I first heard about Bright, Victoria twice within a couple of hours of each other a month ago.
That was motivation enough to say yes to a family trip down there.
Had I never heard of it before because it was not worth knowing, or because locals wanted to keep this Oven Valley town secretly secluded in the foothills of the Victorian Alps?
After spending three days in Bright, I know it is definitely not because of the first reason, and I hope its not because of the second, as I’m about to tell the world if they want a unique and wholesome Australian experience then come to Bright.
The beauty and peace of a mountain town
We hit the Alpine scenery about 30 minutes out from Bright. The towering pines told me we made the right decision driving 8 hours to get here.
Usually we head north to Australian beach towns, rarely do we go south or inland to mountains.
It seems Australian beaches are most lauded, and with good reason, but, Australia offers so much more than crystal clear waters and hunky lifesavers.
A beach will soothe and balance you. It will give you a place to play and a place to relax, but it has it limitations in what it can offer beyond the sandy shores and horizon line.
The mountains give you much more – a deeper, more grounded connection to the earth and a gentle, uplifting energy.
I understood the seductive power of the mountains while living in the United States. The more I experienced, the more I wanted the peaceful energy the trees and heights wrapped me in.
I felt the energy when I drove through the avenue of deciduous trees into Bright. There’s something about pine trees and leaves that change from deep green to brilliant gold every year that captures my heart. (I’ve tried to explain it before in my post Home: the only thing that makes sense)
Mountain towns have an energy of people who are content, yet desire to move forward.
It’s like living within that cyclic aspect of nature, they understand transition and growth. All things shall pass and abundance will soon follow decay. Whether nature is in a season of growth or death, there is still much it can contribute to your happiness.
They are grounded and wholesome, which is evident in the friendly smiles that radiate from people who amble by, who stop at the town market for neighbourly chats, who produce amazing local produce that will have your body zinging with vitality hours later.
In mountain towns, the trees and the peaks beckon freedom and simplicity, and exploring the gift of a nature is a way to rejuvenate the body and soul.
The effect of Bright on happiness
Many of the locals we spoke to during our stay in Bright told similar stories of the impact a move to Bright had on their serenity and happiness.
Kim Abbatte, our host for the Bright Delight trip and our stay in her beautiful Bellas of Bright cottage, moved to Bright 5 years ago from Melbourne.
“We knew that the focus of our lives was on work and the struggles to cover a mortgage and lifestyle costs.”
The Abbatte’s always wanted to move to Bright and one day decided to just do it.
“It was the best decision we ever made. The focus of our life now is on each other and enjoying every day.”
Jessie, the owner of the Rail Trail Cafe in nearby Porepunkah, moved to the area abut 6 years ago. Originally from LA, he married a Melbourne girl and they travelled to find a place to live away from the hectic city life. They found Bright and an old empty house they turned into a small café offering delicious LA style Mexican food.
“We love it here. Everyone is so happy and friendly. It’s quiet and relaxed.” Jessie exuded peace and happiness.
No wonder we sat at that cafe for so long soaking it all up.
We ran into Roy on the streets. He was chatting with a lady who after years spent living in Far North Queensland returned home to Bright for that fresh mountain air she can no longer live without.
Roy invited us to have look at his 3 week old restaurant, Thirteen steps. His passion and enthusiasm matching his friendliness. He shared with us his story of having a similar restaurant in St Kilda, that was a money machine.
Until his partner shovelled away the profits.
“I now have to thank my best mate because it brought me here to Bright and I couldn’t be happier. There’s no anger or stress any more”
Imagine a town that is filled with content and happy people. This is Bright.
Living the life in Bright
For our time there I didn’t hear anything about the outside world. It’s not as if that information is not available, but what is the point to hearing it? Life is too good in the Valley with too many things to enjoy.
There’s mountains to paraglide off, bike down, or hike up; there’s rivers to walk along, swim in, or waterslide down into; there’s an abundance of cafes to eat fresh produce and drink good coffee; there’s breweries to sit and relax to music to; wineries to tour; helicopter rides to take; cycling trails to amble along on ( or a bit quicker pace if you are part of the cycling groups that can be seen everywhere); and in the winter time there are nearby mountain to ski off.
And there is lots of fresh air.
The days are sunny and warm and the evenings crisp and clear.
On our first night, we sat on the porch of our cosy Bella’s of Bright Cottage watching the sky turn pink above the mountains. The girls chased each other on the deck and played in the paddock below.
A kangaroo bounced by with a joey in her pouch munching the grass of the sloped hill behind us.
My wine never tasted so good.
I could see myself spending a summer on a porch like this embracing the mountains every evening with the sigh of a day lived well.
Have you been to Bright, Victoria before?
Do you love mountain towns?
Stay tuned for a post on Things to do in Bright and the day I met a ghost in a small Bright cafe.