Activities for kids in Bright, Porepunkah and surrounds. Bright in Victoria makes for one of the most memorable country escapes outside of Melbourne. Set in the Ovens Valley, there are gorgeous mountains surrounds, many activities to do in the Ovens River and plenty of bike and walking paths to explore. If you are looking for a picturesque countryside escape, this is a pretty special place.
The Destination: Bright With Kids
Set at the base of the Victorian high country, Bright is an extremely popular family weekend getaway spot in Australia for those in Melbourne. With its stunning scenery and gorgeous fresh air, the town of Bright is a particularly picturesque place to wander and stop for a coffee. Then you’re ready to partake in all the outdoor family holiday activities on offer from swimming to cycling to engaging with farm animals.
In the winter this is an ideal place to stop and break up the road trip before you head up to Mount Hotham or Falls Creek. Alternatively it can be a great base from which to do day trips to either of those snow fields.
In the summer it certainly justifies itself as a family holiday destination all on its own. For a place to really get kids outside and active, Bright, Porepunkah and their surrounds are ideal.
The Attractions for Kids in Bright and Porepunkah
Bright in Victoria really specialises in family friendly outdoor activities. Because of its location on the Ovens River, it is a spot where you will get the most out of your experience when the weather is fine.
Many locals bring inflatable rings or boogie boards to ride the river which is great fun for kids who can swim. (It’s a good idea to pack life jackets for the kids who are doing this just in case.) Most kids in Bright base themselves around Centenary Park where you can also take advantage of the retro Bright Rotary Waterslide (a pay-as-you-slide waterslide) that goes straight down the rock face into the river.
Alternatively, during the summer months head to Porepunkah River Pool (Riverside Park, Porepunkah, Victoria, Australia). There is usually a lifeguard here in the afternoons, a toddler splash pool and free barbeque facilities.
Canoeing and kayaking are also popular options along the river. You can either hire your own kayaks or otherwise take lessons or a guided scenic tour.
For younger kids who can’t go into the river, there is also the Bright Splash Park which is a free public space full of fountains, buckets and loads of water play fun.
There are plenty of spots up and down the river to try your hand at fishing as well and skilled fishermen have every chance of nabbing a wild trout. Remember you need to apply for a fishing license online here before you set out. If you want to teach your kids fishing in an environment where their chances of snagging a catch are pretty high, try catching your dinner at Mountain Fresh Trout and Salmon Farm where you can also take a selfie with the big trout.
If you prefer cycling with kids, the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail that runs between Bright and Myrtleford (and beyond) is extremely popular with families.
The gravel trail is flat and removed from the road so you don’t have to deal with much other vehicular traffic, making for a pleasant and picturesque family activity.
This is the same trail that links up to Rutherglen, Beechworth and all the way to Wangaratta so, if you have the stamina, it’s a unique and fun way to explore parts of country Australia.
You can also walk the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail or partake in several walks all over the surrounding areas. The Canyon Walk down along the Ovens River near Bright township is a popular and easy walk to do with young kids. Alternatively take a drive up to Mount Buffalo to explore of some the natural alpine bushwalking or otherwise to experience basic snow play in the winter.
A must visit, especially if you have preschoolers or kids who love animals, is the Red Stag. This deer and emu farm not only offers spectacular views of the valley, the kids will like feeding the deer and petting the baby emus.
If you are lucky you may also be able to feed the baby goats that are adorably housed in the playground. While access to the deer, stags, chickens and turkeys that are roaming around the farm car park is technically free, it is polite to head upstairs to the adjacent restaurant for a drink or a meal and some of the best scones you will find anywhere in the region.
If you’re looking for a way for the kids to run around while you actually take a bit of a break, head straight to the marvelous Centenary Park which has a large adventure playground perfect for meeting other families and to get the kids climbing, sliding and burning energy.
If it’s raining and you need a way to occupy smaller kids, the Bright Library holds regular story times for preschoolers that can be an easy and free way to entertain them indoors.
Family Friendly Restaurants for Kids in Bright & Porepunkah
Perhaps the most pleasant family friendly eatery in the region is Boyton’s Feathertop Winery which is towards Myrtleford. Perched up high in the valley, the winery offers a beautiful vista over the Ovens Valley. Here you can do wine tasting or, better still, purchase a few bottles, grab a table and settle in for a couple of hours. There is a restaurant or, if you prefer nibbles, there is a fridge from which you can select your own cheese, dips and crackers to make a tasting platter to your liking. Outdoors there is an enclosed playground as well that attracts both preschooler and school aged kids. It is worth keeping in mind that although there is a playground, the food in the restaurant and deli fridge isn’t particularly catered towards young, fussy kids.
One of the most popular kid friendly eateries in Bright is Blackbird Café. Here you can get coffee, café meals (including kids meals) and there is a little kids corner inside with toys, books and a blackboard. When the weather is wet or too hot outside, this is a good option to spend an hour or two.
If the weather is fine, another popular spot is to try to get a table outside the back of either Bright Brewery or Riverdeck Café. Both of these overlook the fantastic Centenary Park and Bright Splash Park so are great for older kids who don’t require immediate supervision as you can have a drink and a meal while they play.
The Rail Trail Café at Porepunkah is a popular spot with cyclists and is pleasant place to sit on a sunny day. They have a small play patch in the garden where small kids can sit and potter around.
A little further down the road near Myrtleford is Lupo’s Kiln Café which has a fantastic large playground with swings, sandpit, treehouse and bunny rabbit.
This is a good place to stop for a coffee and breakfast and lunch is also available.
For something sweet, it’s hard to go past the Bright Chocolate Factory (helpfully situated near Centenary Park) or Le Blanche Ice Creamery (109 Gavan St., Bright, Victoria, Australia, +61 3 5755 1243) that serves a sizeable range of ice creams and sorbets.
Or, if you can manage to find a babysitter, there are two fine dining restaurants of particular note that are worthwhile for kids free nights out – Tani Eat & Drink (which serves modern Japanese fare) and Simone’s At Bright (fine dining Italian food).
Family Friendly Accommodation in Bright & Porepunkah
Farm stays for kids in Victoria are always a fun and relaxing way to family holiday because there are enough activities for kids to do without parents having to exert too much effort. Aspens Heritage Farm Park offers kids the opportunity to interact with ducks, horses, sheep and cows.
They can ride the ponies, collect chicken eggs, feed the pigs and even hug a turkey.
The property has four self contained family friendly accommodation options, some of which have their own fully enclosed backyard, as well as a small preschooler playground, ride on miniature tractors, pirate ship and cubby house.
The always reliable BIG4 Holiday Parks also have an offering right in Bright town that backs on to the Ovens River. You can opt for cabins or camp sites here and the facilities include a playground, toboggans, organised activities for kids and families and even a dedicated place to wash your bikes after a long ride.
Images: suitcases&strollers, Peter Dunphy, David Hannah, David Kirkland, North East Victoria Tourism, Roberto Seba, Ken Stepnell, Tourism North East, Tourism Victoria, Mark Watson