Weekend getaways, no matter how far from home, are always exciting for me. When they involve a road trip, large amounts of food, interesting local alcoholic beverages, comfortable place to stay at and some sort of hiking or bushwalking then I really don’t need any convincing.
If you fancy all of the above, treat this itinerary as a cheat sheet for a successful foodie weekend in Bright.
Where is Bright?
Bright is located in northeastern Victoria. It’s about 325km from Melbourne and not much more from Canberra – thanks to being not far from the Hume Highway, which makes Bright really easily accessible. And for those who don’t fancy winding roads (like me), I have great news – there aren’t any between the Hume Hwy and Bright. Unless, of course, you plan on going to Mt Buffalo or driving further down the Great Alpine Rd.
3pm sharp: We leave Melbourne before the rush hour, we don’t want to start the road trip in traffic. Also, according to Google Maps, the trip takes about 3h30m. Adding a stop for coffee/toilet and other unforeseen circumstances, let’s say it’s 4 hours away. We want to reach Bright by 7pm and go out for dinner.
7pm: We made it! Well, to be completely honest it was 7.15pm. We easily find the way to BIG4 Bright Holiday Park, where our luxury 2 bedroom villa is waiting for us. As it’s a quite cold evening I really appreciate the staff turn on the heater for us and it was nice and toasty inside the villa. I have a quick look around and set a date with a very inviting looking spa bath.
8pm: We walk to the main street where most of the restaurants, bars and cafes are – it’s only about 5 minutes walk from the BIG4 Bright Holiday Park. We try one of the restaurants that were recommended to us, but unfortunately, they’re booked out and the soonest we could get a table would be 9.15pm. We’re starving, so we settle for our second choice – Grape and Grain [update: the bar is now permanently closed]. The place seems popular with the locals, the everyone-knows-everyone type of place, but nevertheless, we feel welcome. My beer battered flathead is exactly what I needed after the long drive and Hubby’s beef burger hits the spot and leaves him in a food coma. I also make the greatest discovery of the trip: as I wasn’t in a mood for wine I ordered a local cider – the Alpine Cider. Beautiful, dry cider – I won’t exaggerate if I say the best one I’ve ever tried.
7am: Is it ever possible to sleep in when you’re on holidays? I hardly ever can. I think I must be too anxious, too excited to start my day. We wake up to a very foggy morning and decide to go for a walk. It’s really quiet everywhere, so we feel like we’re all alone in Bright. It’s beautiful, though. At the very end of autumn, the leaves are still hanging on the trees and make me smile when I look at the gorgeous colours. The sun starts to shine through the fog and I think, as a hopeless romantic, that I’m falling in love with this place. We walk past a bakery and buy a sourdough bread that we’ll use with our dinner tonight.
8am: We head to the Riverdeck Cafe for breakfast and our morning coffee (the most important coffee of the day). It looks like we’re the first customers for the day. Bright really is a sleepy town in the morning.
9am: It was a huge mistake. Hoping for good views from Tawonga Gap lookout and not thinking about winding road right after breakfast I agree for this quick trip (about 20km from Bright). I suffer a bit but it’s quite worth it. Gorgeous views.
10am: Time for an adventure. Can you believe neither of us has ever been fishing? I feel like everyone did that at least once in their life… well, everyone but us. Interested to see how it turns out we make our way to the Mountain Fresh Trout & Salmon Farm. The equipment and bait are free, you pay only for the fish you catch. We receive the instructions, set everything by “our” pond (we decided to go for rainbow trout) and while I try to set the camera, Hubby catches the first fish. That was quick! I run around the pond to take photos of his first-ever catch and while I do that he already catches the second one. All we need to do now is drop the fish at the shop, where they will be cleaned & weighed, pay and decide on how we’ll be cooking them tonight. Easy as!
11am: We drop the fish at the BIG4 Bright Holiday Park and have a chat with the manager. We chat about our plans for the weekend and she recommends going to the Eurobin Falls. They’re really spectacular after the recent rains.
11.15am: We’re on our way to the Eurobin Falls. It didn’t take much to convince us. And it’s smart to trust locals when it comes to recommendations. Looks like we’re not the only ones wanting to see the falls – the car park is full and some cars are parked on the side of the road. The hike to the Lower Eurobin Fall is quite short but steep at times. The view is spectacular. Broad cascades are spilling over giant rock slabs. We hike to the Upper Falls, that part is a bit more steep. We make it to the top and watch for a moment, trying to catch breath. Worth it.
