Great Alpine Road is a country tourist road in Victoria, Australia, with a length of 303 km (188 mi). This asphalted road, officially known as B500, was opened in 1998 and runs from Wangaratta, in the northeast of Victoria to Bairnsdale, a small city in East Gippsland, Victoria. The road goes through the Victorian Alps. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world.
The Great Alpine Road runs for 303 km winding through mountains, valleys and forests, and past rivers, vineyards and farms. Starting at Wangaratta the road passes through farmland and vineyards and valleys until Bright. Then the road passes through countryside until Harrietville. After that the road ascends uphill to Mount Hotham. This steep part of the road is very dangerous and care should be taken when driving, it is also very twisty and has numerous hairpin bends.
Once this road leaves Mount Hotham it is a 15 minute drive to Dinner Plain. From there the road is steep, twisty and has a few extreme curves, once again care should be taken when driving. Once you have passed the twisty road. You will end up in Omeo in 5–15 minutes. Once you leave Omeo the road is moderately steep and is quite twisty between Omeo and Bruthern. From there the road is straight most of the way until Bairnsdale, where the road finishes.
The drive demands careful attention from the driver. It is wide enough for oncoming vehicles to pass, but in some places only just. Many steep drops begin almost at the edge of the road surface, and there aren't always crash barriers. It’s also known as the GAR and is the highest bitumen road in Australia. Even without ice or snow it is a drive to be treated with respect. The road is often closed by snow from late autumn through to early spring, and chains should always be carried at this time of year. During the official snow season, chains are compulsory for all vehicles, and they may be hired on a one-way basis from either side of the high country.
Take this road slow. Extreme weather conditions can sometimes still result in the road being closed between Harrietville and Omeo. The Great Alpine Road is Australia's highest year-round accessible sealed road. The section over Mount Hotham rises to an altitude of 1.840m (6,040ft) above the sea level, and is blanketed with snow during winter months and must be cleared on a daily basis.
This is an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don’t forget your camera! The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades.