Land of plenty! Your cheat sheet to Victoria’s Gippsland region
Diversity. That word best describes this incredibly vast area.
Gippsland occupies a massive patch of southeast Victoria, which means you can expect more variety than a night at the circus.
Glorious beaches, shimmering lakes, and much-loved national parks contrast with snow-capped mountains; old gold towns sit side by side with thriving regional centres. And that’s just the beginning…
Where to start? Right here, of course! This handy cheat sheet will help you navigate Gippsland’s huge boundaries with ease.
We'll begin with a simple question – how do you pronounce the region’s name?
It’s ‘gip’ rather than ‘gyp’ for the Gipps part of Gippsland, despite what your GPS voiceover or Kiwi mate might tell you. The region was named after a NSW Governor, George Gipps. Hmmm…wonder what Victorians think of that?
Let’s move on. Considering there’s so much coastline in these parts, there must be some decent beaches?
Right you are. One of Victoria’s most pristine patches of golden sand is Ninety Mile Beach, which lives up to its name and has various access points. It’s ideal for swimming, fishing, and spotting marine animals on scenic walks. Encompassed within this huge stretch are nice, smaller beaches that include Lakes Entrance Main Beach and nearby Lake Tyers Beach.
Inverloch evokes an instantly relaxing vibe, and its protected stretch that is Anderson Inlet enhances this feeling. It suits paddleboarding and windsurfing, and is great for families. The nearby surf beach attracts those with board in hand.
Mallacoota has a series of beaches that demand attention. Betka Beach appeals to surfers, as well as families, and has several funky rock formations, while Quarry Beach has its own spectacular colourful rocks. Tip Beach is another popular stretch for surfers, and its sand dunes will delight kids.
Venus Bay is renowned for its waves, but surfers and swimmers are advised to take extra care here. Elsewhere, Port Welshpool is another scenic spot.
And Wilsons Promontory National Park, which we’ll get to soon, has glorious beaches aplenty. These include Waratah Bay, Norman Bay, and well-named Squeaky Beach (take a walk along here to discover why it’s so named).
Anywhere else I can dip my toes?
Absolutely. The region boasts Australia’s largest network of inland waterways – 600sq km of liquid – conveniently called Gippsland Lakes.
This means water leisure abounds: boating, swimming, canoeing, waterskiing, paddleboarding, fishing, and more. Or simply spot marine life and abundant bird species.
Towns and villages are clustered around these waterways. Sale is near several lakes, including massive Lake Wellington, but aptly named Lakes Entrance is the key destination. It’s positioned on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach where Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean. Bliss!
Are there any national parks worth exploring?
Considering Gippsland gobbles up so much terrain, it shouldn’t surprise that the region’s national parks are full of variety.
At Wilsons Promontory National Park, an hour’s drive from Inverloch, breathtaking landscapes abound. Sparkling, secluded beaches and dramatic coastline, rivers, rainforest, and rock formations can be viewed on ample walking tracks, along with wildflowers and wildlife like wombats and kangaroos.
Tarra-Bulga National Park is enchanting. A 40min drive south of Traralgon, the park is a sea of green as fabulous fern gullies and ancient myrtle beeches dominate, coupled with towering mountain ash trees. Soak up sensational views on the Corrigan Suspension Bridge, and spot abundant wildlife and bird species.
Equally deserving of visitor footprints is Croajingolong National Park at the region’s eastern end, which mixes extensive coastline with sprawling forest and rainforest. Enjoy prime views from Genoa Peak, spot a rich selection of bird life, or dabble in various water sports.
This all sounds great for photographers, but is there anything else that shines in front of the lens?
Options abound, but we’ve narrowed it to a few key highlights.
Start by following the Bunurong Coastal Drive, a 14km stretch that leads from Cape Paterson to Inverloch and explodes with dramatic sandstone cliffs, sandy coves, sparkling views of Bass Strait, and funky rock creations led by the Eagles Nest sea stack.
At Buchan Caves, north of Lakes Entrance, daily guided tours allow you to admire these crazy creations that teem with stunning limestone formations.
Several waterfalls flow freely in these parts, led by Agnes Falls, an hour east of Inverloch, and Toorongo Falls, a similar distance north of Warragul or Moe. Morwell River Falls, near Mirboo, also make a fine photo subject.
The Morwell Centenary Rose Garden in Morwell is filled with colour, boasting 3000-plus roses in sprawling surrounds.
