The Victorian Highlands are probably known best for their ski slopes. Every winter people pack up car loads of gear for themselves and their children and drive up to the mountains. Here they will spend a few days breaking legs, listening to children whinge and trying not to freeze to death. This joy is short lived before you have to pack the car with the same gear that is now twice as wet and heavy.
Ok, it’s actually not that bad but it does seem that everyone thinks the fun is gone once the snow has melted and I am here to prove them wrong!
1) Cycling Adventure
Whether you want to get up into the mountains and bomb the hills on a mountain bike or you want to ride your bike to a few old pubs, the rides in and around the High Country have you covered.
For those of you who want as much of an adrenaline rush as snowboarding I would suggest mountain biking The Delatite River Trail at Mount Buller. It’s a bit of a rocky start to begin with before you descend towards the river. You then have multiple river crossings before arriving at Mirimbah Park, where you can cool off with a swim and grab a bite to eat at Mirimbah Store.
My pick for those of you wanting a bit of leisure with your ride would be the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. This ride has over 100 km of sealed, off road tracks that will take you through or close to the tourist towns of Wangaratta, Milawa, Beechworth, Rutherglen, Bright and Wandiligong. No matter where you decide to break up your ride you will be treated to the finest produce, craft beers, wine and country hospitality.
2) Fly Fishing
Fly fishing is something that almost everyone I talk to wants to do but no one I know has ever learned. The image of a man standing waist deep in crystal clear water, all by himself as the sun sets is always entrancing. Well if you want to learn, The Victorian High Country is the place to do it. There are multiple courses running in the area, from two hour casting lessons to full day and weekend packages. The best thing about learning in Australia is the fact you don’t need to keep an eye out for Grizzly bears so you are free to enjoy the view.
3) White Water Rafting
While not as intense as our neighbours over the pond in New Zealand, we do still get some rapids as the snow melts and the rivers rise. One particularly fun spot is The Ovens River in Bright. Absolute Outdoors hire out two person kayaks in the peak period between September and November and single kayaks at all other times during the year. Prior to letting you go off on your own they will give you some basic lessons that will allow you to navigate the 12 rapids, just make sure to keep an eye out for Kevin Bacon.
4) Victoria’s High Country Brewery Trail
Now that we have the people who love a bit of exercise sorted let’s get onto the good stuff; food and drink! Victoria’s High Country Brewery Trail is an easily drivable, or even better, chauffeured drive through the high country. Extending from the river to the mountains this drive takes in four of Victoria’s best breweries; Black Dog Brewery (Taminick), Bridge Road Brewers (Beechworth), Bright Brewery (Bright) and Sweetwater Brewing Company (Mount Beauty). All towns have accommodation so be sure to check in at all the breweries during the day, before deciding where to spend the night!
5) Wine Regions of the High Country
Wine, I like to drink it but have to admit I don’t know enough about it. The High County wine regions can be over shadowed by regions such as The Yarra Valley and The Barossa, however the high country has a very diverse range across six regions. I would suggest if you are as lacking in wine culture as me, this would be the spot for a great education. Take your pick from the following six regions: Alpine Valleys, Beechworth, Glenrowan, King Valley, Rutherglen and Upper Goulburn.
Pick a few buddies and become an expert!