I’ve been visiting the Kiewa Valley town of Mount Beauty since I was a kid. We used to camp in the Kiewa Valley every New Years. We also owned a holiday house in Tawonga South when I was a teenager. My parents live there now and we lived with them for the first five months of 2020.
If you love the great outdoors or being active, then Mount Beauty is a great place to visit. There are tons of hikes and Bush walks, bike rides, water sports and snow sports in the up at Falls Creek about 40 minutes away.
Getting to Mount Beauty
Mount Beauty is located in the Kiewa Valley, about an hour from Albury airport or a 4.5 hour drive from Melbourne. VLine offers a public transport service to Mount Beauty 3 days per week. You can board the Albury train at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. You will then change to the coach service to Bright in Wangaratta. From Bright, a taxi service will take you the rest of the way to Mount Beauty.
When you first arrive in town your first port of call should be the Mount Beauty info centre. They have some great information on hikes you can do up in the High Plains and around town, as well as some local souvenirs and history of the town.
There are plenty of places rented out as holiday rentals around town, but it is a small town so for busy weekends make sure you book early.
Danielle and I spent a night the Allamar Hotel for our anniversary and it was just perfect. The owner made sure everything was set up for us and we had a gorgeous view of the valley. Sitting there eating cheese and drinking bevies while looking at Mount Bogong while the sun set was a perfect experience. The bed was also super comfortable and the room itself was cozy.
The Park is the Mount Beauty Caravan Park. They have a range of options for accommodation, whether it’s just some lawn to pitch your tent, or a cabin there is plenty to choose from and you’ll be right on the Kiewa River.
Snow View Holiday Apartments
It has been a while since I have stayed at the Snow View but we really enjoyed our last visit when we took it entire family. These apartments are located on Simmons Creek Road, tucked away from the main road but still within walking distance. These units are also located walking distance to Annapurna Estate Restaurant which was a winery when we last stayed there. The perfect distance to stumble home if you responsibly enjoy a glass or two.
There are also countless holiday rentals and B&Bs around town. They do get snapped up quickly in the ski season and during holidays, so make sure you book early!
Walks & Hikes around Mount Beauty
Mount Beauty boasts plenty of bike and walking tracks around town. Here are a few that we enjoyed…
This walk trail goes 3km around the lake or Mount Beauty Pondage. The Pondage forms part of the hydro scheme and serves to regulate the flow of the Kiewa River. If you are in town for a while, you will notice that the Pondage water level is constantly changing. The trail is level so is an easy grade for people of all age.
You will often find families walking around the Pondage, wheeling a stroller, or kids on bikes and plenty of people walking their dogs. From the trail you’ll see the majestic reflection of Mount Bogong in the water. You’ll also get a great view down the valley and of the air strip. Just watch your head as those gliders can come in pretty low when they land. In Autumn, you’ll experience gorgeous colours reflected in the lake. This trail is also frequently the site of Mount Beauty’s Park Run on a Saturday morning.
The River Walk is just across the road from the Mount Beauty Pondage. This walk originally went out to Pebble Beach but is currently being extended. As the name suggests, it follows the Kiewa River downstream so is ideal for finding a swimming hole. In the Summer months, you’ll find plenty of kids carrying tyre tubes back along the path as they run back to float down the river one more time. Be careful of snakes on this walk as there are plenty. In Autumn this trail provides the perfect place to stand and watch the leaves float down around you in a soft breeze. In Winter, it is a great place to come to see the snow on Mount Bogong.
Mount Beauty Gorge Walk
Further out of town, to the South-East, you will find the Mount Beauty Gorge walk which is a little more challenging. Head across the suspension bridge and up into the gorge to enjoy beautiful views of the West Branch of the Kiewa River. In wetter months, be careful of falling rocks, especially at “Don’t Look Up Rock”. During the dryer months, you can walk and wade up to the Gorge which is simply pristine. The water is so clear. You will notice caution signs, as the water in the Gorge can fluctuate due to the hydro scheme up stream.
