. You can also take a one-hour flight to Albury from Melbourne or Sydney, and drive between one and two hours to various High Country destinations.
- Explore dramatic mountain landscapes with soaring alpine ash trees, mysterious snow gums and beautiful button grass plains
- Discover beautiful high country towns filled with history and charm
- Feast on fabulous food, wine and beer
High Country highlights
TOP THINGS TO DO IN VICTORIA’S HIGH COUNTRY
Drive the Great Alpine Road
Wind your way along Victoria's Great Alpine Road, from Wangaratta in the northeast to Metung on the beautiful Gippsland Lakes. The 339 kilometre (210 mile) adventure along Australia's highest year-round accessible sealed road takes you right up close to Victoria's diverse landscapes. Travel through lofty mountain ranges, down plunging valleys into lush forests, and past rolling vineyards and fertile farmland to the sparkling waterways on Gippsland's coast. The trip will take about five hours without stops, but you'll want to pause along the way to explore historic townships, get out in the wilderness, and taste fresh local produce, craft beers and cool-climate wines.
Get active in nature
Go for a leisurely stroll, a day hike or a multi-day trek in the Alpine National Park (Victoria’s largest) and Mount Buffalo National Park. The 10 kilometre (six mile) trail between Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham offers a lovely way to enjoy the summer wildflowers or go cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing in winter. Saddle up for a guided horse ride through Man from Snowy River country and see places such as Mount Stirling and Craig’s Hut from the iconic Australian film set. Enjoy a casual cycle on several converted rail trails, challenge yourself on Victoria’s 7 Peaks Ride (the toughest in Australia) or ride The Dirty Dozen, 12 iconic mountain bike trails through the Australian bush. Go rock climbing, abseiling and caving at Mount Buffalo. Or try fly fishing on the upper reaches of the Murray River in the heart of one of Australia’s blue ribbon trout locales.
Enjoy the landscape and delicious produce of beautiful country towns
Discover a host of fascinating country towns each with its own personality. There’s Beechworth, one of Australia’s best preserved gold rush-era towns with wide streets, superb shopping, great food and wine, and fascinating gold rush and bushranger history. Bright is filled with fabulous restaurants and cafés and offers terrific access to the mountains. There’s Myrtleford, surrounded by rich farmland and wine country; Mount Beauty, an excellent gateway to adrenaline adventures; perfectly preserved Chiltern with its many antique shops and Glenrowan with its Ned Kelly stories.
Explore diverse wine regions and the High Country Beer Trail
Taste some of Australia’s most interesting and distinctive wines. From Rutherglen’s famous fortified wines (Muscat, Port, Topaque) and hearty red Durif wines to the mineral-laden, cool-climate Chardonnay grown on the hills around Beechworth to the King Valley’s Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio and Nebbiolo wines crafted by winemakers with a proud Italian heritage, you’ll enjoy a real sense of discovery as you explore the High Country’s diverse wine regions. If you are a beer lover, follow the High Country Brewery Trail to see how pure mountain water is transformed into some of the country’s finest craft brews. There are even a couple of cider makers who transform the local apples into another form of gold.
Go skiing or boarding
Victoria’s High Country offers something to suit all tastes and styles, whether it's a peaceful cross-country ski or downhill skiing and snowboarding. With the largest lift network in the state, three terrain parks and two toboggan parks, Mount Buller is the closest downhill resort to Melbourne (a 3½ hour drive). Pretty Falls Creek is Victoria’s largest alpine resort while the highest is Mount Hotham, known as the serious skier’s mountain. Head to Dinner Plain, nestled among snow gums, for cross-country skiing.
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