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Distance: 576km Travel time: 4 days

Great Alpine Stretch

Have the camera handy while travelling along the Great Alpine Stretch. This route oozes spectacular scenery: the High Country, popular ski fields, and inviting lakeside locations all feature.

The area's gripping bushranger history can't be ignored, either.

Great Alpine Stretch incorporates much of Victoria's High Country. Year round, the High Country has everything you'd expect from an alpine region of such rugged beauty. Whether it's snowy white in winter, or cloaked with wildflowers in summer, it's not just the altitude that will take your breath away.

This battalion of ranges is all about fresh country air, views stretching over blue ranges, bushwalking, riveting history and, in winter, snow play galore. A couple of key ski destinations form part of this path too: Mt Hotham and Falls Creek.

The colourful history of bushrangers, like Ned Kelly, is also captured along this route. The bold exploits of Kelly and his gang can be retraced at several locations.

Bright is a welcome addition to the route. This gorgeous town has a raft of parks and gardens that showcase its wonderful assortment of plant life.

Lakes Entrance is another notable addition. This lakefront town has a wonderful year-round holiday vibe and is located near Ninety Mile Beach.

Great Alpine Stretch begins in Benalla and winds up at Mallacoota.

- Club Tourism Publishing

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Great Alpine Stretch - Day 1

Benalla to Bright

Distance: 135km

Begin the journey in the pleasant city of Benalla. Head outdoors and take a look at its botanical gardens, then mark down your first bushranger encounter with a visit to the Benalla Costume and Pioneer Museum. It features Ned Kelly memorabilia, as well as a wide range of costumes.

Further along is Glenrowan: this is where the Kelly Gang crime spree ended. Not much remains in the way of original buildings but the Ned Kelly Memorial Museum and Kellyland are both intriguing attractions.

Back on the road, Wangaratta is worthy of a stop. Its art gallery is a notable attraction, housed in a striking heritage building. The city is also a great base for veering off the main path and visiting the cool-climate vineyards in the King Valley.

Continue the bushranger theme with a stop at Beechworth, which has several attractions that explore this subject. The best starting point is the Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct.

Lift the lid on history of a different kind at Myrtleford: the Discovery Trail uncovers the town's past as a tobacco and gold-mining centre. Having worked up an appetite, Myrtleford has a fine selection of eateries that showcase its tasty local produce.

Complete a busy day with a rest at beautiful Bright, which is at its eye-catching best during autumn. It's then that the town's wide selection of tree varieties takes centre stage.

- Club Tourism Publishing

Great Alpine Stretch - Day 2

Bright to Omeo

Distance: 110km

Begin the day by becoming acquainted with the many gems offered by Bright. Its art gallery and museum warrant a slice of your time, while the Old Tobacco Sheds are a great place to snare a bargain. Before you leave, call in to the Bright Brewery and grab some tasty beers to sample later.

If time warrants, consider using Bright as a base to divert from the main path to hit the great outdoors. In one direction is Mt Buffalo National Park, which has year-round appeal and extensive walking tracks to leave your footprints on. In the opposite direction is Mt Beauty, a town that provides easy access to leading ski fields Mt Hotham and Falls Creek.

Returning to the main stretch, Dinner Plain has plenty of appeal for skiers and snowboarders but also shines no matter the time of year.

Complete the day's adventures with a stop at the former gold-mining town of Omeo.

- Club Tourism Publishing

Great Alpine Stretch - Day 3

Omeo to Lakes Entrance

Distance: 129km

A wander around the Oriental Claims heritage area in Omeo is a fine way to start proceedings. Nearby are the Victoria Falls and Cassilis historic areas, which warrant a look too.

Hit the road and head south. Along the way, stop by the beautiful village of Harrietville, or call into the Great Alpine Gallery at Swifts Creek.

Veer off the route slightly to reach Bairnsdale. This bustling regional centre continues the great cultural and historical finds offered along this trip. Don't miss St Mary's Catholic Church, or perhaps use Bairnsdale as a base for taking to the Bataluk Cultural Trail to learn about Aboriginal culture.

A further detour on the way to Lakes Entrance leads to Metung, which is an ideal base for those who like their leisure to involve water. The nearby Gippsland Lakes and sandy beaches provide more than 400sq km of water to explore. While here, absorb Aboriginal culture by hearing the story about the formation known as Legend Rock.

If Metung is not your base, press on to Lakes Entrance. This has long been a popular holiday spot and its positioning takes much credit for that. It is located on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean.

- Club Tourism Publishing

Great Alpine Stretch - Day 4

Lakes Entrance to Mallacoota

Distance: 202km

Considering its position, it should not surprise that Lakes Entrance is well suited to a wide range of water-based activities. Photographers should consider a trip to Jemmy's Point Lookout to enjoy widespread views.

Taking to the road once more, a detour to Buchan is highly recommended. It is home to magnificent limestone caves that can be toured daily.

Back on the main road, Orbost has an exhibition centre that features the National Collection of Australian Wood Design, while further along is Croajingolong National Park. This gem is packed with a vast range of landscapes that allows for endless exploration.

At the end of the route is Mallacoota, a coastal hotspot that enjoys a favourable year-round climate. This town is a great spot to go swimming or snorkelling, or to take a cruise.

- Club Tourism Publishing

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