18 Exciting Things to do in Bright, Victoria

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Bright is a small town in the Victorian High Country that’s known for its picturesque mountain landscape that makes it a popular destination all year round.

aerial of bright town amongst the mountains
Credit: Tourism Victoria

Those visiting in the winter can hit the ski slopes, while in the summer, the cross country skiing routes turn into excellent mountain biking tracks.

Whether you’re a fan of the outdoors or not, you’ll find there are plenty of things to do in Bright, Victoria.

It’s also a top wine growing region with several vineyards and cellar doors. to explore, and foodies can relish in the fresh produce sourced from it’s many surrounding farms.

Whether you’re passing through on the Great Alpine Road or you’re looking for a small town to relax in for a while, here are all the best attractions in Bright, Victoria, to make sure you don’t miss out on.

Is Bright Worth Visiting?

ovens river bright with trees on either side
Credit: Tourism Victoria

The town of Bright in Victoria checks off most of our criteria for making a place liveable; it’s safe, it’s relaxing, it has a community spirit, and it has plenty of things to do, especially if you love the outdoors.

Because of it’s rural location on the Ovens River in Victoria’s High Country, Bright is all about nature.

It’s surrounded by mountains, quiet rolling countryside hills, and because of its cool climate, it has some incredible wine producers operating here.

The only downside is it’s a little too far from a major city (3 hours drive). I can’t shake Craig off this point to consider it as a place to eventually live.

But for those looking for a peaceful small town in Australia to visit on their next vacation, it’s perfect.

I LOVE beautiful Bright. Kalyra is also a major fan and has emphatically declared that she will live there one day for 10 years. I hope she invites her Mamma to visit often.

How to Get to Bright, Victoria

Map

Bright is approximately a 3-hour drive from Melbourne. To get there, you will need a car (and to get around all the Bright attractions too).

Head north east up the M31 towards Wangaratta then turn off and take the B500.

Things to Do in Bright

If you’re thinking of making your way to Bright for a weekend getaway or as a stop over on a great Australia road trip, then be sure to add the following attractions to your to do list…

1. Bike The Rail Trail

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Our favourite way to get into town from Kim’s place was along an overhanging, tree-lined section of the 94km Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail (cycle way).

The bitumen sealed track is well suited to both cycling and walking and links the townships of Wangaratta, Beechworth, Myrtleford, Porepunkah and Bright.

Bright, Victoria, Australia
scenery along the rail trail
Family friendly Rail Trail Cafe
Family friendly Rail Trail Cafe

We also cycled the 6km track to Porepunkah to have lunch at the Rail Trail Cafe, which is where you’ll find some of the best Mexican food in Australia – for real.

We recommend going a little further if you can to Feathertop Winery (10km one way trip from Bright.)

2. Grab a Pint at Bright Brewery

Bright Brewery, Victoria, Australia

You know that rail trail into town? It took us right to the Bright Brewery and a pint of some of the nicest cider you’ll ever try. They also have pretty good beer.

And get this parents of small children – the beer garden looks straight out over the kids playground.

Bright Brewery Beer Garden
Bright Brewery Beer Garden
live music at Bright Brewery
live music at Bright Brewery

Perfect for parents and kids.

Craig and I enjoyed a rare moment of time out and adult conversation. No wonder we became frequent visitors.

3. For For An Ovens River Swim

people in a park
Ovens River

During the summer, the Ovens River is dammed up in the main part of town to create a deep swimming hole area.

There are springboards, slides, and water slides into the river making it fun and refreshing for those hot alpine summer days. It’s also a great place for a picnic.

The Make. Bake. Grow markets are held every 3rd Saturday alongside the river.

5. Take the Kids to Bright playground

Right beside the Ovens River, the before mentioned playground is one of the best we’ve come across and is part of the reason Kalyra would like to live in Bright for 10 years. We visited daily.

6. Admire the Views at Huggins Lookout

Huggins Lookout Bright

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Bright, then consider walking up to Huggins Lookout.

The walk is a 1.5km out and back walk from Deacon Avenue and Zivan Court up the steep side of the valley, which then ends at the Huggins Lookout post.

The hike is quite steep with some obstacles and steps, but it will be worth it for the views.

Formed track, some obstacles, very steep with occasional steps. Sign posted.

7. Go Skiing, Tobogganing, Sledging

person skiing at falls lake
credit: Martin Young

If you’re looking for things to do in Bright in the winter, then be sure to hit The High Country Alps for a bit of skiing action.

There are many resorts near Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and Mount Buffalo National Park, which are all within easy access from Bright.

