Bright autumn

An Autumn Weekend Away in Bright with Kids

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There are so many great things to do in Bright with kids, making it an excellent family friendly destination from Melbourne.  Bright truly is a four season destination with outdoor activities galore.  For our Canadian visitors, it really reminded us of Collingwood (Blue Mountain) in Ontario.

Since living in Melbourne for 6 months we have explored the city pretty well.  Read our 35 Things to do in Melbourne with Kids post.  We have also explored most of the major weekend getaway hotspots.  We have enjoyed beautiful weather in March and April, but autumn has finally moved in.  With ANZAC day occurring this month and after Paul’s busy Easter work schedule, we were quite keen to get away for a long weekend before winter arrives.Victoria high country

Since being in Melbourne, Bright, a quaint town located in Victorian high country has come up a lot as a great weekend getaway spot. We decided to enjoy a Bright autumn weekend away as our last camping trip of the season.  Located three hours from Melbourne, the town is especially known for its beautiful fall colours of the leaves changing.  In fact, the Bright Autumn Festival held every year at the end of April features local foods and is the perfect time of year to see the changing colours.

Things to do in Bright

  1. See the Autumn ColoursBright high country

    You might not think of Australia as a four season country, but down in Victoria we do get four seasons, sometimes in one day.  Where we live in Canada, fall brings stunning colours as our trees change and shed their leaves.  Since Australia has mostly gum trees, you don’t see this amazing display in most parts.  Bright, located inland and at a higher elevation beside the mountains is the place to go to see the trees change to bright shades of yellow, orange and red.  What better way to see this then by cycling and hiking through the area’s vast network of trails and paths.

  2. Explore Howitt ParkPlayground beside Brewery

    Bright is a pretty small place and this amazing playground located beside the Ovens River is where all the action is happening.  This is a fantastic playground for kids with  a large wooden structure, flying fox and so much more.  Probably the best thing about the park is that Bright Brewery’s patio overlooks it.  Parents can relax and enjoy a pint while kids play to their heart’s content.  We love Aussie playgrounds and this one kept our kids occupied for hours.

  3. Play in the Splash Parkthings to do with kids Bright

    We visited in autumn and while the splash park was still open and the kids wanted to go in, we had to save this for our next trip.  The newish splash park is located just down from Howitt Park and features water cannons, a water wheel that dumps water and various fountains.  Great for toddlers, right up to tweens, this would be a lovely place to hang out on a hot day in Bright with kids.

  4. Ovens River Play and SlideRiverplay

    I think the first time I heard about Bright someone told me how cute of a town it is where the kids play in the creek and the parents relax at the Brewery on the creek.  Since we were visiting in autumn, I managed to keep the kids out of the water, but this is definitely a place they want to return to.  The river is a perfect place for kids to cool off and discover the creatures in the river.  There is a large steep steel slide into the river for the older kids.

  5. Relax at the Brewerythings to do Bright

    The infamous Brewery really is a great place to check out in any season.  It feels like the most lively part of town and it certainly is a great gathering point.  With lots to keep the kids occupied, Mom and Dad can enjoy a refreshment.  You can sit on the outdoor patio overlooking the playground and river or lounge out on the grass next door and enjoy your beverage.  They often have live music on the weekends.  The food is pretty good as well.  The kids chowed down on their pizzas and chips (the aioli is so yummy!).  We saw lots of people on the grass enjoying their drinks, but eating fish and chips takeaway, which is a good way to save money.

  6. Cycle the Murray to Mountains Rail TrailBright with kids

    When the rain line closed in 1983 to this region, they had the foresight to turn it into an 83 km recreational trail.  This was definitely the highlight of the region for us.  The trail is set off the road, flat, sealed and is great for kids.  Bring your bikes or you can rent them in Bright and go for a family ride.  The rolling hills, farmland and many cute cafes along the route are a treat to cycle.  We cycled between Bright and Porepunkah, where we were staying.

  7. Visit Family Friendly CafesCafes with playgrounds

    Melbourne has amazing cafes and we found some gems in Bright as well.  On the way into town we stopped at Lupo’s Kiln Cafe.  This was a great place for the kids as they had a great playground and some animals.  It is also located right on the rail trail so makes a great stop if you are doing a longer cycle with the kids.  They serve breakfast and lunch and also have ice cream.  We have also heard great things about the Rail Trail Cafe in Porepunkah, but didn’t have time to stop there this trip.  I am not sure why they don’t have these fantastic cafes that cater to families in Canada.  They are good for the kids, which equals good for the adults.

  8. Go for a HikeMount Buffalo with kids

    We were overwhelmed with all the choices for hiking in the region.  The tourism office (down the street from the Brewery) offers lots of brochures with the various hiking areas and trails.  We were definitely be back to do more hikes, but just had time to sample Mount Buffalo on this weekend.  Mount Buffalo National Park offers stunning granite boulders, lovely vistas, tons of trails and is only a 40 minute drive from Bright.  We did the 2km (1 hour return) Cathedral track where you ascend for awesome views of the valley below.  We brought a picnic lunch and enjoyed a great view from the top.

    The required family selfie

  9. Visit a Winerythings to do in Bright

    We stopped by Ringers Reef Winery, which is a small boutique vineyard for an afternoon.  This is a fun things to do in Bright with kids and the kids had a ball playing on the lawn with lots of balls and outdoor toys provided.  The adults enjoyed sitting out on the courtyard overlooking the grapes and Porepunkah below.  Of course we sampled their wines with a cheese platter too.  The wineries here are very family friendly, so don’t worry about bring your kids.  We have also heard good things about Feathertop Winery.

Where to Stay Brightwhere to stay bright

Our trip was very last minute, so we camped at the Big 4 Porepunkah.  This was such a lovely place with owners who had thought of everything.  The camp kitchen was sparkling clean and had everything you could possibly want.  The kids loved the jumping pillow and pool (which I didn’t let them go in).  In addition to camp and caravan sites, they do have a range of cabins.  Next time, we might try to stay right in Bright at the Big 4 there or one of the other caravan parks.

If you are looking for a hotel experience, click over to Tripadvisor to find the best ranked hotels.

Where to Eat Bright

where to eat bright

Tasting paddle at the Brewery

  • Bright Brewery – not just great beers, the pizzas and chips are really great as well
  • Rail Trail Cafe – supposed to be really good, with a Mexican flavour
  • Feathertop Winery – for a fine dining experience

Our Verdict

We loved our weekend away in Bright with kids and definitely want to return and see the area at a different time of year.  The autumn leaves are a great excuse to discover the region.  There is so many great outdoor activities that the whole family can do together.  Bring your bikes, your hiking shoes and spend the weekend outside exploring Victoria’s high country.

Here are some of our other favourite Melbourne weekend getaways:

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