The Great Alpine Road
Leg 1: Wangaratta to Bright
76 km/47 miles, about 1 hour
The Great Alpine Road starts (or ends) in friendly Wangaratta, with its beautiful gardens, period homes and love of music. Time your visit for the annual November jazz festival, when the city really kicks up its heels.
Making mouth-watering memories
Waste no time getting acquainted with the fine wine and local produce in the valleys along this northern leg of the Great Alpine Road, also characterised by spectacular scenery and crisp mountain air.
At Milawa call in at the famed Brown Brothers Epicurean Centre and Cellar Door, and sample your way through Milawa Cheese Factory. Meet the bold young winemakers who have poured new life into historic Rutherglen, famous for its muscats and fortifieds.
Detour to Beechworth, a village built on the wealth of the gold rush of the 1800s. Explore the historic honey granite buildings, including the courthouse where bushranger Ned Kelly's final trial commenced. Get a taste of Beechworth's booming food and wine scene and try for a reservation at the acclaimed Provenance or munch on pizza and beer at Bridge Road Brewers.
Alternatively, break your journey with a tasty pub meal at the Ovens Hotel, as travellers have been doing since 1854.
Travel onwards to Mount Buffalo National Park and its unique rock formations. A gentle walk takes in waterfalls, granite formations and lookouts with great views of the Australian Alps, or you can be more extreme by heading out on horseback or two wheels. Rock climbers will be in their element at the summit of Mount Buffalo, also popular for cross-country or downhill skiing in winter.
This leg ends at Bright, a beautiful town on the Ovens River, filled with grand deciduous trees that are breathtaking in autumn. Mark the first stage of your drive with a memorable meal at Simone's, one of Victoria's most celebrated restaurants.
Golden Heritage Drive
From Wangaratta, take the B500 to Tarrawingee, the C315 to Beechworth and Wooragee, the C352 to Yackandandah, then the C527 to Myrtleford. On your way you'll take in Tarrawingee's historic buildings, including St Peter's church, the Plough Inn and Carinya House. See Beechworth's 30-plus beautifully preserved National Trust-classified buildings and places of significance to the legend of bushranger Ned Kelly. Walk the tree lined streets of Yackandandah with its stately Victorian architecture.
Gourmet Food and Wine Drive
From Wangaratta, take the C521 to Oxley and turn left to Milawa and Oxley at the heart of the famed Milawa Gourmet Region, where you can taste fine wines at cellar doors, including the renowned Mediterranean styles of the nearby King Valley. Sample outstanding local produce, experience the hospitality of award-winning country hotels and fine dining restaurants, and pull over at farm gates to stock up on seasonal bounty. Loop back to Wangaratta or on to Myrtleford and beyond.
Mount Buffalo Drive
At Porepunkah take the C535 to Mount Buffalo and the top of Mount Buffalo Gorge for fantastic views of the High Country and the Alps, and numerous walking tracks for even more majestic vistas. In winter, hire cross country or downhill skis to get the adrenaline pumping. Get daring in summer and choose from the area's famous adventure activities, such as micro lighting, paragliding and hang gliding.