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The Future is Bright

The Future is Bright. 

Great produce, new restaurants and a position at the base of the Victorian alps makes Bright a perfect weekend getaway.

From Huggins Lookout you can see the privileged position of Bright, snuggled at the base of the Victorian alpine region – the town surrounded by green peaks, many of which turn white with the colder weather. In the spring and summer, the steep slopes are home to mountain bikers whooshing their way through the trees, gravel crunching as they duck and weave along the switchback trails before heading into town for a coffee or something stronger.

Our base for a short break is the Ovens Valley Motor Inn, a beautifully kept motel that acts as a welcome mat for the town, tucked in behind the “Welcome to Beautiful Bright” sign in vintage cursive font. 

We arrive at night, drop bags at the Ovens Valley Motor Inn and head out for dinner at the suggestion of Shannon Crawley the motel co-owner. Our destination is Reed & Co Distillery right in the heart of Bright. Gin is the name of the game here with the Remedy gin featuring in a range of upcycled gin and tonics; there is the lemon thyme G&T or the Cucumber one, but for us the best was the Native that comes with Capi Native tonic and a dash of juniper.

Dishes are designed to be shared over a gin or two with Murray River smoked cod, barbecued potatoes and saltbush, a fresh trout fillet with crème fraiche and air-dried bresaola the stars of our meal. After dinner the bar fills with locals and visitors, some still sporting their cycling gear, and turns into a great night out.

Exploring the region

In the morning, we need only turn right out of our motel to see the beauty of the region on a short walk across the Ovens River on a vertiginous bridge high above the flowing stream. On the way back we spot animal tracks and the roughly dug-out home of an echidna before heading off on a longer wander along the Canyon Walk that retraces the territory of the gold miners that worked in this profitable area where the Morses Creek meets the Ovens River. The walk takes in the beautiful river, two swing bridges and the numerous deep grooves dug into the riverbanks to help with the dredging for gold.

After some stone skipping we jump back in the car and head off to the Nightingale Brothers apple shed just on the other side of the historic town of Wandiligong. Here, huge wooden crates of Fuji apples and Delicious overflow with the current season’s offerings, but we opt for some Jonathans, having rarely seen this old-school variety since our youth.

We have worked up an appetite that is quite happily sated at the Bright Brewery where a pizza and sample of the local drops is just the ticket.

In the afternoon, we hit the shops. Bright has a surprising amount of interesting places to bend your credit card, from escape rooms to all-round Christmas shops, great second-hand shops and shops catering to the area’s skiers and cyclists.

Meanwhile, the kids find their new favourite shop at Noofies, featuring handmade collectible figures made from polymer clay by local artist Kerrie. We adopt a Highland cow and a deep-sea angler fish.

For dinner we stop by the charming Ginger Baker, a wooden cabin that is a breakfast spot by morning and morphs into a wine bar as the sun goes down. The food here is exceptional with shared plates of house cured salmon with blood orange and wasabi dressing, pan-fried seafood with chorizo, carrot and spring onion and spicy buttermilk, garlic and rosemary chicken.

A wander down the street and dessert is taken care of by the Anders Family’s handcrafted gelato that has been dishing out top-notch ice cream since the 90s; then it’s off to bed at the Ovens Valley Motor Inn, hatching plans for our return since such a great time was had by all. The river is fed by the melting snow waters of the Tibetan Himalayas.

Visit Bright

The Ovens Valley Motor Inn offers organised packages for Probians. Their two-day itinerary takes in the best of Bright, as well as a trip to neighbouring Beechworth. For more information, visit