When we went: May 24-26 and June 1-3
Activity summary: two short (45 min or less) easy walks around Bright township and surrounds.
How we got there: Bright is about three and a half hours from Melbourne by car (we stop off on the way there and the way back at Euroa for a coffee and an Anzac. You should too.)
What we did (the details):
On our first trip, we went for a late afternoon stroll from our camping spot into town. We were immediately amazed by how many birds there were in and around the town.
A family of gang gang cockatoos landed in the trees by Morse creek and came down in pairs to drink from the water. I couldn’t quite get close enough to take a good photo without spooking them, but it was amazing to see them so close and personable.
We headed up through the town and to the site of the old timber mill and rail yards. This now forms a park and museum, and the start of the tail trail. Although most of the European trees had shed their leaves for autumn, this area was still beautiful. We were treated to a tribe of king parrots feeding in a fruiting oak tree. Waves of them kept landing briefly to take up an acorn, retuning to the low branches to nibble, dropping the husk then flying down again. We stood under the oak for about fifteen minutes, grinning like loons as these beautiful large parrots repeatedly swioped down to our feet and fed.
We started to feel a little foolish, so continued on our way down the trail. We saw many crimson rosellas feeding in the berry-laden plants along the way, as well as more king parrots, galahs, currawongs (of course) and even a pair of satin bowerbirds (our first!).
Reaching the point where the trail crossed over the alpine road, we turned and headed back. A kangaroo crossed over the trail before us and headed for the road, hopefully it was content to graze in the vacant block and not head for the dangers of the road itself.
More crazy bird life continued as the roo watched us return along the trail, but as it was growing dark in the mountains, we upped our pace back and headed back to our tent to get ready for dinner.
On our second visit, we were in town a bit earlier and decided to walk the canyon walk that skirts along the Ovens river banks. This starts in the town as well.
We crossed over the river in the park area behind the town, and walked outwards along the northern bank. Lots of birds again: currawongs, king parrots, galahs feeding on the grass, lots of wood ducks, crimson rosellas, a family of bowerbirds this time (on the lawn in someone’s backyard, superb fairy wrens, pacific black ducks, black cockatoos high in the eucalypts preening and calling to each other.
The Ovens river is beautiful. The canyon is amazing: the rock walls carved by the waters are dark and smooth and we wondered what the place would be like after a big melt it a lot of rain.
The river banks tell another story though, a more recent one, as the canyon walls are pierced and pitted by the hands of humans as well. Bright was a site where gold was found in the 1850s and the search for gold in the Ovens has scarred the edges in innumerable places along the canyon. I usually poohpooh interpretive signage, but as we returned along the southern bank, the signs were really helpful in seeing how the miners reshaped the river to get to the gold. What a hellhole it must have been.
We walked to the second swing bridge and crossed, retuning along the southern bank in the afternoon sunshine. This time we stopped off for a blackberry pie to take back to have with a cup of tea. The struggles. 😉