Victoria’s spectacular Great Alpine Road can be driven in less than five hours … but any grey nomad who does it that quickly needs to seriously re-assess why they are bothering to take a trip at all!
This mesmerising 308-kilomtre-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 … but it will always be a memorable one.
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 grey nomads are already eager to take a detour from the Great Alpine Road in order to explore.the iconic Mount Buffalo National Park. Waterfalls wildflowers, walking tracks, towering peaks and spectacular scenery make this a must-see, must stop destination in its own right.
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.
The journey from Omeo the service centre for the local cattle, sheep and timber industries, to Bairnsdale, is approximately 120 kilometres. Originally settled as an inland port, the town sits on the banks of the Mitchell River and leads into the Gippsland Lakes. This is another fascinating region and more wonders await as you get ready to explore it. Alternatively, you could turn right around and enjoy the Great Alpine Road again … you most definitely wouldn’t be the first!
Albert Park Lake, Melbourne
Winton Motor Raceway, near Benalla