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The town of Mount Beauty earns its name, delivering postcard-perfect alpine scenery in Victoria’s High Country, northeast of Melbourne. This is the Kiewa Valley, dominated by the state’s highest peak, Mount Bogong, at 1,986 metres (6,516 feet). Mount Beauty sits at its base, surrounded by 646,000 hectares (1.6 million acres) of the Alpine National Park, the largest of its kind in Victoria. This is nature writ large, a place where wild rivers carve through valleys of snow gums and alpine ash, and where dramatic mountain ridges give way to high plains dusted with powder in winter and wildflowers in spring.
Attractions here revolve around the great outdoors, whether skiing and snowboarding in winter or bushwalking and mountain biking when the melting snow reveals epic trails. For the adventurous, white-water rafting, hang-gliding, and paragliding beckon, while tamer watersports await on the Mount Beauty Pondage, surrounded by walking tracks and parkland.
The closest airport is Albury (ABX), just across the Victoria border in New South Wales, with regular flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Buses depart Albury for Falls Creek in winter, with onward taxis available to your destination; in summer, a direct bus runs from Albury to Mount Beauty. Or hire a car at the airport for the hour drive south. Having your own transportation allows you to take on scenic routes like the legendary Great Alpine Road, traversing Falls Creek and Mount Hotham and leading to Metung and the Gippsland Lakes on the state’s coast. Note: in winter it’s compulsory for all vehicles entering ski resorts to carry snow chains.
If you’re commuting from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL), the drive northeast takes four hours. Alternatively, during winter, coaches operate from Melbourne’s city centre direct to Falls Creek.
When snow falls, Victoria’s High Country is transformed into a winter wonderland. Skiers and snowboarders revel in facilities at the local resort, and surrounding towns — including Mount Beauty — book out well in advance.
The rest of the year brings just as many reasons to visit, from mild summer days spent splashing about in rivers and lakes to spring wildflowers and fiery autumnal colours blanketing countryside webbed with hiking and cycling trails. Each April, you can dance away a weekend at the Mount Beauty Music Festival, which boasts a packed program of blues, roots, country, jazz, and world music.
Home to Victoria’s largest snow-making facilities and some of the state’s steepest and deepest slopes, the local alpine resort is a magnet for winter-sports enthusiasts — it’s a 40-minute commute here from Mount Beauty by coach or car. Make the most of long downhill trails, hit terrain parks, take a snowshoe tour, or enjoy toboggan runs.
From challenging downhill tracks to family-friendly trails, Big Hill is one of Australia’s most popular mountain bike parks. The 40 kilometres of marked tracks make the most of Mount Beauty’s alpine setting, weaving through forest and offering unrivalled views over the Kiewa Valley. From here, it’s just a short drive up the mountain to the equally heart-racing Falls Creek Mountain Bike Park, adding another 40 kilometres of free-flowing trails to the region’s bounty.
Mount Beauty was officially founded in 1946 when workers and their families were drawn to build the High Country’s hydroelectric scheme. Discover this fascinating history at the Kiewa Museum, which also hosts exhibitions highlighting the region’s Indigenous population, and that of early European pioneers scaling and documenting the surrounding mountains.