People come to East Gippsland for many reasons, including the sunny stretches of white sandy beaches, incredibly beautiful and unique lakes and river systems and untouched wildlife in the national parks. But there are some amazing local secret spots that we love to tell our guests about, and we’ve compiled 9 of our favourites for you to try on your next holiday with Gippsland Lakes Escapes!
1. Bring your boat and cruise some gorgeous European-style canals
Paynesville is best known for being the heart of the Gippsland Lakes, with stunning stretches of water and beautiful mountains in the distance everywhere you look. But there’s also another hidden secret that not everyone knows about – the amazing canals lined with unique waterfront villas! Reminiscent of the waterways in Amsterdam and Vienna, the Paynesville canals are a favourite spot with locals and tourists alike to canoe, kayak, row or gently boat through, enjoying the sunshine and the
Best of all, you can actually stay on the canals! At Gippsland Lakes Escapes, we have a large range of beautiful canal waterfront homes to choose from – from cozy retreats to 3-story villas, with private jetties and stunning views. Visit www.gippslandlakesescapes.com.au/canals to view our canal properties!
2. Take the ferry over to Raymond Island, a koala sanctuary home to over 300 sleepy marsupials.
Another popular drawcard to Paynesville is the unique Raymond Island, located across from the main promenade by a short picturesque ferry trip. Once you set foot on the island, you can wander the koala trail and snap photos of all the sleepy koalas sitting in the trees above you – sometimes our guests have spotted up to 40 in one visit! After the koala trail, visit the small sandy pebble beaches that surround the island via the foreshore board walks, or stroll through the untouched bush on quiet walkways. Like the canals, you can stay on Raymond Island! Gippsland Lakes Escapes has a number of gorgeous island retreats that our guests absolutely love – walking up to see a koala in the tree in the backyard is definitely a highlight!
3. Visit the Den of Nargun
This local indigenous sacred spot is hidden at the bottom of the mountain range, where a easy round-trip walk takes you past breathtaking lookouts, then curves down to a rushing river and eventually leads you to a dried up river bed, which you follow until you reach the remarkable Den of Nargun. With huge old moss-covered trees and the stillness at the bottom of the gorge, it feels like you have stepped into Narnia or another magical land – a must see! Ideal for families, couples or groups of friends.
4. Drive along the world’s longest silt jetties
These stunning natural silt jetties are the longest in the world – and a must see when in the area! You can drive down the entire length, with some parts being a narrow road with water completely surrounding each side. A favourite sheltered spot for fishermen, the areas around the silt jetties are also home to thousands of birdlife, which you can often see in huge groups on the lake waters around the jetties. Drive along in the evening, and you might see dozens of fish jumping out of the Mitchell River to catch the bugs and flies above the water – a remarkable sight!
Best of all, you can stay right near the start of the jetties! ‘Bluff View River House’ has stunning views over the cliffs of the ‘Bluff’ and over the Mitchell River. http://www.gippslandlakesescapes.com.au/portfolio/bluff-view-river-house/
5. Explore the farmers markets
A few Sundays a month, Paynesville is home to the farmer’s and maker’s markets along the foreshore and in the oval. With a wide range of delights, the creative market sellers have things on offer like plants and succulents, dainty handmade jewellery and gorgeous wood designs, clothing, artwork, local organic food, naturopath-made teas, soaps and skincare and farmer’s produce. Pick up a delicious coffee from the local coffee van, enjoy the live music and stroll through the stalls – you might just find the perfect piece of Paynesville to take home with you!
6. Ride your bike along the rail trails
The Gippsland Lakes Region is quickly becoming known as a cyclist destination, being home to the annual 2018 Cycling Australia Masters Road National Championships this year! There are several stunning bike rides in the area, the most popular being the 100 km East Gippsland Rail Trail, which takes you past gentle hills, forest, farmland, rivers, lakes, vineyards and quirky country towns.
