We knew little of Dinner Plain before making the snaking drive up from Bright, and what a drive it is too, this would have to be one of the best roads in Australia, with the valleys tumbling away either side and views that go forever. The village of Dinner Plain lies just beyond Hotham, and waiting for in town was Karl Gray, head of the Dinner Plain Riders, and a DP local.
Karl knows he lives in a good patch: the region around Dinner Plain is eye poppingly scenic, and he rolls about 10 metres from his front door into the trails. That’s the beauty of Dinner Plain – you don’t ride to the trails, you’re in them already, they encircle the village.
As we pulled into a trail called Kenny’s, savouring that kind of spectacular afternoon light that bleeds through the snow gums in such an unmistakable way, we learnt more about what’s on the cards for Dinner Plain. There’s already a solid handful of quality trails here, many of which evolved from tracks used by the local cattlemen, but the masterplan for the village is far more ambitious, with over 20km of singletrack in the pipeline. The terrain is classic Alpine, a dreamy mix of grass meadows, gnarled gums and granite, the air so clean it seems to shine.
All the other key ingredients are in place already too, accommodation, restaurants and, importantly, Australia’s highest altitude brewery, the Blizzard Brewing Company, where we headed for a post-ride ale. They say the water they use in their brewing comes from pristine snow melt aquifers; maybe it was just the fact that we’d wrapped up another perfect day on the trails in paradise, but it sure tasted good.
We’re looking forward to following the journey of Dinner Plain over the next couple of years, as we’ve got no doubt this place can cement itself a reputation as a hidden gem of Australian mountain biking. Something tells us we’ll be spending a lot more time here before too long!
For more information of Dinner Plain, or the riding across the entire Victorian High Country, head to ridehighcountry.com.au.