Bright: Ovens River and Morses Creek trails circuit 13.5km

Between hiking two national parks in the Victorian Alps, I threw in a local Bright walking “expedition”. Today is the middle day of my “three hikes in three days” visit to Bright. Yesterday’s I was hiking in Mount Buffalo National Park. Tomorrow I will be climbing Mount Feathertop in the Alpine National Park. Today, just strolling and exploring Bright. Well, is walking 13+km a stroll?

The map:

My booklet from Bright’s Visitor Centre named and described a number of local walks. From their maps, I roughly combined two walks to create a single walk to achieve some distance.

First off, Cherry Walk. You can reach the walk at the northern end of Hawthorn Lane, next to Ovens River. The reason I connected there was my nearby accommodation. However, as both walks are circuits, you can connect to them as appropriate.

The sign below confirms that here is indeed the Cherry Walk:

Start of today’s walk – swing bridge off Hawthorn Lane

Swing bridges were a common feature throughout today, with the very first one now just in front of me. And today’s first action was to cross Ovens River on that bridge to get to the other side. A maintenance bridge out of reach for the public was visible from the swing bridge:

Ovens River views from swing bridge number one

I started walking east on the northern side of Ovens River. Clockwise direction of the Cherry Walk. You can obviously walk anti-clockwise as well. Another sign confirms I’m not lost. Plenty of signage again today.

Moving east off Ovens River

You get views like the below very close from “downtown” Bright. With hardly anybody else around apart from a few morning strollers.

Views of Ovens River

Today’s first part, Cherry Walk, was much preferred to the second part, Wandi Walk. The Cherry Walk cuts through a more sparsely populated area, with fewer buildings… all while offering some stunning views…

More views of Ovens River

The vegetation shifted from this…

Cherry Walk – narrow path through high vegetation

…to this…

Cherry Walk – open vegetation

…to, yes, another swing bridge. Which marked the eastern end of the Cherry Walk. The booklet suggested crossing the bridge to return on the other side.

Today’s second swing bridge (several more to come)

However, the fire trail on the southern side continues further east. I continued on it for a little bit longer…

Fire trail off Cherry Walk

…before turning around. Houses started to appear. The fire trail looked like just another gravel road providing vehicular access for those residents. Not so interesting anymore.

Returning to and reconnecting with the Cherry Walk, Ovens River looked picturesque from its southern side as well.

Ovens River from the Cherry Walk’s southern side

Except for here. The ground had given away and sands and rocks had fallen into the river. Better stay away from that edge.

Loose ground – Better keep your distance here

Fast forward to where Ovens River meets Morses Creek in the centre of Bright. Busy here. Surrounding the junction is a large green with plenty of amusements for kids and adults alike. A bench in the shade overlooking the river provided me with a perfect spot for a morning cuppa.

I received some unexpected entertainment…

The guy with the walking stick below slowly walked out to the end of the trampoline. He stood there, moved around, pondering and almost looked like a “jumper”. Although unlikely that the pretty shallow waters would damage him too much. The trampoline is mainly for kids.

The bloke on the left arrived and I half expected hearing him shout “Don’t jump, don’t jump”.

No, I don’t know what’s going on here either

He didn’t jump and both eventually returned to shore.

I packed up and slowly made my way south through the park and south along Morses Creek.

A final picture from this “kids haven”. Note the brown construction to the left. Its top fills with water and eventually drops it on unsuspecting (and suspecting) persons (read kids) underneath. It’s appropriately called Bright Splash Park. A popular holiday attraction.

Bright Splash Park

The next stretch south through Lions Park required no photos. Caravan grounds on both sides. For quite some time. Positively dull.

Eventually, I found some peace and tranquility along Morses Creek. Although nowhere near as beautiful as along Ovens River.

Wandi Trail south along Morses Creek

There were occasionally some lovely views off Wandi Trail like below.

Off Wandi Walk

The path had been flat so far. Suddenly, there were small hills. The explanation arrived when I noticed the sign below, pointing towards the direction from where I arrived.

That explains it. If there was another sign along where I walked, I didn’t see it.

Suddenly I’m on a bike trail

The trail then ended abruptly at Dougherty’s Bridge…

Trail end (of sorts)

To continue, you had to walk onto and across the bridge and then underneath it on the other side where a proper path runs in both directions. A popular bike trail judging by the number of cyclists I suddenly encountered.

Coronation Avenue was as far south I walked today. Time to head back…

Under the bridge – Where I turned around.

I think I counted three more swing bridges along Wandi Walk. A total of five swing bridges today. A new single-day record?

The first sign on the right below says Hawthorn Lane. You may recall that I started today’s walking from there. Yes, Hawthorn Lane eventually crosses Morses Creek and connects with Wandi Walk. Hence, I could have taken a shortcut back. Through suburbia? Naahh.

Moving right along…

Another kilometer, another swing bridge

Some dog walkers appeared, some bike riders, a few conservationists working in the creek, but not many other people. Away from Bright central, tranquility rules…

North along Morses Creek towards Bright central

…until I returned to that river and creek junction in the centre of Bright.

Continuing west for a short while longer, I found myself a shady picnic table where I enjoyed my lunch. Away from some, but not all people. After lunch, I found the next western bridge (not a swing bridge) and crossed over to the northern side of Ovens River. Slowly meandering east towards completing this hike.

You may recall seeing a bridge behind that “Jumper” earlier. The views looking west from that bridge below.

On the bridge across Ovens River in the centre of Bright

The trail along Ovens River disappeared towards the end. Requiring instead a short walk along a quiet country road. Pretty enough I suppose. Soon the very first swing bridge came into view and that was it for today.

Almost there…

Conclusion: This 13+km circuit explored some more of Bright, utilising and connecting existing trails. The Cherry Walk was nicer than Wandi Walk so if you’re pressed for time, just walk that one. There is also a Canyon Walk / Trail west along Ovens River but I didn’t explore that way.

Still, I had a lovely and relaxed time today. No pressure, easy walking, nice scenery, with the main drawback being those caravan parks you have to walk through.

But tomorrow, I need to hike something more substantial again…

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