Whether shrouded in crisp, white snow, or bursting with wildflowers in spring, Victoria’s High Country is more than worth the drive at any time of year.

 

Please note! Flooding is affecting a bunch of destinations around Victoria at the moment. Please check VIC Emergency and VIC Traffic before heading out on your adventure!

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Dhudhuroa, Taungurung, Waywurru, Gunaikurnai and Jaithmathang peoples who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

 

Highlights

  • Alpine walks galore
  • Paddock to plate dining experiences and wines galore!
  • Gravel riding and extra challenging road cycling 
  • Rugged 4WD tracks and remote campsites

Expect sweeping alpine views, bucket loads of fresh air and a sense of space like no other when you adventure in Victoria’s High Country. Home to a mind-boggling amount of adventure, one might need to lock in a few trips to this region to fully grasp just how thrilling it is! 

Hiking

The Horn (Mt Buffalo)

We love a sunrise hike, particularly if it’s in the mountains! Just a short drive from Bright, The Horn is a snackable summit climb (just 45 mins return!) that offers a breathtaking experience of Mt Buffalo. 

The walk starts at The Horn Picnic Area and ascends through striking granite country with unparalleled 360-degree views of the surrounding region (mountain on mountain on mountain!) until you reach the 1723-metre high peak. At the top, unpack the Jetboil and nestle in for an unforgettable alpine sunrise! This spot is also popular at sunset if you’re into Kestrel bird action.

Huggins Lookout Walk (Bright)

In the mood for a leg burner but running low on time? Take the short but steep 1.5km trek to Huggins Lookout. A High Country hike that’ll awaken your calves! This trail winds its way up the side of a valley, gradually opening up to scenic vistas across High Country’s most vivid town, Bright.

This hike can be done in an hour or so, leaving you plenty of time to head back down the mountain and check out the town itself.

The Huts Walk (Mt Hotham)

Is there anything more romantic to a hiker than an alpine hut? Well, The Huts Walk has three of them and they’re all connected by 18km of Snow gums, wildflowers (during spring and summer), open woodlands, bubbling brooks, and the crispest air on Earth. 

This hike intertwines some of the region’s best natural landscapes and historical landmarks. A proper day hike, with sharp ascents to wake up the legs, stream-side places to have an arvo cuppa, and the cutest hut infrastructure you’ve ever laid your peepers on! The Hut’s Walk can be tackled as a complete circuit or individual sections, and is best to walk from November to April.

Wild Swimming

Ladies Bath Falls (Mt Buffalo)

A crystal clear oasis in the summer months, Ladies Bath Falls is a magical place for a High Country dip. A soft cascade transcends into a refreshing lower pool surrounded by chunky boulders, perfect for sun lounging, or chomping down on a post-swim sanga. 

Ladies Bath Falls is only a short walk from the trailhead at Eurobin car park. If you feel like a longer waterfall mission, keep meandering onto the Upper and Lower Eurobin Falls, this aquatic adventure will take around half a day, depending on how long you swim at each spot. 

 

Ladies Bath Falls, Mt Buffalo National Park, photo from Visit Vic

Photo thanks to Visit Vic

Lake Sambell (Beechworth)

Beechworth is a historic wonder, well worth a day trip or a weekend visit, but during summer, it can be a scorcher. 

Luckily for toasted travellers, there’s cooling respite at Lake Sambell, constructed in the gold rush era, it’s just a short 1km walk from the town centre. Sandy Beach is a great place for a dunk, or to explore the reserve further on one of the many walking trails that surround the lake.

Kayaking

Kayaking the Ovens River

Grab your paddle! Taking off at either Porepunkah or Bright, kayaking with Bright Adventure Company is a terrific way to experience the magical Ovens River. 

The team offer kayak tours for all experience levels, including family-friendly tours. They also run whitewater rafting when the river’s high enough and have SUPs to rent if you’re into a more vertical Ovens’ experience.

 

Lake William Hovell (Cheshunt)

Own a yak and a little more confident with a paddle? Head to Lake William Hovell Dam for some of Victoria’s most epic paddle sections, or take a leisurely cruise around the Dam’s circumference. 

The paddle from Lake William Hovell to Cheshunt South offers grade 2-3 rapids, and floats you through picturesque farmland and bush-cloaked riverbanks. Or test your luck at the source by reaching the King River at the dam’s southern end.

Bike Riding

II Monte (Whitfield)

This is a day in the saddle you won’t regret. This 72km gravel ride, takes in some of the High Country’s best, sweeping alpine views, moments to enjoy the King River and plenty of climbing to earn yourself a post-ride cold beer at the King River Brewing, or the Dalz Otto Winery for a vino. You’ll also get to meander along Rose River Road, a famous stretch amongst riders in the area.

Percorso di Cruffin (King Valley)

Let me translate that for you… Percorso di Cruffin is Italian for ‘Road to Cruffins’.

Start and finish in Moyhu, and spend 53km riding gravel through the King Valley all to collect a delectable croissant cross muffin at the Milawa KitchenI love an adventure with a foodie purpose, and this one has plenty of tastebud pit stops to make along the way including Brown Brothers Winery.

7 Peaks

This is one of our country’s most testing road cycling challenges. Tackle 160km of world-class alpine riding, conquering Mt Buffalo, Mt Buller, Dinner Plain, Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain. 

Gaining over 7000m elevation, this ride will challenge the legs, spirit, and your buns. Or train up to complete it, by breaking the Peaks into sections and staying overnight in one of the alpine villages along the way. Road cycling season starts in October!

