High Country Destination Guide
Discover the Best of Victoria's High Country
High-tail it to Victoria's High Country, where there ain't no mountain high enough to not explore. If you're looking for ideas for the long weekend in Victoria—whether it's a country holiday with the kids, a wine region tour with the girls, or a romantic getaway with your significant other—we're giving you the heads up to head to the High Country.
Playing host to a huge range of towns, you can explore Victorian High Country by travelling along the Great Alpine Road, all the way from Wangaratta to Metung if you so desire. Your prospects are as bright as those that discovered gold in the mid 1800s.
A scenic High Country drive might be your style, within the comfort of your own vehicle, or you could choose to tackle the terrain by bicycle, exploring some of Victoria's best mountain biking trails. If romance and a bicycle made for two is more your calling, you may even like to mosey from winery to winery on some charming vintage wheels. With eight wine regions, take your pick of Durif and Muscat in Rutherglen, Prosecco and Sangiovese in the King Valley, or Chardonnay in Beechworth—and that’s just to get you started.
Check out the Halliday Wine Companion collaboration with Vinomofo for their picks of the King Valley
Bright is a hugely popular destination for weekend getaways in Vic, probably because there's a little something for everyone. The picturesque town is a photographers dream, culture buffs can visit the museum, and nature lovers can explore the stunning gardens and Ovens River. Bright Brewery and Bright Chocolate are favoured foodie stops, and if you’re visiting on the third Saturday of the month, check out the Bright Markets in Howitt Park, where they; ‘Make it, bake it, or grow it.'
Food fiends have so many options in High Country Victoria. Expect to indulge in cheese, meat, olives and seasonal produce galore. Fine dining aficionados may like to visit Provenance in Beechworth for its Age Good Food Guide two-hatted fame and historic bank building. It's also worth stopping at the iconic Beechworth Bakery for a true-blue country pie or pastry.
Image Source: Instagram @brightandsurrounds
Once you’re done sampling the unique fortifieds in Rutherglen—such as Scion Winery’s ‘After Dark’ fortified Durif—pop over to All Saints Estate. The awe-inspiring heritage-listed castle is surrounded by vineyards, gardens and even a duck pond. Dine at their Terrace restaurant or stock up for a gourmet picnic from their on-site providore.
If you’d prefer to source your own dinner, some of the best fishing spots in the High Country include Mount Beauty, Lake Buffalo, Kiewa River, Ovens River and Buckland River, the latter two offering great fly-fishing opportunities between October and December. For those less adventurous but no less hungry for a good catch, try your hand at the fish farms in Harrietville.
In the warmer months make a splash in The Ovens and Buckland rivers, with swimming in Bright and Porepunkah, or kayaking and canoeing tours available to book through local tour operators. Adventurers can explore Mount Buffalo National Park’s cliffs, boulder stacks and waterfalls, with climbing, abseiling and even caving options. While discovering the beauty of the National Parks, it’s the best time for wildlife spotting. Keep your eyes peeled for wallabies, wombats, echidnas, birds and possums, or try Mansfield or Lake Eildon at dusk to spy kangaroos. Horse riding tours from beginner to experienced can be organized, with one scenic tour traversing Alpine ash and snow gum trees to the scene of The Man from Snowy River.
No one would argue that the High Country is the perfect destination for a winter getaway. Wake up surrounded by fresh white snow at Falls Creek, Mount Hotham or Mount Buller, and hit the slopes with some of Australia’s best ski spots. Snowboarding of course can’t be passed up, and for the young ones or perhaps the slightly less agile, you can even have fun tobogganing.
Image Source: Instagram @fallsaustralia
After a day on the slopes you’ll be wanting to relax, after all, what’s a winter holiday without a bit of R&R. There are more than a few spas in the High Country to pamper yourself at. Try Onsen Retreat + Spa in Dinner Plain, which has both an indoor and outdoor alpine spa, or The Spa Beechworth, which is wind-down central. After your treatment here you can wander through the beautiful 100 year old gardens.
If you’re after some shopping in the High Country, Beechworth is a great destination. Shops are situated in historic gold rush architecture, often with products that link to the heritage of the town. Beechworth Gold is a jewellery shop in the old Bank of Victoria building, or you can find some antiques—and wine!—at the Beechworth Wine Centre.
If you’re a visual person, check out the Benalla Regional Art Gallery where you can find Sidney Nolan’s ‘Glenrowan’ tapestry, among other artistic pieces. Alternatively you can feast your eyes in a whole different way by booking a ballooning trip and taking in some of the jaw-dropping alpine landscape from an aerial perspective.
Emulating the High Country gold prospectors from 1800s, we've done all the work for you to find the next goldmine to lay your hat at. Our selection of boutique, High Country accommodation will have you inspired to kick back and immerse yourself in the stunning alpine scenery. Check out our collection of High Country luxury stays here.
Whatever time of year you visit, there’s plenty to do and see in the Victorian High Country. Here’s a few events that would be worth checking out, and maybe even making the trip for.
January – Opera in the Alps
March – The Myrtleford Festival
April – Wall to Wall Benalla Street Art Festival
April – Dinner Plain Easter Festival
May – High Country Harvest
November – Wangaratta Jazz Festival
November – La Dolce Vita in the King Valley