Bright, Audax Alpine Classic, 2012.

I’ve dragged my family up to Bright for the last few years for a long weekend so that I can have some company.  The reason for my visit is the annual Audax Alpine Classic.  The reason my family comes along is simply that I asked them, I suppose, but over the years they’ve found stuff to do in and around Bright which keeps them coming back each year.

Authentic Bright magpies

This year the boys and I drove up on Australia day, leaving Liz and Zoe at home to attend a funeral.  On the way up we stopped at Avenel for a little bit of pizza.  But not just any pizza.  Quite a while ago someone I  know went and bought himself a bit of real estate in Avenel, with the intention of turning it into a Wood Fired Pizzeria.  It’s been a long road for Callum, but it finally bore fruit when he opened his doors for the very first time on Australia Day.

I wouldn’t normally abuse the enormous reach and power of this blog to plug a friend’s business, and you have no idea the number of offers that I knock back each and every day from people wanting my endorsement.  But in this case I just have to make an exception.  If ever you are in Avenel you just have to call in and check this place out.

Which is a pretty daft thing to say, since the chances of you ever being in Avenel are slim indeed.  So let me rephrase it.  Go out of your way and call in to Avenel and find your way through it’s not-quite-straightforward street layout to Bank Street.  Don’t do it on just any day, though, because at this stage I think they are only open on Friday nights and weekends.   But go.  It’ll be well worth it.

Bank Street Pizzeria

There probably won’t be a vintage car parked out the front, and unless you go on Australia day as we did, there probably won’t be so many Australian flags getting about the place either.  And since Jack and Harry and I were already their very first customers you’ll miss out on that honour as well.  But still, GO.

Check them out here if you must, but GO!

Perhaps you’ll be on your way to Bright one day….

Where you can swim in the river if it’s a hot day.

The public swimming area in the Ovens River, Bright.

This is a photo from a year ago, and it must not have been that hot, or maybe it was just early in the morning.  When the weather warms up this becomes a very busy part of the river.  So much so that you would drive up the road a distance to find a quieter spot on the river, if only you knew where to find it.

Chinaman's swimming hole.

There are no sign posts, no directions and no indications that this swimming hole exists.  It’s a short drive from the main road along some pretty rough tracks, and even on a scorching hot day (as this day was) it’s not so busy.

Diving off the cliff

It’s hard to show in a photograph, but at the bottom of the cliff the water is very deep.  And this year, unlike in previous years, the water was very clear.  If you’re brave you can jump off the cliff and into the water below.

And if you’ve had enough of swimming and diving off cliffs, there’s always the majestic mountains in every direction.

Sunrise over Mt Bogong, from Tawonga Gap.

For the Australia day weekend each year the town of Bright is taken over by cyclists, who descend on the place for the annual Alpine Classic.  Some of us ride the “classic” 200km route each year, some take the shorter options, and a growing number of hardy souls enrol for the aptly named Alpine Classic Extreme 250 km event.

The 200km event starts in Bright and heads over Tawonga gap and down to Mount Beauty, then climbs up to the Falls Creek village.  From Falls Creek the ride returns by the same route to Bright, and then up Mount Buffalo and back.  It’s a long way.  But the road is covered with cyclists, there is a great atmosphere and there is lots of support including water and food stops along the way.  Actually, you should try it next year.

A light hearted moment at the start line.

In keeping with the French origins of the Audax cycing organisation the start line always has a bit of a French theme, and the event village is like a little bit of Paris each year.  This charming woman in her French maid’s outfit has been on the start line each year that I’ve lined up, along wit an Inspector Clouseau character, keeping the humour up.

They are used to cyclists in this part of the world.

This always seems an odd sign to me.  By their very nature cyclists tend to share the road, whether it be with other cyclists, or with thundering big trucks.  To my mind the sign should say Motorists:  Share the road!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. scottsabode
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 09:05:09

    Being late winter in the UK I am loving the bright light shown in these pics, Dr John.


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