 

4WDing

4WD tracks can be tricky at the best of times, so make sure to only head to these tracks during the warmer months when snow and ice aren’t making the tracks slippery!

Circuit Road (Mt Stirling)

Just half an hour from Mansfield, lies a labyrinth of epic 4WD tracks, campsites and more! Get to know Mt Stirling in all its beauty whilst exploring the stunning alpine ash forests and Snow gum woodlands. 

Feel miles away from civilisation and access otherwise unreachable alpine areas on this epic 50-80km loop, or detour and tackle various tracks to experience Stirling in all its glory. Please note 4WDing is seasonal and often tracks are closed after rain or snow, check Parks Victoria before heading out for all updates.

Billy Goats Bluff (Alpine National Park)

Another track for those who’re prepared, experienced and have a vehicle to match. Rated as one of the hardest tracks in the country, this iconic 125km route has wildly narrow sections, sharp rocks, and magnificent views.

Its top-selling point is the elevation climbs and descents, with over 1000m variation in under 8km. Another one to bring the vehicle recovery kit on!

Read more: How To 4WD For Beginners

From The Air

Hot Air Ballooning (King Valley)

Whilst Victoria’s High Country offers the state’s highest walks, viewpoints, and summits, there’s nothing quite like being airborne to take in a landscape. Gain a new perspective of the King Valley as you soar above it in a hot air balloon, just like a Wedgetail eagle! Catch views of the mountain ranges stretching as far as the eye can see, and the changing landscape as it shifts from valley to peak. 

Where to Eat and Drink

GRACE. bar + eatery (Rutherglen)

House baked bread, ricotta gnocchi with pumpkin, and hazelnut daquoise to finish! Yummo! GRACE. Bar + eatery is another exceptional example of the High Country’s burgeoning foodie scene. Located on the main drag of Rutherglen, it pairs seasonal dishes with an extensive wine and cocktail list, a menu fit to satisfy any hungry adventurer!

 

King River Brewery (King Valley)

A satiating post adventure pitstop, King River Brewing is everything you want in a regional brewery and more. Drop by for; balanced, fresh and exciting brews, top-notch woodfired pizzas and honest, country hospitality.

Love beer as much as adventure? Check out the High Country Brewery Trail, a hoppy weekend or week-long itinerary that includes visits to seven of the High Country’s best breweries. 

Templar Lodge (Tawonga)

A fancy treat! Experience a seasonal contemporary Australian menu, set in a cosy, historic building amongst working cattle stations at the chef-owned Templar Lodge. Lying at the foot of Mt Bogong, this is High Country hospitality at its finest, with vegetables plucked straight from the garden and the best local produce the region has to offer.

 

Backwoods Distilling Co. (Yackandandah)

One of Yackandandah’s funkiest haunts, Backwoods Distilling Co. produces handcrafted small batches of whisky and gin. Book in for a tasting to learn more about the distilling process, or drop by for a casual drink amongst the copper stills. We doubt you’ll be leaving this tasting room empty handed!

 

Sam Miranda (King Valley)

Sam Miranda will cure any Italy-FOMO you may be experiencing, after the Instagram onslaught of friend’s European summer adventures. A place to sit back and enjoy share plates of seasonal, local produce whilst sipping on unique and interesting Mediterranean varietals. Nom nom!

 

 

Empire Hotel (Beechworth)

Is a trip to the country really complete without a meal at a local pub? If you find yourself near the Empire Hotel stop in. This institution offers cosy, classic charm, top pub fare, an upstairs balcony and a blazing fire in winter. We damn love it!

 

Tomahawks (Bright)

The place to eat in Bright if you’re hungry, and a lil picky when it comes to flavours. From burgers, lamb ribs, and ceviche to mouth-watering southern fried chicken, Tomahawks’ menu will have you salivating in seconds. Plus they’ve carted up some of Melbourne’s best brews, so you can enjoy the crafty comforts of the city in the country. Tuck in!

Where to Stay?

 

Lake Catani Campground (Mount Buffalo)

A lakeside stay with paddle options available and a campsite cloaked in Snow gums. Located on Mt Buffalo and only a short drive from Porepunkah, Lake Catani is a bush camper’s dream! Open from November to April, bookings can be made through Parks Victoria’s website. Lock in a campsite here if you need to tap out and let nature do its thing.

 

Glenbosch Farm Stay

Take that special someone, somewhere special! Glenbosch Winery offers guests self-contained eco-cottages, that’ll put the R back into relaxation. There are hot tubs and a bar fridge full of local goodies, a luxe experience you won’t want to leave.

 

Valley View Caravan Park (King Valley)

Pick Valley View Caravan Park if you have a hankering for adventure in the King Valley. A family friendly campground, this place is the perfect basecamp for exploring the trails, rides, and surrounding national parks. They offer a range of accommodation options, including glamping tents and cabins for when it’s frosty in winter.

Essential Gear

  • Warm clothes – you’re in the alpine after all and the weather can change quickly all year round!
  • Hiking shoes, those tracks are a lil slippery after rain
  • 4WD recovery kit 
  • First aid kit 
  • A kayak or some bikes if they’re in the garage
  • A sense of unbridled adventure! 

How To Get There

The High Country encompasses quite a large region across the north east of Victoria, roughly a 2-4 hour drive depending on your adventure destination.

Leave No Trace

Victoria’s High Country is pristine! At We Are Explorers, we reckon it’s a good idea to keep it that way, so make sure to take all of your rubbish with you, minimise your plastic use as much as possible, stick to the paths and try not to disturb the area or animals. Mother Nature will thank you for it!

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!