WINTER ACTIVITIES in Bright that don't require snow
Things to do in and around Bright this winter
While Bright is an ideal base for nearby snow-based activities, rest assured if you're not skiing there's still plenty to do in and around this Alpine town mecca during the colder months.
Whether you're here for a romantic weekend getaway, a kids-focused family break, or you're looking to indulge in the region's foodie delights and fine wines, Bright and its surrounds caters for it all.
If your children are with you, a trip to Red Stag Deer Farm should be on your itinerary. Located in Eurobin, just outside of Bright, Red Stag features more than 200 red deer, emus, ostriches and goats, many of which you and your children can hand feed.
There's also a 9-hole mini golf course, and a restaurant on site with expansive views towards Mount Feathertop.
If it's particularly cold, you may want to pursue a number of cosy indoor pursuits. This might include wine tasting and some carefully paired delicious accompaniments at one of the Alpine Valleys' premium wine producers.
If you're in Bright, try Billie Button Wines' Cellar Door on Camp Street - you can enjoy a glass or two of delicious wine at this central location, which is open daily from 12pm. Some interesting varietals are on offer at this winery, and its winemaker - Jo Marsh - has won numerous awards for her hand crafted wines.
Or head to the vineyard-based Cellar Doors of Feathertop Winery or Ringer Reef Wines in Porepunkah, just minutes from Bright. Both offer wonderful views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, including Mount Buffalo, and their cool climate wines are well worth the visit.
If something a bit stronger suits your pallet better, than a trip to Reed and Co Distillery in Bright may be on the cards. A sip or two of their very own Remedy Gin should warm your insides quite nicely on a fresh Alpine day!
Another option for all of the family is to enjoy a recent release movie at Cloud 9 Cinemas. This cosy cinema, which utilises the latest in digital technology, offers a bar and snack service and regularly updates its movie offerings. This includes children-friendly movies, many of which are shown through the day.
Nearby is the new Cloud 9 Escapes, which offers 'escape room' experiences - physical adventures where teams seek to solve puzzles or riddles based on a certain theme, utilising virtual reality technology. Select from one of their fictional locations and take the time-based challenge! Indoor and outdoor options are available.
Bright also offers a number of winter events, such as Darker Days. Held on June 29, this Bright Brewery initiative is a celebration of dark beers from the local region and the Alpine winter. Starting at 12pm, this event includes kids’ entertainment including stories and music under the Children’s Teepee, face-painting, wooden toys, and ghost tours.
Live music features throughout the day, with the highlight a huge bonfire in the evening - enjoy an ale (or glass of wine) while warming yourself next to the toasty fire. Entry is by donation to the Bright CFA.
Or, if you're here on the third Saturday of the month, you'll get to attend Bright's Make It, Bake It, Grow It market. Held in Howitt Park (behind the Visitors Centre) from 9am to 1pm, this market features stalls showcasing the region's stunning local produce and products, along with a selection of hot food and beverage outlets. This relaxed market is the perfect way to start your weekend getaway in Bright.
If you'd like to enjoy a meal or drink by an open fire, head to Blackbirds Cafe, the historic Alpine Hotel or Bright Brewery. These centrally-located establishments may have their fire going if the weather warrants it, making them ideal places to keep warm on a cold, frosty Alpine day.
Or maybe it's time to pamper yourself? Glow Bright Spa and Beauty is a day spa and beauty salon, suitable for individuals or groups. You can spend a few hours or the entire day here, enjoying one of their many services which includes massages and a tanning salon. Or head to Bright Beauty Boutique, another local beauty salon, for a massage, pedicure, waxing or facial, amongst other services they offer.
Keeping active on a cold day is another way to get the best out of winter, and Bright offers lots of rewarding and approachable outdoor pursuits to keep you busy (and warm!). For instance, enjoy one of the short local walks around town, which include the Canyon Walk, Cherry Walk, or, if you're feeling fit and want expansive views, the Apex Summit walk.
The Canyon Walk is relatively easy, and begins in central Bright near the Star Road Bridge. The well formed trail follows the Ovens River, and includes interpretative signs outlining the town's gold mining history. A highlight is the narrow canyon, and the two suspension bridges that provide good views of the river.
Cherry Walk is longer, and also begins centrally in Howitt Park. Heading south, this trail meanders along the Ovens River, past the Bright Memorial Arboretum and a few popular swimming holes. A brochure from the Bright Visitors Centre outlines the local flora along this walk, and there are also interpretative signs along the scenic route.
If you love your Mountain Biking, then go no further than Mystic Mountain Bike Park. Just a short distance from Bright's town centre and home of the Australian National Championships for the past two years, this Park is highly regarded for its gravity-based Hero and Shred Kelly trails. To squeeze the most rides into your day along the Park's 80km of trails, take advantage of the shuttle service operated by Blue Dirt.
A night spent outdoors is well worth the effort if you book a private group viewing through the Bright Astronomy Club. Bright is blessed with crystal clear night skies during winter, and the stellar objects on offer are particularly good in the colder months. You may get lucky and see a planet as well, such as Jupiter, Saturn or Mars. For a minimal fee Kevin Hancock (Ph. 0438 784 968 or firstname.lastname@example.org) will take groups out to Porepunkah Airfield, in the Buckland Valley (about a 10 minute drive from Bright) to view the splendours of the night sky through his telescope. It's well worth the effort, particularly if you have children.
Give Kevin a call or send him an email for more details.