Not many people think of snow and mountains when they think of Australia – but there are a few hidden gems that may surprise you. Bright is one such town. Cosied up in the valley of panoramic mountains, top Australian ski hills and glowing with small alpine town charm, Bright is one of the best places to visit in Australia to experience the mountains. There are so many fun things to do in Bright that you wouldn’t expect when you first think of visiting Australia, so it’s well worth a visit.
I recently spent a month in this quaint little township, and I can safely say that it will steal your heart. From the cute cafes, alpine adventures, scenic walkways and the year-round Christmas store (yes, it even counts down to Christmas), there were so many little gems in this highland town and the surrounds. If you are looking for tips for a weekend in Bright, top things to do in Bright and fun things to do in Bright – I have you covered! I have put together my top ten things to do in Bright, Victoria. Let’s dive in.
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About Bright, Victoria...
The town of Bright is located around three hours northeast of the vibrant city of Melbourne, Victoria and sits on the edge of the famed Great Dividing Range. This expansive collection of mountain ranges, plateaus and hills stretches over 3,500km and is the fifth longest land-based mountain chain in the world and the longest in one country. This mountainous location makes alpine skiing one of the best things to do in Bright in winter and hiking one of the best things to do in Bright in summer.
Bright is easily one of the best places to visit in Victoria and ranks high on the list of best places to visit in Australia, but you will need a car to get around. This makes this the perfect destination to add to a weekend road trip, Victoria road trip, or larger Australia road trip.
Can you spend a weekend in Bright, Victoria?
Is it possible to do a weekend in Bright, Victoria? Yes, absolutely. This little town packs a punch for things to do, but can easily fit into a weekend. In fact, this is a very popular weekend destination in both winter and summer. So if you are looking for things to do for a weekend in Bright, you’re in the right place!
The best things to do in Bright, Victoria...
If you are looking for the best places to visit in Victoria and the best places to visit in Australia no matter the time of year – Bright should be on the list. I visited this beautiful alpine town in the winter, just as the fall leaves were losing their colour and beginning to fall. I then stayed for the start of the winter season. For this reason, this list is primarily geared toward the best things to do in Bright in winter and autumn. However, I have added a few additional notes on the best thing to do in summer based on a few chats I had with the locals while staying in town.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the top things to do in Bright!
1. Go skiing at Hotham
First up on the list of best things to do in Bright is a day or two up at Hotham. Hotham Alpine Resort is Australia’s highest alpine village, located an hour from Bright and 4.5 hours from Melbourne. In the winter, this hill comes alive with a few metres of white powdery goodness. As the highest alpine resort, this ski hub gets some of the best snow in Australia and has a huge variety of terrain for everyone from beginners to advanced skiers. This is one of the best places to visit in Australia for advanced riders looking to get a taste of fresh tracks in this more challenging Australian alpine terrain.
This area is also pretty magical in the summertime (or so I hear from the friendly locals)! With the sun out and the snow melting, this alpine town transforms into the perfect hiking, biking, trail running and fly fishing terrain. There is no shortage of things to do in winter and summer at Hotham.
Top tip: Be aware that the road up to Hotham can become covered in snow and ice in the winter months. As such, you will be required to carry chains. You can easily rent these from a chain hire/ ski store in town. These typically start at around $25 per day.
2. Stop by the brewery
Whether you are chasing an apres ski in the winter or a place to cool off in the summer months, Bright Brewery is the place to do it. Located in Bright, this mountain-crafted brewery is inspired by this thriving high country in both brews and brew names. For example, you can try their Black Diamond IPA, Alpine Lager or their Doggo Brau (for the dog lovers, of course).
I personally am not a beer person, so enjoyed one of their on-tap ciders instead. I also tried their mulled cider which I have never come across before. It was warm and homey in all the right ways, and would say this is one of the best things to do in Bright in winter and one of the best places to visit in Victoria for its unique high country brewery charm. Overall this place had a very laid-back vibe, and the staff were lovely. Would recommend!
3. See the trees in autumn
There are few better places to experience the magic of Autumn in Australia than in Bright. In fact, each year since 1962 there has been an Annual Bright Autumn festival to ring in this colourful season. The exact dates will change yearly depending on the temperatures and when the winter sets in, but generally the Autumn colours can be best seen during the month of May. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Australia and one of the best things to do in Victoria for photographers looking to capture vibrant Autumn scenes.
