Weekend Away: Bright review

Read our writer's views on this property below

Larissa Dubecki finds there are dining and activity choices galore in the alpine town of Bright.

THE SETTING

Centenary Peaks Townhouses is in the unofficial capital of north-eastern Victoria, Bright, a gateway to the ski-fields in winter and a magnet for bushwalkers, winery hoppers and adventure seekers. The location makes it a handy central point for exploring towns such as Harrietville, Porepunkah and Wandiligong and, further afield, Myrtleford and Beechworth. Set your own pace at this gem of a town, whether it's taking it easy with a book and the odd riverside ramble, going the full monty with paragliding and downhill skiing at nearby resorts, or setting the dial to somewhere in-between with cycling, mushrooming and fly fishing.

THE SPACE

Centenary Peaks sounded promising - we drove past it several times because the website failed to mention they belong to the Bright Motor Inn. A small yet important piece of information; would it have turned off an accommodation snob such as myself? Maybe.

Turns out it's not so bad. The cluster of modern townhouses on the parkside edge of the complex are the Toorak of the motor inn, lording it above the single-storey flatness of the garden-variety living quarters. Very well maintained, with shiny polished floorboards, the view from the top-floor living area - up a thigh-busting set of stairs - is of parked cars and gorgeous trees lining Centenary Park and the Ovens River.

MOD CONS

Downstairs there are two bedrooms and two bathrooms - one of them is an en suite to the bedroom at the back, which also has a TV tucked away in a cupboard. Upstairs there's open-plan living with a kitchen, dining area and lounge.

COMFORT FACTOR

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There's all-important ducted heating (crank it up to 11 - Bright sure gets cold at night in winter), pillows of different height persuasions, and a gas barbecue on the balcony.

As for lounging, there are comfy leather couches, a flat-screen TV, DVD player and games console.

FOOD

The kitchen is well stocked with all the artillery you need for a cook-up. Tea, coffee and milk are supplied; everything else is strictly BYO.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

Bright is spoilt for choice in the restaurant department. A five-minute walk into town there's Simone's restaurant, a red-brick Victorian where the Simone family channel their Italian heritage through the best regional produce. Next door there's worthy newcomer Tani, a Japanese-inflected modern restaurant and bar from Hamish Nugent, a former culinary accomplice of regional star Michael Ryan, of Beechworth's Provenance. For our money, the best coffee (and breakfast) in town is at Coral Lee, the quirky retro cafe on Barnard Street. Work it all off by grabbing your sneakers and heading down Riverside Avenue to the start of the canyon walk, a picturesque rocky thoroughfare along the banks of the river. Centenary Park is an attractive spot of greenery for a picnic or to let the kids loose on the adventure playground. For activities of a more adult persuasion, cut through the park to the Bright Brewery - check their website for tasting and tours. Tour the region's wineries, maybe stopping for lunch on the gorgeous grassy terrace at Boynton's Feathertop winery.

THE VERDICT

Light, bright and modern Centenary Peaks townhouses make a good starting point for getting into the Bright swing of things - especially for people who prefer to travel by foot.

HOW TO GET THERE

Bright is about 3½ hours drive from Melbourne.

ESSENTIALS

Centenary Peaks Townhouses, 1 Delany Avenue, Bright. From $250 a night. Bookings: 5750 1433; see cpbright.com.au.