Over the past weekend, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with a wonderful friend of mine and his family. My youngest son and I took a little road trip out to country Victoria. They live in Wangaratta which is in North East Vitoria. From my home in Melbourne, it is around 260 km drive North East along mostly the Hume Highway. It was a pretty hot day too and prior to leaving I made sure I checked the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website for any known fire alerts along the way. A long drive but great to be out on the road.
The drive can be done in two and a half hours but I wanted to take a little longer and ensure we stopped for some lunch and to just break up the trip a bit. Plus it was a hot day of around 30º Celcius in Melbourne whilst in Wangaratta, it was closer to 40º Celcius. Made sure we had plenty of fluids on hand too. We stopped in a town called Benalla where there is a Wall to Wall arts festival of large murals painted on blank walls of buildings throughout the town. It was really interesting and fascinating but being so hot, we were not out of the car for very long. We arrived in Wangaratta mid-afternoon and spent a great evening catching up with good friends.
On Saturday we travelled to Bright which is a further 81km South East from Wangaratta. Whilst the entire drive from Melbourne to Wangaratta saw a country clearly struggling with drought, Bright was awash of green. I had travelled to Bright with my own family when I was only little. I vaguely remember bits of that trip but most of all spending days playing in the Ovens River that cuts through town. It is a really pretty town that benefits from a lot of tourism as it is in the Alpine Region of Victoria. We made our way to the river and the kids got to play and walk in the river just as I had when I was young. There was also a water park with dozens of water fountains and water canons that the kids could play with.
We had lunch at the Bright Brewery and I highly recommend this place if you are visiting Bright. The brewery includes a large indoor/outdoor restaurant that sits high up on the bank overlooking the river. They served great meals and of course being a brewery had several of their own beers on tap. I tried a couple there and also took away a mixed six pack of delicious beers. We spent some time walking the streets and found a great lolly shop where we got the kids some treats.
On the trip home we stopped at Feathertop Wineries. This property sits high up on a hill with an amazing unobstructed view out over the valley towards Mount Buffalo in the distance. We sampled a few wines and hit the road again as the kids were starting to get tired and over being in the car. We made two last stops before heading home for the night. We went to Tolpuddle Goat Cheese and then to Millawa Cheese. My boy is a cheese lover, as am I. And we sampled every cheese they had and even bought a few to take home.
On Sunday we drove out to Beechworth which is only thirty minutes from Wangaratta. This is a very old Victorian country town that was a major scene in the Gold Rush days of the 1850s. The town does not appear to have aged much since those days as all the buildings in the main streets were old country style properties. We stopped by the famous Beechworth Bakery to grab some lunch before driving up to a lookout spot above Woolshed Falls. By this point, it was 42º Celcius and the day was getting on. Once we finished our lunch and packed up our gear back in Wangaratta it was time to get on the road for home. We drove back to Melbourne with only one quick stop for some food.
We had such an amazing weekend away and it was really fun to have a road trip and get out and see more of Victoria. I think more road trips are in order. My friends were such generous and amazing hosts and I love them very much for it. If you are looking for a weekend getaway or even longer, then I highly recommend you visit this area. There is so much to see and do and if you are a foodie, there are so many farms selling fresh produce and don’t forget the wineries. All the images in this blog were shot on the Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF23mmF2 and the Fujifilm X70. Happy travels.