Whether you’re a complex beginner or an expert, Bright puts you in a central location to some of the best runs in Australia.

8. Go Mountain Biking in Mystic Mountain Bike Park

Mystic Mountain Bike Park

Mystic Park is what Bright is all about. It’s a community-run bike park, set in the midst of an active plantation.

It’s considered to have some of the best mountain biking runs in Australia.

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there are trails designed for all skill levels. There is over 50km of trail to explore, some dropping from 800 meters!

If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Bright, don’t miss this attraction.

9. Get Wet at Bright Splash Park

Bright Splash Park in Centenary Park
Rob Blackburn |

For those visiting Bright in the summer, you’ll want to cool your jets at the Bright Splash Park, especially if you’re travelling with kids.

The park is a playground with pipes and old gold dredge buckets dumping water on those waiting below. Surrounding the area are a few water cannons to really up the fun.

There are slides, bridges, and a creek with a river where you can swim in the shallow pools.

And do you know what the best thing about this park is? It’s free! It is undoubtedly one of the best free things to do in Bright with kids.

10. Walk the Bright Canyon Walk

Trail along Ovens River

The Bright Canyon Walk is a 3km loop hike that takes you along the Ovens River and through a scenic gorge, known as Bright Canyon.

The walk is stunning all year round. Plus, it’s an easy walk that’s ideal for families to do.

11. Visit the Wineries and Distilleries

Vineyards at ringer reef winery
Ringer Reef Winery | Credit: Tourism Victoria

I mentioned earlier that Bright was set in a wine region, so you cannot make a trip here without visiting a winery. The Ringers Reef Winery is one of the best places to sample local wines.

It was founded in the late 1800s by a gold specimen. Today, the area is less about mining gold and more about producing wine.

In 1998, Annie and Bruce Holm established the Ringer Reef vineyard on the mining area, where they produce handmade wines.

You can take guided winery tours here or grab a picnic basket with cheeses and local produce and sit out on their lawn.

bottles of liqour on bar
Credit: Tourism Victoria

If you’re more into spirits, head over to Reed & Co Distillery, which is another family-run business in Bright. They are famous for producing alternative Gins such as Yuzu gin and Koji spirits.

Day Trips from Bright

WE recommend staying in Bright and using it as a base to explore the beauty of the surrounding High Country.

There is so much to see and do in this area, and I recommend it as a fantastic alternative to the traditional Australian beach summer holiday.

12. Explore the Town of Mount Beauty

person riding bike on mountain trail
Big Mountain Bike Trail | Credit: Ride High Country

Just a 30-minute drive from Bright is the small town of Mount Beauty, which sits at the base of Mount Bogong and Falls Creek.

It’s a quaint and relaxed town with a stunning lake at its center. It also has a skiing and mountain biking culture.

If you’re visiting with your mountain bikes, head to the Big Mountain Bike Park, or if you’d prefer a game of golf, head over to the Mount Beauty Golf Club for a game or two.

13. Go Hiking in Alpine National Park

girls on hiking trail looking at mountains
Credit: Tourism Victoria

Alpine National Park is one of the best parks in Australia for hiking. You can hike up some of Victoria’s highest mountain ranges, such as the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing trail which takes you over the craggy ridges.

You can also hike along The Razorback, a ridge that leads to Mount Feathertop, Victoria’s second highest peak.

You can also find some world-class mountain bike trails and white water rafting experiences in the park. If you want to up the adventure, consider a four-wheel drive tour along the Wonnangatta Four-wheel Drive.

In the winter, it makes for the perfect spot for cross-country skiing.

14. Visit Mount Buffalo

Mt Buffalo, Victoria, Australia
View from Mt Buffalo

Only a short 40 minute drive from Bright is Mt Buffalo, a beautiful place to explore for the day. It’s perfect in the summer as it’s usually much cooler than down in the valley.

We spent the morning kayaking at Lake Catani, and enjoying a picnic at The Horn, the highest point of Mt Buffalo.

Picnic lunch at Mt Buffalo
Picnic lunch at Mt Buffalo

You can walk up the top for 360 degree views of the plateau and Australian Alps, where you will find picnic tables for visitors to use.

On the way back down stop at Ladies Bath Falls for a dip in the refreshingly clear waters.

Our divine picnic was supplied by Food Wine Friends and kayak trip was with Adventure Guides Australia.

15. Wander Around Dinner Plain

Biking at Diner Plains
Biking at Diner Plains

Dinner Plain is about a 10 minute drive from Mt Hotham, right at the peak. It’s a modern town and is a fantastic alternative to the Mt Hotham ski town, especially in the summer.

