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Highlands Snow Country Towns
Victoria (VIC)

Northeast, Victoria, WA, australia

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High up in the Kiewa Valley, the town of Mount Beauty is tucked beneath Mount Bogong, the highest peak in the Victorian Alps.

Flanked by national parks and alpine wilderness, Mount Beauty is set among rich valleys, snow-clad mountains, lakes and wild rivers full of fish.

It is a year round base for high country exploration and central to some of the most exciting adventures Victoria has to offer, all within easy reach.

It exists for explorers, with special events, tournaments and festivals filling the calendar every month.

From here the choice is yours; you can walk or ride on horse or bicycle, you can motor or glide, take a canoe or a four wheel drive.

In winter you can ski for miles; in spring, the wildflowers will stop you in wonderment every few metres.

There are golf and garden festivals in season, car rallies and picnic races, cattle drives and Christmas feasting in December and one of Victoria's secrets, the November Festival of the Bogong Moth.

From the time of the Dreaming, the high country has been a meeting place of peace, feasting and good sport. The Aborigines of the seven tribes of north east Victoria would congregate after the spring thaw on the banks of the Murray River at Mungabareena, or Albury. Problems were sorted out, marriages confirmed and new plans made.

Spears were laid down and the tribe from Mt Beauty, the Ya-itma then, led the way to the high plains for the annual Bogong Moth feast.

The Aboriginal name for the moth is bogong and today the Bogong Moth Festival once more calls people together to celebrate peace and good living when spring transforms the Victorian high country into lush pastures of wildflowers and coursing mountain streams.

It is the power of these mighty streams which ensures the accessibility and protection of the high country for modern generations.

Like nearby Bogong Village, Mt Beauty was built to house workers involved in the construction and operation of the Kiewa Hydro Electric Scheme in the late 1940s.

To access the powerful source of the Kiewa River meant carving a weatherproof route through the rugged mountains.

This route, the winding, scenic Bogong High Plains Road, gave Victoria more than power, it opened the way for development of the second largest alpine ski resort in the State, Falls Creek.

Miners seeking seams of gold took supplies and rested in Myrtleford before continuing to the goldfields of the Buckland Valley. This tradition continues as hungry travellers stop over to rest and taste the variety of country fare on offer.

Tobacco, hops and timber feature as local resources. Old kilns built from logs of hewn from the local forest are a landmark to the area. Marking the entrance to the town is a beautifully crafted river red gum crafted by a famous local artisan with help from local school children.

Mansfield is the gateway to Melbourne's winter playground of Mount Buller. A short two hour drive from the city and you're there. In whatever season, the town and its surrounding district offers you much to see and do.

Stand in the main street and look towards the mountains. Mount Buller and Mount Stirling are immediately in front of you across the wide valley of the Delatite River.

Mansfield his always been the centre of grazing country. Here you will find some of the great stories and the great story tellers of the country.

Many of the original families are still here, some now your guides to the secrets of the district and its history.

You can go on horseback into the mountains, staying overnight in the old cattlemen's huts dotted through the bush. At night the sky is full of stars and the mountains seemingly endless.

Here you can relive the quiet nights of the pioneers, yarn around a camp-fire, surrounded by the quiet of the mountains and the wildlife that inhabit them, become part of the landscape and its history.

If you enjoy solitude there is great fishing around Mansfield, in the Delatite and Howqua Rivers and Lake Eildon itself. Mansfield and the country around it offer great opportunities for bushwalking and photography.

And if you're really adventurous and want to see the country from a different angle, take a flight in a hot air balloon.

There is a wide variety of accommodation to be had, from camping sites to modern motels to Iuxurious and old world bed and breakfasts.

You can rent a cottage on a working farm or stay in old banks or shearers' quarters.

Good food is here in abundance, from old-fashioned solid pub meals to candle-lit dinners at first class restaurants. And try the local wines, cool climate varieties with their special characteristics and flavours.

