Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Gippsland Lakes - Victoria Australia

Ninety Mile Beach
Gippland Lakes

Whether you are looking for a family getaway, a romantic weekend, or out for some adventure, the Gippsland Lakes is a vast area that offers something for everyone.

From relaxed cruises on Lake Tyers to cycling along the East Gippland Rail trail or hanging out at popular Lakes Entrance. The area is Australia’s largest network of lakes, marshes and lagoons, separated from the ocean by the coastal dunes of Ninety Mile Beach.

Top 5 things to do and see

90 Mile Beach
The coastal dunes of Ninety Mile Beach extend from Lake Tyers down to Seaspray with the lakes system on one side and the ocean on the other. Both bird and marine life are in abundance. There is surfing, fishing, boating and walking right along here, just choose the spot you wish to explore and whether you want rolling surf or flat water.

Lakes Entrance Footbridge
Lakes Entrance
Lakes Entrance itself is a holiday town, stretched out along the Cunningham Inlet, there are plenty of facilities for families, including mini-golf, paddle-boats (www.lakesentrancepaddleboats.com.au) and of course the beaches. Walk over the pedestrian bridge to the patrolled beach, or stop and have a fish as you go.

Drive, walk or cycle up the hill for a birdseye view of the entrance to the lakes system itself, quite spectacular, or watch the fishing boats return with their catch.

Waterfront Dining Paynesville
King Lake
King Lake is home to the Mitchell River Silt Jetties which jut out from silt washed down the river in times of flood. You can drive out on these, fish, swim or just look about. For a great view of the area head to the lookout at Eagle Point Bluff.

On the northern side is the lovely village of Metung, an artistic village which is also great for boating and walking along the foreshore boardwalk. There are a large number of waterfront eateries here, and this is a quieter location than the busy Lakes Entrance. For a bit of local flavour, there is a farmers market every second Saturday.

East Gippsland Rail Trail
The Rail Trail follows the former railway route from Bairnsdale to Orbost. If you are keen to cycle the entire length, it is 98km. The trail passes through farmland and forests and close to many interesting places including the Stony Creek trestle bridge. Of course you don’t have the cycle the whole distance, you can start or stop at any point, and you can also walk or ride a horse!

Historic Trestle Bridge on Rail Trail
No matter what type of vehicle, or bike, you have, there are a huge number of interesting drives in the area, taking in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park as well as the Snowy River National Park. Head up the Great Alpine Road to Omeo, check out the Buchan Caves, even go white water rafting on the Snowy River.

Paynesville makes a great day trip (if you’re not already staying there), with some great waterfront dining, an historic hotel and interesting churches. You can catch a vehicle ferry over to Raymond Island to check out the koala population too.

Holiday options
A bit of something for everyone, great fishing, beaches and outdoor activities. Plenty to keep the family happy or get away from it all for a romantic weekend.

When to go?
Summer is obviously a great time for the beaches, but Spring, Winter and Autumn are great times to explore the Rail Trail and fishing is good at any time of the year.

How to get there?
Just under 300km from Melbourne on the Princes Highway will take you to Bairnsdale, the commercial centre of the Lakes.

How long to go for?
A romantic weekend would be the minimum, but a holiday of 2 to 3 weeks would not be unrealistic in this area as there is plenty to see and do.

Tourist Information
Visitor information centres in Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance or www.discovereastgippsland.com.au or www.inspiredbygippsland.com.au


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