Unbridle your wanderlust, whether you seek wine or wild swimming, farmgate foraging or hiking to Australia’s highest peak.
So take your foot off the pedal to wander scenic trails, wade in mountains streams or simply put your feet up.
Give yourself over to the lure of the road.
Walk amongst giants on the high country’s iconic day hike to the top of Australia.
The 18.6km Mount Kosciuszko Summit walk leads to the peak of our continent’s highest mountain. From Charlotte Pass ski resort, winter adventurers can cross-country ski or snowshoe to the summit, while summer offers a sunny ramble on well-marked paths; mountain bikes are permitted on some sections.
For a shorter stroll, peer east to Kosciusko Main Range from Embery’s Lookout in the Mount Mittamatite Regional Park. Set near the border town of Towong, the park lures rock climbers and abseilers to its walls, as well as picnickers and lovers of high-country panoramas.
Admirers of cool-climate wines should expect quality, not quantity from the predominantly small, family-owned alpine vineyards along the Way.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the signature wines of the 25-odd vineyards around Tumbarumba, while Courabyra wows with its sparkling wines and makes a compelling argument to hit the brakes for a cellar-door lunch or afternoon tea.
The Beechworth Wine Region is home to family-owned boutique vineyards that specialise in biodynamic wine, and are nationally recognised for producing some of Australia’s best Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.
Keep your eyes peeled along the Beechworth-Wangaratta road for a cluster of vibrant vineyards including Savaterre, Giaconda, Indigo Vineyards and Piano Piano.
Where will you call home tonight? An historic stone farm cottage, a restored country pub or a cabin in a paddock of wildflowers?
Blend eco and luxe with a stay in Highfield Farm and Woodland’s Kestrel Nest Eco Hut, ideal for families or couples, or Kimo Estate’s eco-huts on the 7000-acre working sheep and cattle farm overlooking the Murrumbidgee River outside Gundagai. Kimo also has a pad in town, Gundagai’s former red-brick convent is now Flash Jack’s of Gundagai.
Hillview Farmstay, just off the Hume, offers luxury cottages, glamping safari tents, and farm animal activities. Discover historic pubs, each with a charm all their own, offering accommodation with warm welcomes, country hospitality, and many an open fireplace.
Fill the esky
Keep an esky in the boot and change in the glovebox for roadside treasure from the farm stalls.
Note to self, the essential stop is for the famed crisp apples of Batlow. Local favourite Wilgro Orchards adds sweet cherries, handmade cider and small-batch, wild-fermented vinegars to its apple offerings, which range from Greenstars to Granny Smiths.
Black Barn Farm is a regenerative and bio-diverse orchard and nursery that has ‘pick your own’ and an annual calendar of learning experiences, but also sells fruit trees for a take home ‘tree-change’.
Go with the flow
The Way is awash with local tastes for the adventurous drinker, from bespoke breweries to gun gin distillers.
Nip into the sneaky tasting room of the historical Oriental Hotel in Tumut to discover Pretty Parrot Distillery’s gins and liqueurs inspired by Australian native plants, or try Tumut River Brewing Company’s limited-release brews while in town.
Meanwhile, just south of our apple capital, Batlow, the family-run Crafty Cider pours a range of ciders including non-alcoholic and ice cider. In Beechworth, pop in for a cocktail at Bilsons’ speakeasy, at Australia’s oldest continuing drinks manufacturer, or the standout Bridge Road Brewers, an essential lunch stop in its busy beer garden for their locally brewed and award winning Pale Ale, IPA and hoppy sours.
Hip meets history
For food served up with a side of history, amble down the prettiest gold-fever town, Yackandandah. First surveyed in 1856, its main street is lined with galleries, cafes and curio shops that balance the hip and the historic.
Take a short drive out to Woolshed Falls, site of one of Australia’s richest gold rushes before heading south to Beechworth, and toss a coin between Bilson’s or Bridge Road for a brewery lunch. On Ford Street, Beechworth Honey offers lashings of tastings and sensational skincare, while the Ned Kelly Vault Museum tells tales of our most notorious bushranger. Round it out with a few minutes’ drive or cycle along the gentle rail trail to Pennyweight Wines to complete a day well spent.
Feel the late summer sun on your face and the fertile earth beneath your feet at the pick-your-own farms that dot the Way.
Gather berries, pluck ripe apples fresh from the orchards and sip cider in the apple of our eye, Batlow. Nearby, Courabyra Wines’ cellar door was made for long lunching, while winter brings crisp mornings and snow flurries, with a longing for log fires. Duck into Tumut’s Local at Learmonts, a producers and makers co-operative, to grab the best in-season produce direct from the farmers. As the shadows lengthen and the night frost falls, warm yourself by the open fire in a country pub, or curl up in a cosy cottage.
The lure of water
Pack the fishing rods to drop a line in the Khancoban Pondage for Rainbow Trout or Atlantic Salmon, or perfect your swish with fly or lure.
Test your fly fishing skills and hook a trout in the trout filled depths of Swampy Plains River, Tumut River or Nariel Creek - just a few of the excellent trout streams along the Way. If you have a bad day on the water, just grab some smoked trout for your picnic from an obliging providore. No-one will know!
Not the fishing type? With an abundance of rivers, ponds and dams; you’ll be sure to find your own spot on the water. Kayakers' favourites include the fast flowing Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers, the picturesque Tumut River. Or for the adrenaline seeking water ski and wakeboarding crowd, set up camp, ride the wake during the day, and relax with the glow of the setting sun at Blowering Dam, Lake Hume, or Dartmouth Dam, south of Tallangatta.
Fed by natural springs in a bushland setting, the open-air swimming pool retains a toasty 27°C, making it a year-round option.
Otherwise, the brave can take a post-hike leap into the always-bracing waters of the Blue Waterholes in the Kosciuszko National Park. Access to Long Plain Rd (Blue Waterholes area) is closed during the winter months.
Go on, fortune favours the bold!
Follow the road curling along the foothills of the Snowys, can you hear the call of the wild?
Tap into the cycling rail trails that criss-cross the countryside for a cruisy spin between villages: coast the 21km Tumbarumba to Rosewood rail trail, or ride the flowing singletrack at Tumut and Tumbarumba MTB trails.
Stretching 78 kilometres from Wodonga, through Old Tallangatta and out to Shelley, the High Country Rail Trail hugs the shoreline of Lake Hume, taking you on a scenic journey through the Upper Murray.
Further south, riders will want to stretch their legs and get the heart pumping on “Yack Tracks”, the Yackandandah mountain bike track network in the Stanley State Forest which has beginner and intermediate loops from one to 18 kilometres in length.