There are plenty of walking trails—don’t forget your picnic lunch to enjoy the views with. The drive itself is stunning.

It’s popular to cycle from the Valley floor up to Mt Hotham. I’d much rather the gentler trails around the Dinner Plain area. Plenty of great views and opportunity for exercise.

N.B. When we visited Dinner Plain the flies up there were horrendous, so pack your repellent.

16. Wander Around Beechworth

Beechworth Cafe, Victoria, Australia

Beechworth has legendary status for its Ned Kelly history and bakery. Only in Australia can bakeries have such a cult following—the queue resembled that of an Offspring mosh pit.

Potato Pie at Beechworth Cafe
Potato Pie at Beechworth Cafe
Bridge Road Brewers, Beechworth, Victoria
Bridge Road Brewers

Craig and I reckon the town’s best feature is the Bridge Road Brewers.

There is plenty of history, nature and boutique shopping in the area too.

17. Visit Feathertop Winery

Feathertop Winery Bright (11)
Feathertop winery

Feathertop Winery is located 10km from Bright, just past Porepunkah.

You can make your entrance to Feathertop an experience in itself by cycling the stunning Rail Trail from Bright.

We didn’t feel Kalyra would cope with the 10km one way cycle, so we drove. Since I love wine more than Craig he nominated himself as the DD.

18. Go Berry Picking at Mount Stanley

girls picking fruits out of bushes

Just up the road from Beechworth at Mt Stanley is one of the best berry picking experiences you’ll ever have.

We had so much fun at High Grove Berry And Cherry Farm, running from rows of blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries and berries we’d never heard of like Loganberries.

The best thing about this farm is that for $3 you can eat all you like while you pick.

The girls learned how to find and pick a ripe berry and how to taste one like a connoisseur of wine, we shared our thoughts on each one and whether it was worthy to make the bucket.

Only blueberries, boysenberries and raspberries made ours. These berries are also super cheap to buy.

Though you should note, this is only available when berries are in season – usually from mid December until the end of January.

Places to Eat in Bright

street in bright town with shops and red trees
Downtown Bright

Bright is the place to cafe and restaurant hop. There is an amazing number of choices and so many of them are family friendly.

Here are a few of our fave places to eat in Bright:

Blackbird Cafe

Free Wi-Fi, children’s play section, comfy couches and great food and coffee. Blackbird Cafe quickly became our local.

Tell me that you don’t spend the rest of the day singing The Beatles song: Blackbird singing in the dead of night!

Coral Lee

Coral Lee Cafe
Coral Lee Cafe

Coral Lee is a quirky and cozy cafe. Said to have some of the best coffee in Bright. Our pick is the the pesto toast for breakfast.

Food Wine Friends

We love this small cafe and providore. The food is fresh and made from local produce and the coffee is excellent.

Treat yourself with a gourmet picnic hamper to take up to Mt Buffalo. We loved what Luke prepared for us and I loved not having a hand in the making and gathering of it. For time strapped parents like us it’s such a great idea.

Want to hear a funny, ghostly tale about Food Wine Friends? Read about it here.

Riverdeck Kitchen

A pleasant spot to sit with a cuppa in the sun is the Riverdeck Kitchen overlooking the Ovens River and play area.

Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker Cafe
Ginger Baker Cafe

Ginger Baker has a lovely outside eating area, overlooking the Ovens River. There is plenty of space here for the kids to feel comfortable.

Where to stay in Bright

kalyra playing guitar next to crraig on sofa
Enjoying our house-sit in Bright, Victoria

Accommodation in Bright is mostly focused on holiday rentals or caravan parks. We have experienced both and can highly recommend. Book as far in advance as possible. You can also use the map below to help you find the right accommodation for you!

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Bright

Ovens river bubbling over rocks beside the bridge
Credit: Tourism Victoria

We spent two weeks over Christmas in Bright, staying at a lovely home with a magical view of Mount Hotham and kangaroos visiting of an evening and early morning.

Who wouldn’t want that, right?

As you can see from this guide, there are so many amazing attractions in Bright, you can find an adventure here no matter what time you visit.

We’ve been three times and wouldn’t hesitate to return!

Top tip: Avoid visiting Bright for the weeks after Christmas if you can. The town population swells from 2,000 to near 20,000. Yep, told you it was good. The weeks leading up to Christmas are just divine.

More Bright Travel Guides

Need more inspiration for your trip to Bright? Then check out these other guides…

More Victoria Travel Tips

Are you planning to visit other parts of Victoria? Then these resources may be useful to you…

Have you visited Bright? Share any tips you have in the comments!

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