Bright in the autumn presents a magnificent display of colour that attracts crowds of visitors from far and wide. This of course means that accommodation, particularly after Covid 19 lockdowns, is at a premium. It was purely coincidence that I visited the area at this time of the year and fortunate that I decided to set up camp at Smoko Campground.
Located about 700m off the Great Alpine Road, 16 km south of Bright and 11 km north of Harrietville, this free campground is easy to miss. Access is down Miley Lane, a reasonable gravel track leading to the east off the main road. At first sight the campground looks fairly compact, but further exploration reveals many camping areas defined by trees that provide shade and privacy. These areas vary in size offering opportunities for both individuals and groups wishing to circle round the campfire and they all cater for tents, camper trailers, campervans and caravans. Pets are also welcome.
The facilities include: only one drop toilet catering for the whole campground; many fire pits with post and chain; numerous, less formal, fire places; and plenty of firewood (for which a chainsaw is handy).
When researching the campground, the information suggested that there was no mobile phone reception, so it was a mixed blessing to find very good G4 Optus phone reception on arrival (presumably Telstra subscribers would be similarly catered for).
One of the attractions in the immediate vicinity is the fishing in what I discovered was some excellent trout habitat in the adjacent Ovens River, a very short walk from the campground. With Bright as a starting point, it is also a good spot for accessing the rail trails for cycling or walking. For me the attraction was reasonable proximity to Mount Buffalo National Park and its wide variety of walking trails. Arriving on a Thursday at lunchtime I had the pick of the sites, based on sun exposure for the solar panels, however the afternoon brought a steady stream of new arrivals, many of whom stayed for one night only. After Thursday, the weather was exceptional during the day, but very cold at night due to the clear skies, which, on the upside, provided me with the opportunity to practice a bit of milky way photography.
On the Saturday evening, rather than cooking, the hotel at Harrietville provided a more than adequate counter meal.
In summary, this is a conveniently locate campground, with plenty of sites to select from, although I can imagine it would get quite busy in the summer. The single drop toilet does tend to get over-used, so a portable toilet would make life a bit more comfortable, particularly for those sites further away from the toilet.
As usual, there are more campground photographs in this web site gallery and I welcome any comments you may about your own experiences below, thank you for reading.