1.30pm: For lunch, we head down to Red Stag Deer Farm. We sit by the window, with great views over the farm. It’s a nice spot, although you may want to check beforehand if they’re having any functions. We were unfortunate enough to be seated at the same time as a huge family celebrating someone’s birthday, which made the wait for our lunch terribly long. The food was ok, I didn’t feel much love while eating it, maybe we didn’t order the right dishes. I tried the roast venison, olive & veggie pizza with garlic aioli and Hubby went for slow cooked pork belly.
We went outside for a stroll around the farm. Lots of curious, friendly animals, but it’s the baby goat that steals my heart.
3.30pm: Bellies full and happy, it’s time for some wine. Close to our lunch spot is the Feathertop Winery, so we head there for wine tasting. It’s free to try the wines, even if you want to try all kinds. I make my way through the whites and some reds and settle for a bottle of Pinot Gris 2015 – this will go great with our trout dinner tonight.
4.30pm: Still thinking about that cider I had last night, we decide to skip the wineries and go to the Nightingale Alpine Produce shop to stock up on the Alpine Cider. Apparently, it’s something they started to produce only a couple of months ago and is sold exclusively at their shop.
5pm: We buy a few things needed for dinner at the local supermarket and it’s time to cook. The kitchen of our villa at the BIG4 Bright Holiday Park is fully equipped so we don’t have to worry about bringing pots, trays etc with us.
Easy oven-baked trout with orange salad and garlic bread
Ingredients (for 2):
2 small rainbow trouts
4 tbsp butter
1 lemon, sliced
2 handfuls of baby rocket
1 small orange, peeled & cut into bite-size pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 thick slices of sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely grated
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Place the fish on a baking tray. Season the inside and outside of fish with salt. Fill each with 1 tbsp of butter and slices of lemon.
3. Put in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
4. Mix the rocket, orange & olive oil. Divide the salad between 2 plates.
5. Mix 2 tbsp of butter with garlic. Spread on both sides of bread slices. Grill until golden and crunchy.
6. Serve with a glass of white wine and enjoy.
7.30pm: I win a game of Monopoly. We’re not the biggest fans of tv, so I was very happy to learn you can borrow games from the reception. It’s a great thing to do on a cool evening if you’re not planning on going out.
8.30pm: We attempt to find a good place for stargazing. The mission is ill-fated. It’s cloudy even halfway up the Mt Buffalo summit drive. Yes, we tried.
7.30am: We’re in need of coffee but we can’t find any cafe open this early on Sundays. It takes us 1 hour and we’re finally saved by Sweet Crumbs. On our way back to BIG4, we’re being stopped by a local woman. What starts as chitchat about the weather turns into an interesting discussion about gold mining, history of Bright and her life. We always appreciate friendly locals willing to chat with us.
9.30am: Time to pack our stuff into the car and check out from BIG4 Bright Holiday Park. It’s been a pleasure.
10am: Short drive to Wandiligong and we stop for a small walk to the Chinese Bridge. From the signs, we learn about the history of Chinese people during the gold rush in this area.
10.30am: We go for a visit to Wandiful Produce. It’s a small chestnut farm with a produce store & shed café on site. I’m in love with the café from the very first sight. We have a great chat with Megan, one of the owners, and she gives us a tour of the property. We learn a lot about chestnuts and finish our visit enjoying lovely chestnut cakes and coffee. This place is a must-visit when you’re in the area!
11.30am: The weather is great so we decide to drive to the Horn on top of Mt Buffalo. We’ve been there last year but it was cloudy and the views weren’t that great. This time, we have more luck – it’s blue skies all the way. We soak up the views for a while and drive all the way back to Bright.
1pm: It’s lunchtime at the Bright Brewery. We get a table outside on a terrace, under pretty colourful trees. There’s life music, I have a beer tasting paddle and it all feels very relaxing. My pork sliders go very well with the beer and the band plays one of my favourite songs of all time (Wicked Game). If it isn’t the perfect way to end our food-filled weekend in Bright, then I don’t know what would be.
2.30pm: We pick up coffees to go at The Ginger Baker and drive back to Melbourne.
We were hosted in Bright by BIG4 Bright Holiday Park. Its location makes it a great base for sightseeing, hiking, Bright region explorations and foodie weekends such as ours.