Head for the hills with our ten top reasons to pack your bags and explore Victoria's High Country. Find trails for foodies and adventurers, rivers and lakes for lilos and lures, and wineries and breweries for afternoon tipples. Explore the peaks and valleys on foot, on a mountain bike or from a hot air balloon, and discover at least another ten reasons to come back.
1. Cycling tours
Double your fun on a two-wheeling tour of alpine landscapes and historic villages, taking in top restaurants, wineries, farm gates and farmers' markets. Follow the region's iconic rail trails or pedal your way to the best cheese, craft beer and crisp wines on the Pedal to Produce cycling routes.
No wheels? No worries – plenty of operators in the region can kit you out with bikes, maps and picnic hampers. Hit the trails on a self-guided jaunt or join a small-group tour.
Grape expectations are met with artisan wines, fortifieds, full-bodied reds and Italian varietals in the High Country's wine regions.
Grab your two best wine buddies for some muscateering around Rutherglen, one of Victoria's premier wine regions and the historic home of Muscat wine. Meander between family-owned wineries to sample a variety of rich reds, stopping at All Saints Estate, Chambers Rosewood Winery, Scion Vineyard and Winery, and Stanton and Killeen Wines.
The King Valley's Prosecco Road is the heart of Prosecco wine-making in Victoria. Get a right royal fix of sensational fizz, along with a little bocce, at Pizzini, Sam Miranda, Chrismont, Dal Zotto and Brown Brothers. Chat with generations of friendly winemakers to learn about their groundbreaking Italian varietals.
The unique sub-climate of the Alpine Valley lends itself to wine-making, allowing 33 different grape varieties to flourish in this region. Drop into Billy Button Wines, Feathertop Winery, Ringer Reef Winery and Gapsted Wines, where you can sample local varietals while drinking in stunning valley views.
3. Hiking and running trails
Lace up and fill your lungs with fresh alpine air. Runners, test your stamina on the High Country's 21 colour-coded trails covering more than 200 kilometres across Mount Baw Baw, Mount Buller, Mount Buffalo, Dinner Plain, Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and Lake Mountain.
Usually only run for the last tram? Mount Buffalo National Park has a 90-kilometre network of well-signed hiking trails to explore at your own pace.
To expand your outdoor adventure repertoire, join a tour and explore the region's peaks and valleys with local experts.
4. Mountain biking
Welcome to Victoria's top spot for biking. Hit the Australian Alpine Epic Trail – the first trail in the southern hemisphere deemed officially 'epic' by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
Stick around Mount Buller to get your heart racing on the Copperhead and Stonefly trails. Bust downhill from the summit of Falls Creek to Flowtown, descend from Buller Village to Mimbah along the Delatite River, or get jumping on the Bright Hero Trail.
Pick up trail maps from visitor information centres or let local mountain biking tour operators lead the way.
5. Cool waterways
Discover rivers dotted with campsites and swimming holes and lakes perfect for skis, boats, canoes, lilos and fishing.
Dip your toes or a line in the Murray, Ovens, King and Kiewa rivers, or make a splash in valley lakes, Lake William Hovell, Lake Eildon and Lake Sambell, where water sports reign supreme.
On higher ground, chill out at local favourites Late Catani at Mount Buffalo, and Rocky Valley Lake at Falls Creek – a cool 1600 metres above sea level and home to the annual Falls Creek Dragon Boat Regatta.
Seek out the perfect brew with a view on Victoria's High Country Brewery Trail. Weaving a scenic path to the region's best beers, the trail takes in eight producers, including newer faces Rutherglen Brewery, King River Brewing, Crank Handle Brewery, Billson's Brewery and sustainably minded Mitta Mitta, as well as established favourites Bright Brewery, Bridge Road Brewers and Black Dog Brewery.
Beyond beer, try the artisan gins at Hurdle Creek Still or, the bees knees, honey mead at Beechworth Honey.
Wherever you go, you're never far from a lovingly crafted tipple.
7. Cooking classes
Take your culinary skills to the next level with a cooking class at High Country restaurants and wineries. Do nonna proud at A Tavola at Pizzini Wines or pick up a trick or two at monthly cooking classes at the Pickled Sisters Cafe. As you would expect in these parts, classes are followed with gourmet feasts and top tipples. Buon appetito.
8. Local produce
The High Country is the whey to go for cheese lovers. Shoot the bries with legendary producers Milawa Cheese and Tolpuddle Goat Cheese and Farm Foods.
Branch out with olives, mustard and other munchies at the Brown Brothers Winery Epicurean Centre and treat your sweet teeth at Beechworth Honey.
9. Hot air ballooning
Kick your holiday into high gear with a hot air balloon trip. Watch the sun rise over the High Country's magnificent rolling hills and valleys, and touch down for a gourmet brunch with local Prosecco. It's well worth getting up early for.
Get five-star treatment sleeping under millions more on a glamping weekend. Stay in a luxurious bell tent at Cofield Wines in the heart of the Rutherglen wine region and let Grapevine Glamping take care of everything – wine, gourmet hampers, serenity. No tent set-up, no camp ovens and no need to lie about being the outdoor type.