Mansfield, the former stomping grounds of infamous bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang, has morphed into a vibrant country destination, regardless of what the weather is like.
Snow bunnies come to hit the nearby slopes of Mount Buller and Mount Stirling while cyclists race to the trails for novice and experienced riders.
There’s plenty to do for adventure-seekers and Mansfield is the jumping-off point for Lake Eildon, camping, fly fishing, houseboating, guided walks and horse treks. Foodies will be impressed with great tastes and some excellent coffee.
Surrounded by the prettiest scenery, Mansfield has become a popular weekend retreat and midweek getaway for romantics, thrillseekers, families, foodies and those who just want to chill.
Take to the skies with Mansfield’s Alpine Helicopter Charter for a bird’s-eye view of Victoria’s scenic High Country and Alpine region. The Scenic Rooftop Tour flies over Victoria’s highest mountain peaks surrounded by the Alpine National Park, which is part of the Great Dividing Range. Spot Mt Buller Ski Resort and Mount Stirling before landing (weather permitting) at Craig’s Hut, an icon of the High Country for refreshments.
Hot-air balloon rides
It’s an early start with Goldrush Ballooning but it’s well worth it. Imagine gliding over the picturesque scenery between the Delatite and Broken rivers with spectacular views down to the northern reaches of Lake Eildon, Mount Timbertop, Mount Buller and the Great Dividing Range. Then enjoy a hearty breakfast back at the Mansfield Coffee Merchant.
Walks on the wild side
Mansfield Bushwalks runs a variety of pack-free treks that showcase the amazing High Country scenery. The walks take mostly two to three hours and include transfers to start and finish points. The family-orientated River and Park Walk is an easy meander along the Delatite River finishing at Mirrimbah Park. Like a challenge? Try the Mount Timbertop Climb, a steady and winding hike to the summit of Mount Timbertop. The reward: awesome views.
Jump on your bike and hit the Great Victorian Rail Trail that extends a whopping 134 kilometres from Mansfield east to Tallarook. Local cycle gurus All Terrain Cycles (ATC) can arrange bike hire to suit any rider as well as bike shuttles. ATC are also the local go-to experts for the incredible Mount Buller mountain bike trails, offering women’s cycling weekends, skills clinics and shuttles.
FOOD AND WINE SCENE
The iconic Produce Store is where Dean and Gillian Belle have been showcasing the region’s best produce and wines since 2007. Known by locals as “the Proddy”, try the signature Dutch-chocolate and walnut brownie. Their wine room has more than 70 local wines and check out the art for sale by talented local artists. In another life, the store was a furniture auction room and a greengrocer and dates back to 1895.
Father and son team Jeff and Sam Whyte brew craft beer at Social Bandit Brewing Co. Popular drops include the hoppy Triggered pale ale, the grassy wet-hopped Delinquent IPA and Heff, an impressive version of a German hefeweizen. Good pizza is served as well.
Fabulous fruit, vegies, artisan bread, cheese, eggs, cakes and sweet treats are showcased at the Mansfield Farmer’s Market held on the fourth Sunday of the month.
The Fields is a fun, funky bar and eatery where Tristan Keene and Bonnie Rogers showcase Asian-fusion cuisine, with dishes such as Korean fried chicken and pork belly green curry.
Ten kilometres from Mansfield, Delatite Winery has a shiny new cellar door and dining room with knockout views. It’s known for cool climate wines and the restaurant serves tasty platters, pizzas and local produce.
It’s an adventure getting to Swiftcrest Distillery, where Carrie and Hank Thierry host fun vodka and gin tours every Saturday at their off-grid distillery. On a farm with spectacular views in the foothills of Mount Buller, the distillery produces Vanilla Bean Vodka, Alpine Spring Gin, Sipping Vodka and Dutch Apple Pie Moonshine, which you can sample in the shed, under a chandelier.
FOR THE KIDS
If you are heading to Mount Buller, stop in at Gnome House on the way. You’ll see a sign to Gnomes Crossing inside the resort at the 35-kilometre mark. There is a park fee in winter.
At A View to a Hill farmstay, a 15-minute drive from Mansfield, BullerRoo is a luxe two-bedroom, elevated chalet-style apartment with bewitching views of
Mount Buller and Broken River. The hilltop retreat opened last year and sleeps five. There’s also the cosy, three-bedroom Stone Creek Cottage nearby. The accommodation is set on a nine-hectare property that is also home to a miniature pygmy goat stud farm where you can meet cute favourites Misty, Tassie and Mr Tipples, plus some friendly alpacas.
Take me there
Fly: You can fly from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane direct to Albury Airport.
Drive: Mansfield is a two-hour drive from Albury and 2.5 hours from Melbourne.
Stay: Two-night stays at BullerRoo cost $1410 (five guests) and at Stone Creek Cottage cost $1020 (six guests).
Explore more: victoriashighcountry.com.au