3 days, 1150km, 15hrs driving
Combine a trip through the Australian Alps with Wilsons Promontory National Park.
The Great Alpine Road is another one of Australia’s iconic drives. Though not as popular or well known as the Great Ocean Road, it still offers some breathtaking scenery of its own, along with a wide variety of landscape, including calm lakes to the mad heights of Mt Hotham. A relatively short itinerary overall, this three day trip includes a side trip to Wilsons Promontory, the southern most area of Australia’s mainland.
Click on thumbnails for enlarged image:
C444 – (Wilsons Promontory Rd)
B500 – (Great Alpine Rd)
C536 – (Tawonga Gap Rd)
C524 – (Buckland Gap Rd)
M31 – (Hume Freeway)
Leaving Melbourne , earlier than 9am will be ideal, otherwise it would be advised to skip Wilson’s Promontory and head straight to Metung. Stocking up on sandwiches and snacks is also recommended before heading out. There are a number of options to get to Wilson’s Promontory National Park, but ultimately you need to hit . The drive into the visitor centre car park will take approximately 3 hours from Melbourne. Wilson’s Promontory is a place you could easily spend a few days. It has an abundance of trails, ranging from quick 15 minute strolls to multi-day hikes, most of which you will come across some form of wildlife. With 3-4 hours available, three walks I would suggest include the Tidal River Overlook Circuit , Mt Oberon Summit , and Squeaky Beach . It is suggested to leave the park around 4pm to avoid too much night time driving. Head back inland and drive through the lush green area of East Gippsland all the way to the small fishing village of Metung for the night.
After a nice sleep in, make your way to the start of the Great Alpine Road, . The road technically starts in Bairnsdale, but it can be a time saver to use route and link up with the Great Alpine Road near Bruthen. The road quickly starts becoming windy, and you will be driving through some beautiful forest alongside the Tambo River. Look out for wildlife crossing the road all the way to Omeo. If the weather is clear, head up to the Mt Kosciuszko lookout for a view of Australia’s highest mountain. Dinner Plain is a good spot to stop for some lunch, and you can then continue on to the peaks of Hotham Heights. This is one of Australia’s premier ski resorts in winter, but even during off season still offers stunning views of what is affectionately known as the ‘Australian Alps’. The drive down is very windy all the way to the quaint town of Harrietville, so take it easy as you enjoy the views. The road through to Bright is gorgeous, with huge trees towering the road all the way along. If you are getting sick of driving, you are free to spend the afternoon in Bright chilling out near the Ovens River, and indulging in some beer tasting at Bright Brewery. If you feel like more driving, go for a 90 minute return trip through some glorious mountain driving roads to Mt Beauty . Either way, aim to be in Bright for an early dinner as there are a lot of great dining options here. If you have time, consider a walk up to Huggins Lookout for a great view of the valley (see picture on map), or Bakers Gully Reservoir . After dinner, enjoy 1 hr more beautiful countryside driving along and to Beechworth, and settle in for the night.
If you have a full day available today, you can spend some time in Beechworth including a tour of Beechworth Honey , Beechworth Bakery and Bridge Road Brewers . There are also plenty of wineries, foodie stops, and great driving roads around this region, so go exploring if you have the time! If not, definitely consider the first three spots before you drive back to Melbourne . It is a long drive, but most of it is along the 110km/hr Hume Freeway, , so you can be back in Melbourne in around 3 hrs from Beechworth.