There’s a place east of Melbourne where days are spent unhurried by the seaside, kitchens thrive on quality local produce and wine producers are making some of the state’s best. And it’s an area whose beauty and natural wonders survive the ravages of bushfires. With the spring and summer holidays looming, it’s time to plan your escape to this idyllic region.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast at Northern Ground in Bairnsdale, which serves up baked eggs stuffed with local fish, granola, buttermilk pancakes and delicious coffee. For lunch, head to The Long Paddock in Lindenow, which is owned and run by a former chef from Melbourne. Anton and his partner Tanya Bertino are well aware of the high standard of food produced in the region and take great pride in sourcing everything from local farmers to fisherman and bakers.
The cosy, light-filled rooms of the Korumburra Hotel are perfect for a relaxing afternoon. The roaring log fire in the lounge room is the perfect spot to relax after a busy day of exploring the region’s quaint towns and scenic drives. And with the Great Southern Rail Trail snaking by over the back fence, it’s a handy place to refuel for a ride on one of Gippsland’s many trails.
Eat and drink like a local in East Gippsland
The Great Eastern Highway is a popular drive for visitors who want to discover the region’s best restaurants, cafes and wineries. Located between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance, this wine route offers a diverse range of experiences for the whole family. Stop off at the boutique vineyard Toms Cap Winery for a glass of chardonnay and a cheese platter or sample wines and brews from nearby Glenmaggie Wines, Blue Gables Vineyard and Vines on Avon.
Don’t forget to take a walk through the grapevines and blue gums at vineyards such as Tambo Winery, Nicholson River Winery and Glenmaggie Wines. There are also plenty of winery tours available, and you can also enjoy a picnic under the vines while you savour the views.
Explore the ancient Buchan Caves
For a truly unique experience, hop on board a tour to the world-famous Gippsland caves at Buchan. Known for their calcite-rimmed pools and elaborate stalactites, these caves offer the chance to explore in complete safety and comfort.
Spend a day at the beach in East Gippsland
The beaches of this area are renowned for their spectacular coastal scenery, and are ideal spots to take in the views. The pristine white sands of Ninety Mile Beach are the most famous, but there’s also a sprinkling of other stretches with less crowded swimming areas such as Seaspray Beach and Woodside Beach.
Get a taste of the koalas in East Gippsland
Koalas are a favourite of many travellers to this region, with Raymond Island offering some of the best koala-spotting in Victoria. The famous Koala Trail is a must-do for wildlife lovers and will provide plenty of chances to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.