(Aka things were looking Bright until we climbed Mt Buffalo..)
Good gods, do I have to admit now that the flat earthers might actually be onto something? Because after where I ended up over the weekend, it sure seemed like a vast ocean of nothingness out there..
Greetings from Bright, Vic first though
Bright Victoria is the answer to the question ‘name an Australian town that looks pretty when it’s cold.’ Because it truly does come alive in the autumn in all the falling leaf shades and not even some drizzling rain was going to stop us enjoying a bit of a walk around. It’s been on our visit list for a while now but finally we filled up the car and drove roughly an hour away from home, getting a little lost first (thanks Vodaphone network and your lack of coverage outside of major areas meaning GPS came and went..) but then back on track soon enough. I didn’t think of taking too many pictures while here but enjoy the Oven’s river with the caravan park on one side and a bustling weekend market (which we just missed) on the other.
Other highlights of Bright have to include the Christmas shop that runs all year long. Yes indeed, Making Spirits Bright is a great reminder that it’s never too early to go heavy on the decorations with enough baubles to tap out even the mightiest of Christmas trees. They even know their audience super well, providing an outside husband spot! (If only they had a machine that served up a cold beer to help pass the time..)
There’s also Cloud9 escape rooms where you can shop til you drop for all sorts of things (we came out of there with a couple of Harry Potter wands for the HP nutters in the family of all things) and some big burgers on offer at Burgerville when you’re running low on energy. (My recommendation: Try the Dirty Sanchez with potato gems. It’s big but it’s worth it.)
However the one thing we didn’t see? Snow. We were hoping to see some of the white stuff in Bright but as cold as it was, it wasn’t that cold. Luckily there was a chilling buffalo nearby..
That’d be Mt Buffalo national park then
There really is a tonne of stuff going on at Mt Buffalo including waterfalls, pretty cliffs, winding roads, a camp ground, a big lot of a water and stunning views. Oh and snow if you drive far enough but we’ll get to that in a sec. Coffee in hand, in we went hoping to give the kids their first experience of the cold stuff that good snowmen are made of.
At roughly 1400m above sea level on Mt Buffalo, we hit the chalet which sadly has been closed for roughly ten years or so due to a lack of interest. You can still walk up to the building (which is beautiful) and there’s a history board right outside showing you the changes but I was disappointed you couldn’t drop in for a hot chocolate (which would have been perfect on a weekend like this one) or drink a snifter of brandy by the fire while regaling anyone within earshot about how good a skiier you are.
Note: I am not, not in the slightest.
However directly across the road from the Mt Buffalo chalet is a truly breathtaking viewing platform. Go on a day with nice calm and slightly warm weather and you’ll be able to see out there for days. Go on a day like we did however and what you get to see is the most eerie nothingness – like everything around you has been swallowed by fog. Or technically at this height, low lying cloud.
It’s…hauntingly beautiful and so incredible peaceful at the same time bring up so high and yet seeing just a pure blanket of nothingness.
Still no signs of snow though so after the much better half consulted a map (when we finally got signal) we decided to keep on going. Up and up the roads rose and slowly but surely, signs of snow on Mt Buffalow started to appear. First it was tiny ice mounds on the road, then the sides of the road started to get whiter and whiter and then all of a sudden…Mt Buffalo truly delivered.
Words can’t describe a) how deliriously happy the kids were to run around in the stuff like lunatics, throwing snowballs around and having the greatest time ever in their first experience of snowy conditions and b) the incredible chill that the icy blasts provide when you’re standing next to the car on this part of Mt Buffalo national park. I’ve met cold before, this was next level. (To be honest we weren’t exactly dripping in ski gear either, so that probably didn’t help..)
And while I’ve seen snow up close before (travelling through the Colorado mountains years ago via Amtrak) for me this was the first time I too could crunch through it and throw it about like I’m five again – which is an awesome feeling for sure. I even got ‘Live Skyrim’ vibes when I came across this part of Mt Buffalo:
Luckily there were no frost giants because I forgot my long sword of warmth.. (or even my healing mead!)
Unfortunately we didn’t cover all of the journey due to time and road conditions (we got as high up as here). While Donna’s Lancer dragged us up there just fine, we didn’t have any snow chains on board and a supreme lack of AWD ability wouldn’t have helped anything as the roads got more icy (which they did the higher we went). Still, to get where we did and to have the fun we did, it was one hell of an experience and we can’t wait to do it again! (With warmer clothes and a 4wd perhaps..)
So huge thanks in order to the township of Bright for providing another incredible place of beauty near our doorstep (like Mitta Mitta) and thanks to Mt Buffalo, we found more than enough snow in the end!