Distance: 1,450 km; Drive Time: 17 hr; Tour time: 9 - 10 days
This drive combines art and culture, food and wine, sweeping plains and rugged mountain beauty, wildlife and stunning coastlines.
Goulburn (two hours from Sydney and an hour from Canberra) is a good place to stop for refreshments. Goulburn Brewery, Australia’s oldest surviving brewery, brews traditional ales and stouts using the same processes it has used since 1836. Enjoy some lunch, sample some beer, or enjoy Devonshire tea.
Sydney and Melbourne were vying to be Australia's capital so the government made the diplomatic decision to have the capital built smack bang between the two cities, in the middle of sheep plains. Hence, Canberra was born. It is a city of wide open spaces, gardens, jazz, wineries and good museums. Its expansiveness makes it the ideal city to explore from behind the wheel of your campervan.
You can also see Canberra from a hot air balloon or a bicycle. Mr Spokes will rent you one. The city has an excellent network of bike paths but the route around Lake Burly Griffin is particularly picturesque.
The historic towns of Albury and Wodonga straddle the Murray River midway between Canberra and Melbourne. The parklands along the riverbanks and the Murray River are a great environment for cycling, picnicking, canoeing and fishing.
Walk around the photogenic lagoons and billabongs of Wonga Wetlands, a haven for birds.
Mungabareena Reserve and Water Works is a great place for swimming and walking.
Stroll through Albury and discover historic buildings.
Learn fascinating stories in the award-winning Library Museum.
Enjoy the art at Albury Art Gallery.
The eateries along Albury's Dean Street spill onto the street in the warm months providing alfresco dining. Wine and food lovers should try the seasonal menus of local produce at the Border Wine Room and Broadgauge Restaurant. More casual options are Azotea rooftop venue at the Albury Hotel, and tapas at The Lounge or The Cellar Door. Kids will love the play areas at Soden's Hotel in Albury and Hollywoods Pizza at Wodonga.
A pleasant day can be spent touring the wineries of Rutherglen and Beechworth. For a full list, visit Victoria's High Country.
Scattered between Albury and Bright are dozens of wineries, a few breweries, and some charming historic villages. For a full list, visit Victoria's High Country. Many wineries are conveniently located along the Great Alpine Road. Here's a list from north to south.
Beechworth is a heritage village with an acclaimed food and wine scene and stunning gold rush architecture. More than thirty 19th century buildings have been beautifully preserved. This 2 minute video will give you a sample of Beechworth.
Tour the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum
See the gaol where Ned Kelly was imprisoned
Foodies should book ahead for a table at the acclaimed Provenance
Try your luck at the Press Room Wine Bar.
Sample beer or cider at Bridge Road Brewers.
Take the boardwalk around the Lake Sambell.
Be pampered in a day spa.
Get a quick sample of its attractions from this 2 minute video.
Gapsted Wines have stunning views across the Ovens Valley, a restaurant with a seasonal menu of local produce, and events such as Music on the Deck, Movies by Moonlight and Shakespeare in the Vines.
Michelini Wines specialises in Italian grape varieties like Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Sangiovese, Marzemino and Fragolino, a strawberry flavoured grape perfect for dessert wine.
There's no winery here but it's worth mentioning for the Happy Valley Hotel where you can enjoy a pub lunch sourced from local ingredients. In spring the beer garden is covered in wisteria blooms. Detour up the Happy Valley Tourist Drive for more wineries, a lavender farm and olive groves.
Ringer Reef Winery is a small winery with great views run by Bruce and Annie Holm. While you sip, you can try Annie's homemade bread with oil and dukkah, local olives and Mount Buffalo Hazelnuts.
Feathertop Winery produces a wide range of cool climate wines. Dine alfresco in summer or in the heated barrel room in winter while admiring the mountain and vineyard views. They have a deli with local meats, pates, cheeses, bread, smoked fish, olives and dips so you can enjoy a platter on the terrace with a glass of wine and watch the sun set over Mount Buffalo.
Bright two minute sampler video.
Bright's natural beauty is best appreciated on one of the walks such as the Valley View Walk where you might see a platypus or the Canyon Walk, part of which is lined with towering poplar trees, blazing gold in autumn, and a suspension bridge takes you across the Ovens River. For a bird's eye view of Bright, head to one of the local lookouts. To explore further afield, hire a bike and cycle the surrounding bike paths.
Try your hand at fly fishing, bike the many bike trails, or take to the sky in a microlight. Take a Tour and Tasting at Bright Brewery. Their beer contains no additives or preservatives, and isn't filtered or pasturised. They also have an extensive wine list and serve food.
Browse the antiques and collectibles at the Old Tabacco Shed. Gather local food and hand made goods at the morning markets, held on the third Saturday of every month.
Explore the many sophisticated restaurants of Bright. Have your meal created by Victoria's celebrated chef Patrizia Simone at Simone's. In her four-hour cooking classes you'll learn Italian cooking techniques using local ingredients.
Turn off at Porepunkah for Mount Buffalo National Park a region of rugged beauty, sheer cliffs, imposing granite tors, waterfalls, magnificent snow gums, wildflowers, sweeping views, a good swimming lake, and over 90km of walking tracks.
This part of the journey covers the High Country's breathtaking alpine area. The landscape changes from alpine ash to magnificent snow gum forest and heathland as you climb.
At Mount Hotham, take in the spectacular views from Danny's Lookout. If it's summer, you can trek the Razorback Trail through fields of wildflowers and along a ridge to the summit of Mount Feathertop. Horse riding and trout fishing are popular in the region.
For incredible scenery of the Australian Alps National Park, consider extending the journey onto the Bogong Alpine Way, which connects to the Alpine Way Road at Bright and Omeo, looping through Mount Beauty, Bogong, and Falls Creek. It adds 1 hr 15 mins to the 1 hr 45 min journey. There are many great walks in the region. Here's a 1 minute video to give you a taste of what the detour has in store for you.
Set in lush grazing fields with views across to the Snowy Mountains, Omeo is a town of original gold rush buildings with a choice of two campervan parks. Eateries are limited but Twinkles Café, a friendly light-filled place, is the most popular choice for breakfast. The coast to the south and Bright to the north are just an hour and a half away, if you wish to keep going.
Bruthen is a small rustic village overlooking the Tambo River and home of the Bull Ant Brewery. Their beers use ingredients that ‘respect the earth and our bodies'. Their restaurant uses local food in season, sustainably harvested seafoods and responsibly stewarded meats. They also have a good wine list.
Bairnsdale has everything you need - supermarkets, cafes, restaurants – before you continue on to Metung for some coastal camping.
127-129 Richmond Rd,
South Australia 5033 Phone: 1800 216 223
344 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach, Queensland 4802 Phone: 1800 216 223
20 Noble Avenue,
Northgate, Queensland 4013
Phone: 1800 216 223
440 Sheridan Street,
Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223
2/11 Northview St, Mermaid Waters QLD 4218 Phone: 1800 216 223
273 Elizabeth Street,
Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223
23-25 Erskine Rd,
Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223
14 Langton Street,
Queensland 4814 Phone: 1800 216 223