Run to Bright in Autumn

05 June 2018 / Words: Ken Keeling, Photos: Ken Keeling (KK) and Shelley Owen (SO)

A dreary, drizzly morning greeted us as we headed toward the rendezvous of Canberra Chapter’s Run to Bright from Friday 4 May to Monday 7 May, which did not bode well for the run to Bright. Fortunately the rain eased as we ran south to through the Snowy Mountains. The coffee stop at Cabramurra saw our cars clustered together, as if for warmth, on the Bistro forecourt, in fog and a very cold breeze. One person remarked it was “Just like a Scottish summer’s day - and the reason he long ago migrated to Australia!”

From Cabramurra, we dropped down to Tumut Pond then climbed over the ridges to again drop down into the Tooma Valley. This section provided the most interesting driving of the weekend - the curtain of tiny snowflakes turned into squishy “sago snow” and, as we rounded a bend, the road was covered in snow. This unexpected hazard provided some interesting moments, but fortunately no one came to grief.

With the snow behind us and rain abating, we had an enjoyable run through high country scenery to lunch at Corryong. The threat of further rain led us to drop the afternoon section through the Granya State Park. After Tallangatta, we travelled down the eastern side of the Kiewa Valley before cutting across to drive the very enjoyable Happy Valley Road to join the Great Alpine Road for the final run into Bright. Deletion of the Granya sector allowed us to arrive with time to spare to freshen up before heading to “the Brewery” - for food.

Saturday morning saw some enjoying the street markets while others joined me going via the interesting back road to Stanley and on to Beechworth for breakfast. Mid-morning we split up with half heading for Yackandandah and the rest heading back to Bright via some nice road to the Ovens Valley where glorious autumn colours demanded photos.

Everyone arrive back in Bright in time for the Autumn Festival Parade after which we individually explored open gardens and art galleries. The Star Hotel, within easy walking distance, proved to be a good venue for our evening gathering.

Sunday was a free morning before a run to lunch at the Red Stag Deer Farm. The menu of “fish, flesh and fowl” proved popular and of course included venison pie. After lunch, the group broke up for the return to Bright, some studying the fauna at the Red Stag with others exploring new roads and wineries on the way back to Bright.

Sunday dawned cool and misty for our home run and we departed Bright for a chilly drive over the Tawonga Gap to the Kiewa Valley and northwards to join the Hume Highway before coffee at Holbrook. Diverting to Rosewood, we took the interesting Green Hills forest roads to Wondalga and then on to Tumut for lunch. The afternoon’s route was again via rural roads less-travelled from Tumut to Brungle and on to cross the Murrumbidgee and re-join the Hume at Coolac before stopping at Jugiong.

At Jugiong we made our farewells and dispersed to independently make our way home. Notwithstanding two over 9-hr days (each 500+ kms) to and from Bright, this was another successful Canberra MX5-ers weekend away.

For the long version of this report: Run to Bright