|Travelling Australia - Journal 2010|
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|3 February 2010 - Wangaratta to Bright/Porepunkah|
We left Wangaratta on the Great Alpine Road, passing over the Hume Freeway and through flat pastoral land. The road was reasonably good with quite a lot of traffic going in the opposite direction into Wangaratta.
Weather was cool with little wind and mainly blue sky - good for travelling.
The road is mainly long, straight, nearly flat stretches until Myrtleford. Until then the hills on either side of this valley of the Ovens River are distant and barely relevant. Sheep are prominent and so are rolls of recently cut hay wrapped in plastic sitting in paddocks waiting to be collected. Cattle and horses became common as we moved along the Ovens valley.
Around Myrtleford there was a change in land-use to mixed horticultural activities including nut farms, vinyards, fruit and vegetable growing. Myrtleford itself was the site of a ski shop indicating the major winter activity.
South of Myrtleford the hills on either side drew closer as the valley narrows. Hops were in evidence, either as hop kilns or in hop plantations. There were also walnut and berry farms and one place dealing in emu and deer (an interesting combination).
Arriving at Porepunkah, a few kilometres before Bright, we turned into the caravan park facing the Great Alpine Road and on the Ovens River.
After setting up we drove into Bright called into the excellent Alpine Information Centre then walked along the shopping streets. Bright has an attractive, busy shopping centre with all four main banks and a number of tourist shops, including coffee shops, cafes, craft shops and food shops. The shops seemed busier than expected for a listed population of about 2000; one of the café managers we spoke with explained that about three-quarters of people around the shops were visitors; this was not usually the case at this normally quiet time of year.
After lunch we drove to Mt Buffalo National Park. Entry was $10.60 per car at this time of the year. The good bitumen road in the park (with orange-yellow centre line and side lines) climbed around hairpin bends to the top. There were places along the way to stop and a few side-roads to specific sites but the main road continued climbing to the top of the mountain. The last 3.5 kilometres is winding gravel ending at a 1.5 kilometre walking track to the top, known as The Horn. I walked/climbed the track for some photographs over the surroundings. The National Parks guide to Mount Buffalo National Park uses the term "Great Granite Plateau", the meaning of this term becomes clear when looking down on the mountain from the lookout at the peak. We returned to the caravan via the lookout over the Gorge at the side of the main mountain.