TRAVEL: EAST GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA
Save for a day trip to pick up our little fur baby from Yarram just over a year ago, I had never otherwise ventured out so far into Gippsland territory. With anywhere between a 1.5 and 4 hours drive separating Melbourne from the various towns or regions within (and that’s not including Friday night peak hour traffic on the Monash), you could say that Gippsland is a world away. But also quite literally. Nowhere in Melbourne will you get the expansive views and beautiful lush greenery that will take your breath away. Even just sitting in the car driving from A to B and soaking in the sights was a sheer delight. Nowhere in Melbourne is the air quite so crisp and fresh, and you’ll leave with both mind and body feeling incredibly refreshed and rejuvenated.
Such were our experiences during our recent weekend getaway to East Gippsland, courtesy of East Gippsland Marketing Inc. We experienced, explored and enjoyed some of the best things to eat (of course!), see and do. Two days is a short and sweet visit that only scratches the surface of what East Gippsland has to offer but that just means we will have to return again some time and I absolutely cannot wait!
Drive from Glen Waverley to Bairnsdale (3.5 hour drive from 5pm)
Breakfast at The Wooden Squirrel, Bairnsdale
Drive to Iguana Creek (35-40 minute drive from Bairnsdale)
Den of Nargun // Bluff Lookout hike (1.5 hours)
Visit Lightfoot & Sons Winery, Calulu (<10 minute drive from Lindenow)
Down time in Bairnsdale
Explore Raymond Island (15-20 minute drive from Bairnsdale)
Dinner at Sardine Eatery & Bar, Paynesville
Explore Macleod Morass Wildlife Reserve, Bairnsdale
Breakfast at New Leaf Cafe, Bairnsdale
Feral, Forage and Feast festival, Bruthen Inn Hotel
Coffee at Badger & Hare cafe, Stratford (1 hour drive from Bruthen)
Drive back to Melbourne (2.5 hours)
You stunner, Gippsland! Beautiful sights all around, except when driving in the dark, of course. But seriously, the pictures don’t do it justice!
DEN OF NARGUN HIKE
Like many others before us and the Gunaikurnai women, down and down we went into the Den of Nargun; home to a fierce half human and half stone being as the legends go.
What goes up must come down, and vice versa, so back up we climbed until we reached the Bluff Lookout, which offered sweeping views of the gorge. Not a terribly difficult trek (although some bits may become slippery with rain) and some great views to be seen.
A short ferry ride from Paynesville (like 2 minutes long) lies Raymond Island, where the koalas run free and wild - you’re pretty much guaranteed to see one or a few or many. If you know where to look - we needed some guidance from a couple of friendly locals before getting the hang of recognising the distinctive lump of an adorable sleeping koala. Some were more obvious to spot than others. Other wildlife to see on the island include kangaroos (spotted), echidnas and birds.
MACLEOD MORASS WILDLIFE RESERVE
With some time up our sleeves on Sunday morning before the cafe opened, we decided to stretch out our legs and take in some of the views at Macleod Morass Wildlife Reserve. Not a far trek from Bairnsdale… provided that GoogleMaps doesn’t lead you astray… and into private property. Ooops.
A nice leisurely stroll, with an abundance of wildlife to see.
We stayed in a comfy queen sized guest room at Bairnsdale International located just on the outskirts of town - a mere 2-5 minute drive from all the action on Main Street.
THE FOOD AND WINE
Disclosure: I stayed at Bairnsdale International, dined at Northern Grounds, The Long Paddock and Sardine Eatery & Bar, and attended Feral, Forage and Feast courtesy of East Gippsland Marketing Inc. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experiences and observations made during the time of my visit.