Rock Pool and Mermaid Beach
Beginning behind the Mount Beauty Golf Course (which is probably one of the most difficult courses in the world) you’ll find the start of the walk to Mermaid Beach and the Rock Pool. Through the trees on this walk, you will get some beautiful glimpses of town and down into the Kiewa Valley. The Rockpool and Mermaid Beach have long been popular swimming holes for the locals. and remain a great place to enjoy the water today. You can still see where they used to have a diving board into the rock pool. If you prefer a shorter walk, you can also access these swimming holes via Rock Pool Road from where it is just a short walk.
Just across the road from Dreamers and The Park, you’ll find a little gully track which starts on the town side of the metal bridge on Veils Road. The track has been beautifully created and maintained by the local Landcare Group and supported by other local groups.
This gully had become a dumping ground over the years, which resulted in overgrowth of weeds and rubbish. Since then, a lot of work has rejuvenated this gully. You’ll wind your way along a babbling brook, through native trees and lush ferns. You will see plenty of wombat holes, though the wombats keep to themselves, they leave little cubed treats to let us know they are still there. In the treetops, you’ll hear the rosellas, cockies and the creaking of Eucalypts swaying in the wind. This is a great little walk, close to town, but can get muddy in the wetter months, as well as plenty of Mosquitos.
Veils Road to Simmonds Creek Rd
At the top of the Gully Track, you can head back down Veils Road and into town, or keep going. Follow Veils Road as the soil turns read and you’ll catch a great view back into town. Keep following the road around, and you can take the road up the Hill to the left and hike all the way to the fence line. This is pretty steep, especially at the start. Alternatively, instead of going up the hill you can follow a different track to the right until you get to the fence line. If you turn right at the fence and follow the track around, this will eventually lead you to Simmonds Creek Road and back into town This can be a fairly intense walk at times, and slippery in wetter months, so you will want your hiking boots on.
For the adventure lovers
Another walk close to town for those who like extreme hiking is located on Simmonds Creek Road. It begins at the end of the sealed section. I’m not sure of the name of this hike, so I’ve called it Crazy Vertical Climb. We had only planned to hike up the first part of this track, but then realised it was too steep to climb down, so had to go all the way.
Once you get past the intensity, the hike is actually really beautiful, taking you through a range of vegetations as you move up in altitude. The hike took us several hours and led to Tawonga Gap where we had mum pick us up. We were utterly exhausted. I am not sure if I would ever do this hike again, but definitely glad for the experience.
Hiking Mt Bogong
Further out of town, on Mountain Creek Road, you’ll find the hike up Mount Bogong. This is probably the main hiking reason for people to visit Mount Beauty as it is Victoria’s Highest Peak. The best months to hike Bogong are typically November – May. You can even hike it as part of the annual Conquestathon put on in March by the local Lions Club. This is a great time for those who may be apprehensive as they have volunteers along the track.
Hiking Bogong in the Summer months will also give you a chance to see some of the high country’s wildflowers in bloom.
If you hike Bogong at any other time, it is best to go with a friend, as weather conditions can be unpredictable once you get above the snowline. The first time we hiked Bogong, visibility was extremely poor. But when we hiked in January, we had spectacular 360 degree views. Make sure you pack plenty of water, snacks and a first aid kit with a snake bandage. This hike will typically take most of the day. For those who just want to relax, the staircase hike starts near Mountain Creek Campground which is a perfect place for a picnic lunch or a leisurely stroll.
Walking around Bogong Village
A 20 minute drive up towards Falls Creek, you’ll find Bogong Village. Situated on Lake Guy, Bogong Village is also a great place for a picnic lunch. There is also a great walking circuit around the lake which will take you past the new power station, and even through the wall of the lake. As a kid, I remember visiting Bogong Village and the Gardens in pristine condition. These days, sadly the gardens aren’t what they used to be but it is still a great place to learn about the hydroscheme and enjoy the mountain air. Just a short drive from the Village you’ll also find the walk to Fainter Falls which provides a great view of the water fall.
There are plenty of other hikes around Mount Beauty, with the Bogong High Plains boasting plenty of trails to huts which are truly spectacular, but we will save those for another post.
Bike Rides around Mount Beauty
Aside from hiking, Mount Beauty is also known for its cycling of all varieties. For road cyclists, the Three Peaks tournament passes through town every March. For mountain bikers and BMXers, there are also plenty of trails around town. Falls Creek has put considerable effort into opening up the ski fields to mountain bikers during the warmer months.
