Victoria’s spectacular Great Alpine Road can be driven in less than five hours … but any person who does it that quickly needs to seriously re-assess why they are bothering. This mesmerising 308-kilometre-long drive wends its way past mountains, valleys, forests and rivers and is exactly the reason most people load up the rig in the first place.The route linking Wangaratta in the north with Bairnsdale in the Gippsland region is said to be Australia’s highest year-round accessible sealed road. Driving along it over the Great Dividing Range and through Mt Hotham will, of course, be a very different experience depending on the time of year it is done.
Wangaratta itself is steeped in Ned Kelly-related history and the area also offers wineries and fossicking options nearby to tempt unhurried travellers to dally. While the beautiful town of Bright on the Ovens River is only an hour so so away from here, most people are already eager to take a detour from the Great Alpine Road in order to explore. Iconic Mount Buffalo National Park. Waterfalls wildflowers, walking tracks, towering peaks and spectacular scenery make this a must-see.
While any time is a good time to visit Bright, the sensational colours of the town’s numerous European trees make it most spectacular in autumn. Then, as motorists climb through Harrietville to the resort of Mount Hotham, the Visit Victoria organisation says the landscape changes from alpine ash to snow gum forest and heathland. Stopping at Danny’s Lookout which offers amazing views to the summit of Mount Feathertop, the second-highest mountain in the state, is highly recommended.
Omeo is the service centre for the local cattle, sheep and timber industries, to Bairnsdale, is approximately 120 kilometres. This is another fascinating region and more wonders await as you get ready to explore it.
There are many great places to stay and visit while you explore the Great Alpine ranges.