High Country

Lower than alpine regions in other parts of the world, and lacking sheer escarpments and jagged peaks, Australia’s High Country is nonetheless majestic, especially in the cooler months when they are covered in snow. Alpine National Park contains 10 of the 11 highest mountains in the state and boasts beautiful alpine topography with mountain landscapes, wild rivers, snow gum forests and open grasslands known as high plains.

The Alpine region of Victoria is all about enjoying the great outdoors. During the snow season (June to October) the mountains are abuzz with skiiers. Outside of the snow season, outdoor activities include horseriding, camping, hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, driving, cycling, rock climbing. Even swimming – along with angling and boating on Lake Wartook – can be enjoyed in the summer months. Nature study is another popular activity with superb wildflowers, many birds, and kangaroos and koalas easily seen from many popular areas.

How To Get There

By car: a great way to experience the park is to drive the Great Alpine Road Touring Route which winds through the heart of the Victorian Alps on the highest altitude road in Victoria, and offers panoramic views as far as the eye can see.

The sealed road passes through farmland valleys, along winding rivers, through the eucalypt forests of the Alpine National Park then deep into mountain cattleman country, to the lakes and the ocean beyond. Avoid the winter months if you plan to do an Alpine region drive through.

By air: 20 kms from Hotham and 10 kms from Dinner Plain is Australia’s highest commercial airport. During the peak skiing season, there are connecting flights Australia wide.

By coach: most Victorian based coach companies operate tours to and through the alpine regions of Victoria. Coaches depart daily from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station Coach Terminal and Tullamarine Airport.

Best Time To Go

The skiing season officially opens on the Queens Birthday long weekend each June and closes in October. During those months, it is best to come to ski and not to sightsee as the roads are busy with skiers coming and going, and the riding and walking paths are generally obliterated by snowfalls. To visit the mountains in their non-snow season, plan a visit from October to May.

In the shoulder months, some snow does fall, making cross country driving less easier than in the summer months. In April and May, the many deciduous trees throughout the region leave towns like Bright basking in Autumn splendour as leaves turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange and deep red. Autumn Festivals bring bring crowds from Melbourne on weekends. October and November can be quite busy too, as Spring Festivals are held in the mountain towns.

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