For the novices like us, you can start with more leisurely rides around town, enjoying the Mount Beauty Pondage or Pebble Beach trails. Once we had accomplished these trails, we eventually worked our way up to the loop ride. This is a circuit that goes from Mount Beauty, out to Tawonga, to Mountain Creek Rd, then Damms Rd to head back into town. This circuit will give you some breath taking views of the mountains and valley, as well as the Kiewa River and Mount Beauty Pondage. There are some steep sections but the views make it worth it!
Taking in Mount Beauty’s Autumn Colours
When you think of Autumn in Victoria, people often think of Bright, which is definitely true. But in Mount Beauty you get some incredible views of colours against the backdrop of the mountains which are easier to appreciate in the Kiewa Valley as it is much wider than the Ovens Valley. The town itself is also a bit quieter and runs at a slower pace, which I find more relaxing.
Skiing at Falls Creek
Of course, the reason many people visit Mount Beauty and surrounds is to visit Falls Creek and the Snow fields. From June to September, Falls Creek boasts some great snow sports against the gorgeous backdrop of the Aussie Alps. I’ve never stayed on the Mountain, but I really like the atmosphere are the end of the day as everyone skis back into the village. We might have to go back and stay – watch this space for a future post.
Tubing the Kiewa River
From the snowfields of winter to the Kiewa River in Summer. There are plenty of swimming holes in the Kiewa, including one poplular spot right next to The Park. One of my favourite memories as a kid (and an adult) was floating down the Kiewa River on a rubber tube. It was so very relaxing.
Kayaking on the lake
Kayaking on the Pondage is also another great way to enjoy the water. Whether you just want to work up an appetite or maybe catch some fish to feed it, the Mount Beauty Pondage is a relaxing place to enjoy some serene time on the water.
Where to Eat in Mount Beauty
After you have been on one of the many walks around Mount Beauty you’ll have likely worked up an appetite, so here some of our favourite places to eat…
The Mount Beauty Bakery
The Mount Beauty Bakery is located next to Foodworks in the main part of town. You’ll find your traditional bakery items like hot pies and sausage rolls as well as sweet treats including vanilla slice and chocolate eclairs. They have an area where you can dine in and enjoy a coffee, or you can order to go and enjoy a pie by one of the beautiful waterways around town.
Formerly home of the Mount Beauty Country Club, bowls club and Bushman’s Bistro, West Peak is now the main bar and restaurant in the heart of Mount Beauty. We haven’t eaten a full meal there since the change of ownership, but we did stop in for some hot chips and a beverage. The chips were delicious, and it was really pleasant sitting outside and enjoying live music.
The other main pub is Settlers Tavern, and is located just across the river from amount Beauty in Tawonga South. Settlers has outlasted many other dining establishments that have come and gone in town. Of particular note is the Chicken Parmigiana nights at Settlers. They put out a ranging menu of parmas. I personally recommend the Stockmans Parma which comes with gravy!
If it’s Fish and Chips or Pizza you prefer, Swiss Chips is located across the road from The Park and is a popular takeaway joint for locals and visitors alike.
Treats Cafe is located in Tawonga South as part of the Bogong Ski Centre. The owner, Liz, sure knows how to make some delicious treats! The sausage roles are particularly delicious but you will find everything from sandwiches to slices and cakes.
Located across the road from the Mount Beauty Bakery, Seasons is a Cafe located in the main part of town. You’ll find a mix of food available here. On quieter days they can close pretty early, so it’s worth not leaving lunch until too late!
Kiwis Ice Creams
Originally a fruit store, Kiwis Ice creams are freshly mixed fruit and ice cream. This story is typically only open in the warmer months and tends to change location. When we last tried these delicious ice creams they were located in the drive through at Settlers.
Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre
There’s a cafe at the Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre which does a pretty delicious baked potato. We enjoyed ordering food there then eating it on one of the park benches by the lake at lunchtime.
Of course there are plenty of other options in town for food including Indian Cuisine, Ana Purna Winery Restaurant, a cafe at the bike shop and Take Out for more takeaway options, but we will have to cover these in another post!
Have you been to Mount Beauty? Let us know what you liked in the comments below.