Visit https://www.greateastrailtrailride.com.au to join a three day cycle event in April 2019!
7. Visit the Bucan Caves
Near the township of Buchan, lies a honeycomb of caves full of spectacular limestone formations. The caves were formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock. The formations are created by rain water seeping through cracks and dissolving some of the limestone. As each droplet comes through the roof it deposits calcite which crystallises in a small ring. In time, stalactites are formed on the roof of the cave, and stalagmites build up from droplets which fall to the floor.
Discover the beautiful calcite-rimmed pools of Royal Cave and the elaborate stalactites and stalagmites of Fairy Cave on a guided tour! Tours are conducted daily, and more information can be found on https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/buchan-at-cave-reserve.
An ideal day trip while staying at Gippsland Lakes Escapes for the whole family to enjoy!
8. Take a camel ride on the 90 Mile Beach
Riding a camel along a beautiful beach sounds like something you might do on an exotic island or destination – but you can do it right here in the Gippsland Lakes! This unforgettable 40 minute camel experience along the stunning 90 mile beach in Lakes Entrance is extremely popular, so visit https://australiancamels.com/lakes-entrance-camel-rides-2/ to book your trip today! Perfect for entire families, and open for all ages.
9. Taste + see some remarkable dining experiences
East Gippsland is home to some incredible eateries, restaurants and cafes! Read below about three of our favourite recent ‘up and coming’ places to get amazing food these holidays!
Sardines Eatery + Bar, Paynesville foreshore
“Mark Briggs is winning sardine haters over, one pan of Lakes Entrance beauties at a time.Briggs (ex-Vue de Monde) has made a Gippsland Lakes-change from the city and is championing a boatload of lesser-loved fish. On the ever-changing menu, fisherman’s stew is generously strewn with the good stuff — prawns and bugs and clams and snapper on our visit — in a saffron-bright sauce of sunshine that’s mop-every-drop good, while roasted fish of the day might come with fat diamond clams, smoky bacon, garden peas and pillows of buttery mash. And those sardines? Fresh off the boat and into the pan, a half dozen whole fish are perfectly cooked, the flesh without a hint of the fishiness effortlessly falling from the spine. A sprinkle of salt flakes and a squeeze of lemon lets the flappingly-fresh fish shine, a sauce of blitzed coriander hiding pops of finger lime its vibrant accompaniment.”
The Long Paddock, Lindenow
An excerpt from ‘GoodFood’ Magazine:
“Their food is not just ordinary cafe food. It is exquisite food. The food you wished was served in your local bistro every day. A meal might start with tender new season’s asparagus covered with a coddled egg, a scraping of parmesan cheese and herbed breadcrumbs. It might move on to a golden pie with buttery rough-puff pastry encasing nuggets of house-corned beef in a mustard veloute with carrots and pickled onions served with a side of spiced plum preserve. Or perhaps a dish of the lightest gnocchi laced with slivers of pickled truffle and pangrattato. Since it opened 16 months ago, the Long Paddock has been packed with farmers and foodies and has become one of those fabled hidden country gems.”
Northern Ground, Bairnsdale Main Street
“At Northern Ground, Turner has teamed up with the region’s best farmers, food producers and winemakers to present dishes such as spring asparagus, grown on a farm 3½ kilometres from his kitchen, char-grilled, and served with umami-rich chopped confit shallot, goat’s feta and gently spiced pesto made of carrot tops.
Even better is the signature dish of grilled ox heart Lyonnaise salad. Imagine fine slices of lean but flavoursome steak, grilled to just done, perfectly seasoned, layered with bitter leaves, lardons of heavily smoked bacon, sprigs of dill and slivers of crisp croutons topped with a runny egg. Served with a glass of Lightfoot & Sons shiraz grown across the Mitchell River, it is worth the 3½-hour drive from Melbourne.” (excerpt from ‘GoodFood’ magazine)
Do you have some favourite spots not mentioned above? Let us know!