Recently, I had the privilege of embarking on a road trip with my two most favourite people in the entire world. It was a journey that involved vast expanses, exploding colour. travelling roads less travelled, meeting new people and staying in cute cottages.
This is the Victorian High Country.
Our first stop was staying at River Downs on the Howqua River, 30 mins south of Mansfield. Talk about the most perfect introduction to the area. My jaw literally dropped when we first pulled up in front of this place - it is quintessentially high country all over.
Surrounded by wildlife (including Kangaroos, Wombats, Stags, Cows and Horses) it literally was like being completely cut off from the rest of humanity. Throw in the constant flow of water from the Howqua River that flows directly behind the cottage and you truly have the perfect getaway.
Not to mention the countless stars above our heads.
It wasn't just a dream for adults but for two year olds also.
The area around where we were staying is known for its outstanding natural beauty - the view from the top of Mt. Stirling will take your breath away (that is if the walk up there doesn't do so first).
River Downs...we will be back!
It was time to head south towards Gippsland for our next adventure - the highlight no doubt of our three nights staying in the area would be our daytrip to the Dandenongs where we boarded the infamous Puffing Billy!
The present line between Belgrave and Gembrook, through the forests, fern gullies and farmlands of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges, is the major part of the line which opened on 18th December 1900.
To get to our next destination (Gapstead) we decided to go the long way around, basically for no other reason then to travel the Great Alpine Road. This route would take us approsimately 300kms starting at Bairnsdale, through Omeo (the most remote gold mining town in Australia), across Dinner Plain, up and over Mt. Hotham, through the beautiful town of Bright and finally to Gapstead.
The weather did play a few mean tricks on us along the way, including at one point while on the summit of Mt. Hotham we thought we were about to get snowed in - but we escaped...just! We were however rewarded with some amazing misty conditions during the descent.
Viewing these burnt trees standing out among the mist was no doubt the highlight of our time on the Great Alpine Road.
One thing I wanted to do in the area was to drive up into Mt. Buffalo National Park. This NP has some brilliant photo opportunities and you could easily spend a week there.
Unfortunately for me I only had an hour or so. ..I didn't quite make it to the summit of Mt. Buffalo but I did manage to nab this shot looking across the plain towards the peak in the distance..
We had an amazing time in the Victorian High Country and there is no doubt we would love to return in the not so distant future. I know I have a lot of unfinished business with the area! This last image was taken on the last evening of our last stop on the property of Cortes Cottage. The colours along the Ovens river were incredible and it was an amazing way to end our trip to this amazing area.