The north-eastern bit of Victoria isn’t a place I’d ever visited and the Easter holidays made me strain at my leash a little just to get outdoors. The entire Great Alpine Road journey – from Wangaratta to Bairnsdale – felt like the answer to it, though the full journey (from Melbourne to Melbourne in a roughly circular route) was way too much for just a short 2-day trip up north and back again.
From Wangaratta to Metung or a whopping 339 km/211 miles, it’s a non-stop ride in the car on sealed roads would just take about 5 hours.
I didn’t feel that brave or eager to do it all in a day or 2.
Instead, the travelling companion and I did the trip up to Wangaratta amidst near-gridlocked traffic (everyone it seemed, had the same idea), went through Milawa, Bright and finally through the Tawonga Gap to Mount Beauty where we could finally rest our heads for the night after that very scenic drive.
Dotted with small towns along the way, there’s always something small to do or see and even more side-roads to take, all of which would take up a few more hours than you think you need. Do the gourmet stretch in Milawa, then turn every which way and that and there’ll be trails to walk, clearly marked, with enough nature to satisfy the most demanding hiker for miles around.
It’s high season in the weeks leading up to and past Easter. Visiting just before the Autumn festival at Bright, biking season was fully in swing before the snow hits, finding accommodation there was near impossible unless you’ve done some booking early on for the best rooms.
Thankfully, we found something in the shadow of Mt. Bogong, which was a short drive away from the trails in the Alpine National park (past Falls Creek) and some local, short walks which were just as lovely in atypically warm weather. What we didn’t manage to do was Mt. Hotham and the road to Omeo, though it’s something I’m beginning to realise can’t (and shouldn’t) be done in a day, at least, not without rushing it through and missing the chance to savour the day and the hikes.