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Bright idea

Thursday, August 19, 2010
Family holidays are a wonderful Australian tradition. Many families have been going to the same place for generations — mum, dad, nanna and pop, aunties, uncles and cousins, all building memories to recall in later years.

Kelly Landry's happy childhood holiday memories go back to the lovely town of Bright in Victoria. She recalls hours of cruising down the river on a lilo and was excited to go back there after many years.

Bright is nestled in the Ovens Valley in country Victoria. The Ovens River winds through the town which is perfectly located for those going to Falls Creek and Mt Hotham. Once caught up in the gold rush, Bright is now a tourist town. Its cultural heritage has many street names which can be traced to current residents.

It enjoys four distinct seasons and a major event is the Bright Autumn Festival. It also has paragliding and hang gliding festivals and competitions. There is majestic alpine scenery and a variety of native birds and animals. Morses Creek and the Ovens River have adjoining tracks ideal for short or long walks. Just strolling around the town is a very pleasant thing to do.

The Sweet Retreat

Doesn't everyone have cravings for lollies they tucked into as a child and just can't find any longer? Kelly went to The Sweet Retreat and was thrilled to find musk pebbles and bullets on sale. The shop, which has been selling sweet favourites for 17 years, started out as a quaint English toffee shop called Oliver Twist. It then became Ma Humbugs. The current owners have been there for six years and it would be an understatement to say they have expanded and extended.

They have a mouthwatering range of coffee, tea, thick Belgian hot chocolate, gourmet cakes, slices, biscuits and truffles. That's before you get to the serious stuff. Dutch licorice, homemade boiled lollies, English sweets and American candies. Wait until you see their range of Painted Ponies. Definitely a collector's item. There are giftwares, teapots and keep your eyes out for bargains.

Bright Brewery

This is interesting for the whole family — not just your dad. At Bright Brewery you can have a behind-the-scenes tour and become a brewer for a day.

The award-winning brewery uses mountain water, quality ingredients and special brewing techniques to produce their "mountain crafted" beer.

It's a small brewery and regularly produces five beers — Hellfire Amber Ale, Blowhard Pale Ale, Razor Witbier, Staircase Porter and Fainters Dubbel.

At the end of the tour you can enjoy a tasting, or you can skip the tour and have a beer and bite to eat.

Centenary Peaks Townhouses

Just three years old, Centenary Peaks is on the Ovens River and close to town. The eight self-contained two-bedroom two-bathroom townhouses were architecturally designed and suit one or two couples. The alpine region is represented in their smooth stonework, polished hardwoods, sleek metals, granite, original artworks and warm, earthy colours.

Beds are dressed in the latest available sleep technology to ensure allergy-free relaxation. There are plasma televisions, play stations, luxury toiletries and barbecue kettle.

Stock up on essentials and gourmet goodies in town to eat in or visit one of the recommended restaurants, cafes or specialty coffee shops.

Simone's of Bright

This Italian family restaurant has been run by George and Patrizia Simone for 22 years. Many people travel to Bright just to enjoy the dining experience in the beautiful Victorian cottage. One look at their menu on the website will possibly have you wanting to join the throng.

Son Anthony is a qualified chef and joins his mother in the kitchen preparing Perugian dishes, as well as food inspired by restaurants he has worked in Italy, America and Melbourne. They make their own ciabatta and grow herbs in the garden. It's all served by George, whose knowledge of food and wine is limitless.

The renowned chef Stephanie Alexander has recommended it as one of her favourites. It's BYO and when the weather is kind, dining outdoors is an option.

Related: great family campervan parks


Bright in the Ovens Valley, four hours from Melbourne.


The Sweet Retreat is open every day between 9.30am and 5pm.

Bright Brewery Tours cost $18 for tour and tasting (for participants older than 18) and $10 for tour only. They take place on Fridays at 3pm. The brewery opens at noon every day.

Centenary Peaks' two-bedroom apartments start at $240 a night.

Simone's of Bright is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 6.30pm until late. Entrees start at around $15 and mains $33. It's BYO.

Virgin Blue has flights to Melbourne.

One-way fares from:

  • Adelaide $79
  • Hobart $85
  • Sydney $90
  • Canberra $95
  • Brisbane $129
  • Darwin $179
  • Perth $239

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.

Prices correct at August 19, 2010.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

Sweet Retreat
12a Barnard Street
Bright 3741
Ph: (03) 5750 1771

Bright Brewery
121 Great Alpine Road
Bright 3741
Ph: (03) 5755 1301
Fax: (03) 5755 1346

Centenary Peaks Townhouses
1 Delany Avenue
Bright 3741
Ph: (03) 5750 1433

Simone's of Bright
98 Gavan Street
Bright 3741
Ph: (03) 5755 2266

Bright Tourist Information

User comments
Thank..................I adore your website - nice job!
I grew up in Bright and can relate directly to floating down the river on a lilo! although I am now at the age where I am bringing my own family here for holidays. Simone's Restaurant will serve probably the best food you have ever tasted - and I can not recommend it enough. Anthony is an accomplished chef and is always experimenting with new flavours and combinations whilst staying true to his heritage. Even after a second serving of dessert (if you can fit it in!) and a few extra wines - you will not want to leave!

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