4. Grab a bite to eat
If you’re anything like me, then food is the centrepiece of travel experiences. Luckily Bright delivers in spades. Some of the top things to do in Bright when it comes to food experiences include:
Grab a burger from Burgerville
This victorian burger chain sets up shop in town next to the Bright Woolworths. It’s an easy, cost-effective and yummy dinner or quick lunch.
Japanese for lunch at Katsu
Katsu is a little Japanese hole-in-the-wall restaurant that is open only during the day from 11 am to 2 pm – making it the perfect lunch spot.
Pizza at Don Mungo’s
Don Mungo’s is a quirky pizza joint with downright delicious pizza. From traditional italian to vegan to a fusion Japanese inspired pizza – it’s bound to impress. I’ll admit, I somehow found myself grabbing pizza there two nights in a row… it was that good.
There were some other great contenders, but these were easily my top three. With all this in mind, Bright has to be one of my favourite places to visit in Victoria (aside from Melbourne, of course), for such a hub of great food.
5. Stroll along the river
Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make a trip an adventure to remember. Running through town, there is a stunning river that runs alongside Centenary Park and Howit Park that sets the backdrop for the town. There is a beautiful loop that winds its way up the river, crosses a bridge and loops back into town. It’s the perfect way to explore the natural surroundings.
6. Grab a coffee at sixpence
Coffee lovers will rejoice in knowing that there is not only a brewery in town, but also a damn good roastery. Sixpence is a small batch roastery with a passion for bringing quality coffee to North East Victoria – and boy do they deliver. Located in an old mechanic’s garage, this industrial style cafe is a quirky and beautifully transformed space to enjoy your morning brew – freshly roasted, the way we like it. This is easily one of the best things to do in Victoria and best places to visit in Victoria for coffee lovers.
7. Go mountain biking in Mystic Park
Mystic Park is a gravity mountain bike park located in the town of Bright with over 50 km of trails and 800m elevation. This park is one of the best places to visit in Victoria for mountain biking. With a range of trails, from beginner-friendly paths to advanced flow trails – there is something for every rider. Best of all, it is free to pedal up, or alternatively, you can book a shuttle service and enjoy the downhill! Easily one of the most fun things to do in Bright and a perfect addition to a weekend in Bright!
8. Ski or cycle Falls Creek
Another top contender for things to do in Bright in winter is to go skiing at Falls Creek. This mountain is another hour from Bright and offers a great range of beginner and intermediate terrain. There is also a host of other activities to check out in winter, including cross country skiing, snowshoeing and night skiing. In summer, these mountains transform into an outdoor adventure mecca for world-class mountain biking and hiking. There is really no wrong time to explore the victorian highcountry!
9. Bring your dog to Dinner Plain
If you love travelling with your dog, don’t miss a stop at Dinner Plain where dogs are welcome! This unique little alpine village is located another ten minutes along the Great Alpine Road past Hotham, and is super dog friendly. With plenty of dog-friendly accommodation options, this is perfect for anyone looking for a weekend in Bright or up on the slopes and wants to bring their pups.
Don’t have a dog? No worries. There is plenty to do in Dinner Plain to keep you entertained. Get your fix of dogs at Dinner Plains sled dog tours, shred down Australia’s longest toboggan run and enjoy the mountain views with some snowshoeing. This is one of the best places to visit in Victoria for dog owners and lovers alike.
10. Visit the year-round Christmas store
Are you the kind of person who is counting down to Christmas? Then you will love Making Spirits Bright. This year-round Christmas store is what Christmas decor dreams are made of. At the entryway, there is a sign in big, bold lettering, counting down the days until Christmas. I was there in July, and there were still 150+ days to go – talk about getting into the holiday spirit early!
When you step inside, you are graced with every holiday decoration imaginable. Walk through the aisles to look in awe at the Santas, nutcrackers and snowglobes decorating the shelves. This is definitely one of the most unusual things to do in Bright, but I dare say it is also one of the most fun things to do in Bright and one of the best places to visit in Victoria if you enjoy a little holiday cheer. While you’re here, be sure to grab a gingerbread-infused cappuccino mix (yum) and maybe grab a (travel safe) decoration or two for your Christmas tree.
There you have it, the top ten best things to do in Bright, Victoria. Whether you are looking for a weekend in Bright, or are planning a longer stay, there are so many fun things to do in Bright to keep you entertained. If you want to read more about the best places to visit in Australia and best things to do in Australia, check out our Australia guides.
Have you been to Bright, Victoria?
What are your top things to do in Bright? Anything you’d add if you were spending a weekend in Bright?
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