Get Down and Dirty: But make it Bright
It’s time to get down and dirty again. We haven’t done an adventure specific map for a while but after Ralph had such a great time with maschine (issue #53) I thought it appropriate that we do an adventure map around Bright in Victoria.
This particular route can be a little tricky (as in direction wise) so please use a GPS or highly detailed maps from Hema Maps. I have tried to be as specific as possible with turns but a GPS or detailed maps are the way to go for this one.
I recommend filling up at Mount Beauty if you’re riding a bike with smallish fuel capacity.
The town of Bright is spectacular most of the year round and is situated on the scenic Great Alpine Road between Porepunkah and Harrietville in the beautiful Ovens Valley.
Bright is a popular tourist centre due to its close proximity to the mountain and ski resorts of Mount Buffalo, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, and other natural attractions such as the Alpine National Park and Mount Buffalo National Park.
The commercial centre of Bright extends from the Great Alpine Road to the war memorial tower located at the roundabout in front of the Alpine Hotel and then south along the wide boulevard of Ireland Street. The towering mountains of the Victorian Alps provide a scenic backdrop in all directions from the town centre. There are any number of cafes, restaurants, wineries and gourmet food outlets for you to browse.
A number of attractive parks and reserves are located within Bright. Howitt Park stretches along the Ovens River from Star Road to Morses Creek, while Centenary Park continues along the Ovens River from the Morses Creek junction and out to Mountbatten Road. Both parks feature attractive picnic spots and grassy areas which extend right down to the river – a great spot to sit and refl ect on the ride you’ve just done!
To fully appreciate Bright, before or after you’ve done this ride I recommend checking out one or more of the lookouts in the surrounding mountains which provide good views over the town and adjacent forests. The most accessible one is Huggins Lookout, accessed via Bakers Gully Road, around fi ve kilometres from the town centre.
Clear Spot Lookout, 12 kilometres out of town, provides limited views over the surrounding forests. Perhaps the best views over the town itself can be appreciated from the southerly oriented Apex Lookout, accessed via the Mount Porepunkah Road. There is a narrow dirt road that takes you to the top.
Bright is particularly attractive during autumn when the blazing colours of its large variety of deciduous trees creates a spectacular display, celebrated annually by the Bright Autumn Festival. Good spots to appreciate Bright’s vibrant autumn colours include along Delany Avenue where burning red leaves of oak intermingle with the dark green of cedar trees. Cobden Street, near Ireland Street, is also very colourful in Autumn, as are Howitt Park and Centenary Park.
One big event any adventure rider will be interested in is the Touratech Travel Event, Challenge and Expo. Usually held around the beginning of April it is a must see event for adventure riders.
Loads of delightful accommodation places are available in Bright from reasonable to high end. A number of quality bakeries are also spread across the town for a tasty breakfast before your ride. Fuel and a Woolworths supermarket are located in town.
Mount Beauty was originally established in the 1940s as a base for workers on the Kiewa Hydro- Electric Scheme. Since then it has developed into a popular tourist town, only 30 kilometres from the major ski resort of Falls Creek and a scenic drive away from Alpine attractions such as Mount Buffalo and Mount Hotham.
As the name suggests, Mount Beauty is a place of signifi cant natural beauty. It is surrounded by the Alpine National Park which features lakes, forests and snowfi elds, offering scenic backdrops wherever in town you happen to be. The town’s commercial centre features several attractive parks and an interesting selection of speciality shops along Hollonds Street and Kiewa Crescent. The Alpine Discovery Centre, located just west of the town centre, gives an educational and entertaining insight into the development of the upper Kiewa Valley. Most essentials are available here, including fuel. I recommend fi lling up once again if you’re riding a machine with smallish fuel capacity.
A small town located on the Kiewa Valley Highway. Population is around 590, but this is more of a landmark for this route. If you actually end up in Tawonga, you’re a touch too far for the Mountain Creek road turnoff.
A landmark for this route as there isn’t much at ‘Coral Bank’. If you happen to see any ‘coral’ I think you’re in the wrong place, probably even the wrong State, and will need a snorkel!
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Head south/southwest out of Bright and once you’ve ridden about seven kays turn left onto Old Harrietville Road. Within a hundred metres or so you need to turn right onto Snowy Creek Road and remember to veer right after three hundred metres or so – not veering left into local farms! About three and half kays in you need to veer/turn left onto Big Flat Track and veer/turn left again after another four and a half kays to stay on Big Flat Track and head over to Tawonga Gap Track. After 1.4km stay/veer left where, after 300m or so you’ll come to a T-junction. Turn right which will bring you to Simmonds Creek Road and then take you into Mount Beauty.
Jump onto Kiewa Valley Highway and head north to Tawonga, turning right into Ryders Lane which turns into Mountain Creek Road. Follow this to its end which is essentially a dead-end where you need to turn left onto Trappers Spur Track and veer right onto Camp Creek Road.
Camp Creek Road eventually turns into The Hollow Way Road which will take you over to the Omeo Highway. Turn left and head north about two and a half kays and turn left onto Sec Track following it all the way to a T-junction and turn right onto West Branch Track. Head about 700m and veer left onto Rodda Creek Track which you need to follow veering right at any junctions until you need to turn/veer left onto Trappers Gap Road and ride to the next T-junction, turning left. This is still Trappers Gap Road which you follow back to Mountain Creek Road. This ‘intersection’ has three roads coming off it and you need to take a right turn onto Eskdale Spur Track. Ride for around 8.5km and turn/veer left onto Redbank Track down off the mountain to Reids Lane, turn right onto Redbank Mongans Road and head into Coral Bank.
Head up to Running Creek and turn left onto Running Creek Road. Follow around 5.5km and turn left onto Kancoona South Road. Head south through Kancoona remembering to turn/veer left staying on Kancoona South Road which eventually turns to dirt and the name changes to Smart Creek Road.
Veer left onto Gillett Road staying on the most straight southern direction part of Gillett Road. If you stay right too much you’ll be on Parkinson Track, which, if you follow your nose, heads west over to Haysmith Track. On Gillett Road you also need to look for Haysmith Track and turn/veer right. Head to the T-junction, turn left, then stay right at the Y-junction jumping onto Hill Plantation Link Track. Head to the T-junction where you can turn left or right and ride through the pine plantations. It’s near impossible to get lost here, just follow your nose as you are high enough above Bright to see it some of the time. If you do end up going round in circles, essentially head south and no matter what you do you’ll end up somehow on the Great Alpine Road. Whether you’re north or south (hopefully) of Bright, ride back in and crack open a few beers.
TOTAL DISTANCE – 200km FUEL – Bright, Mount Beauty