Just east of here is the vibrant regional city of Traralgon, which has attractive gardens and a cluster of beautiful heritage buildings. The old post office is top pick for photographers.
Further north, the historical Noojee Trestle Bridge makes for sensational snaps.
Does it snow in Gippsland?
Yep. In winter, Baw Baw National Park at the northern tip of the region is cloaked in snow. While it doesn’t earn the attention afforded to other Victorian ski fields, the park suits skiing and snowboarding and even has tobogganing and sled dog tours.
And outside winter, the park is perfect for exploration with canoeing, rock climbing, and fishing among popular activities. A series of walking tracks reveal breathtaking views, with colourful wildflowers to spot in early summer.
Tell me something I might not know?
Gippsland has a rich mining heritage, and retracing this past can be thoroughly fascinating.
Start at Walhalla. Once a bustling gold-mining town, today it has just a handful of residents and the strongest of allures. Its evocative past is revealed through mine tours and along the Walhalla Tramline Walk, or enjoy a ride along the scenic Walhalla Goldfields Railway.
The small town of Omeo was once a hive of activity too, following the discovery of gold. This fascinating past is best absorbed at the Oriental Claims Historic Area or the local museum.
Alternatively, black gold is the focus of an underground tour at the underrated State Coal Mine Heritage Area in Wonthaggi.
Another great find is Coal Creek Community Park and Museum at Korumburra. Here, a recreated coal-mining village will transport you back a century ago and beyond. Similarly, Old Gippstown in Moe teems with striking heritage buildings from yesteryear.
Or soak up the region’s rich indigenous history along the Bataluk Cultural Trail, which is dotted with sites of interest. Learn more at the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place museum at Bairnsdale.
Anything else interesting?
Just off the coast is a little gem called Raymond Island. Better yet, it’s a koala hotspot with a dedicated trail for gazing at these cute creatures. You can reach the island with ease via a regular ferry service that departs from Paynesville.
What can I do if it’s raining?
In a nutshell, embrace Gippsland’s cultural and artistic side.
While the picturesque Port of Sale precinct is better suited to a sunny day with its boardwalks and picnic settings, it does house the Gippsland Art Gallery indoors. A major redevelopment completed in late January has transformed this space into a must-visit attraction.
Latrobe Regional Gallery at Morwell is another significant art attraction where the walls are filled with colour, or visit the Maffra Exhibition Space to admire works from talented locals.
"While the picturesque Port of Sale precinct is better suited to a sunny day...it does house the Gippsland Art Gallery indoors."
The Stratford Courthouse complex at Stratford has plenty of entertaining shows, while the Orbost Exhibition Centre houses the National Collection of Wood Design.
Petrol-heads will love what’s on display at the Gippsland Vehicle Collection at Maffra or the Trafalgar Holden Museum in Trafalgar.
The Paynesville Maritime Museum extensively explores the region’s rich association with the sea, and more interesting heritage is on show at the Sale Historical Museum.
I want to relax with a glass of wine in hand? What have you got?
This turf-munching region boasts plenty of fertile land, and so wineries are dotted throughout. Find cellar doors within easy reach of Inverloch to the west and Lakes Entrance to the east, and everywhere in between. Pinot noir and chardonnay lead the way.
Among top picks are Lightfoot and Sons Wines in Bairnsdale (oh those views), Tambo Wine near Metung (complete with its friendly cat), Dirty Three Wines at Inverloch, and Waratah Hills Vineyard near the entrance to Wilsons Prom.
Pair winning wines with a huge offering of delectable local produce from Graze and Harvest in Lindenow, near Bairnsdale. It won’t disappoint.
What about a brewery?
If you fancy a glass of liquid gold, you’re in luck. Check out one of the following:
Grand Ridge Brewery, Mirboo North: Regional stalwarts with a solid range occupying space in an old butter factory. Addition of a restaurant enhances the appeal.
Loch Brewery & Distillery, Loch: Housed in a delightful historical building, boasting English-style ales and various spirits.
Howler Brewing Company, Lang Lang: Tasty small-batch brews are complemented by a delicious food menu in an inviting set-up.
Where can I stay?
With BIG4 of course! We have a few enticing parks dotted throughout the Gippsland region. Check them out below.
Isn’t it time you enjoyed a great Australian break? Book your BIG4 holiday now.