Mansfield is one of the towns where Ned Kelly is not remembered with affection. Just out of town at Stringybark Creek in the Wombat Ranges, Ned Kelly and his gang killed three troopers, Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan and Scanlon. A fourth member of the patrol, Constable McIntyre, escaped.

This was the crime for which Kelly was finally hanged. In the main street opposite the Mansfield Hotel you will find a memorial to the dead troopers.

The only freehold village in the alps, Dinner Plain is fast becoming one of Victoria's most popular summer retreats, with great fishing, swimming and other activities.

The film set for the childhood classics, Elyrie Mitchell's Silver Brumby series, the town celebrates its heritage of the high country pioneers and their horses each Australia Day weekend with a bush meet that would do the Man from Snowy River proud.

Less experienced riders can take a more leisurely pace along old stock routes and, for those who prefer their own two legs, there are numerous spectacular mountain walks. This is country to explore at any time of year.

The upper reaches of the Murray around Corryong are among the most unspoiled places in Victoria. This is picture postcard territory, a photographer's paradise. It is where the mighty Murray begins its 2000 kilometre journey to the sea. At its birthplace high in the alps you can jump across the border of VIctoria and New South Wales.

In the Corryong cemetery is the grave of perhaps the most famous Australian, Jack Riley, believed to be the Man from Snowy River. At the time of his death Riley was manager of Tom Groggin Station in the foothills of the Kosciusko Ranges on the other side of the Murray. When news reached Corryong that he was ill a party was sent to bring him in. The going was difficult, snow was falling and on the night of 14 July, 1914, Riley died in a hut on Surveyor's Creek. He was buried here two days later.

Riley's Ride is now part of the annual Corryong High Country Festival which is held in March in celebration of such pioneers. The Man From Snowy River Folk Museum sheds some interesting insights into the life of the pioneers and their ingenuity and it has an extraordinary exhibition of old skiing equipment.

Corryong, for the fisherman, means brown and rainbow trout. There is great fishing here with opportunities for everyone from the most experienced and skilled fly fisherman to the youngest amateur with a line and bait.

And all this in beautiful countryside teeming with bird and animal life. Take a tour with the local Rangers. It's a great way to understand more about the parks and how alive they are.

For the bushwalker, you have the Burrowa-Pine National Park on the Victorian side of the border and Kosciusko National Park in New South Wales. East along the Murray Valley Highway is Tallangatta, the town that moved.

The coloured sails of yachts now scoot over the old town, which was flooded for Lake Hume in 1956 and rebuilt on its present site.

When the water is low, the streets and structures of old Tallangatta rise like ghosts from their watery grave.

From here there is boating and fishing on the Hume Weir and the Dartmouth Dam, both part of one of the largest inland waterways in the world.

There are numerous places to stay and endless country roads to meander away the stresses of city living. Try a round of golf or two, a picnic or just a peaceful walk.

Or just listen and dream of those mountain ranges which are always with you wherever you travel around here.

Set at the base of the high country in the Ovens Valley, Bright is one of the most beautiful towns in Australia. Sheltered against mountain storms and winds, it is renowned for its weather, year round.

Whatever the season, it will surprise you. In autumn the colours of the deciduous trees are spectacular and the town is framed in red and gold and russet. In summer it is decked with soft cool greens and in spring blossom and flowers fill the gardens and parks.

Bright celebrates autumn and spring with festivals. Associated with the Autumn Festival is the Bright Art Exhibition. This is a nationally recognised exhibition which attracts artists from all over the country. In Spring you will find gardens open to you, and local traders and crafts people have their wares for sale. People here are hospitable and proud of their town and its heritage.

From Bright you can visit the Alpine and Mount Buffallo National Parks, go skiing at Falls Creek, Mount Hotham and Mount Buffalo, walk around the old goldfields, or fish the local rivers and streams. Be sure to visit the Wandiligong Valley, now registered with the National Trust. A number of historic buildings in the old mining town are preserved. Fine wines, crisp apples and autumn nuts are regional specialties, put to good use in many local eateries. This is the heartlands of the high country

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