gippsland shore
Photo by Zac Porter on Unsplash

What to Do in Gippsland

Gippsland offers something special for everyone – a relaxing retreat, thrilling waterway adventure or adrenaline-packed escape. No matter your style of getaway, Gippsland has something perfect for everyone.

Experience the bounty of waterways with a Riviera Nautic charter, wake-up-and-sail day cruise or afternoon gondola ride. Get active by kayaking or fishing, or spot wildlife on safari cruise.

1. Visit Tarra-Bulga National Park

Gippsland region boasts many stunning destinations that make for an idyllic day out. Begin your adventure at Tarra-Bulga National Park, a cool temperate rainforest home to diverse species.

Take a walk through the forest and admire its wildlife, such as some breathtaking waterfalls. Make a loop of the park to visit Cyathea Falls which are framed by ancient Myrtle Beech trees that shelter delicate tree ferns and mosses.

Tarra-Bulga National Park is one of Victoria’s last remaining cool temperate rainforests, providing a sanctuary for plants and animals alike. As such, it has become increasingly popular with tourists due to its variety of activities like walking tracks and camping spots.

One excellent activity to try is joining a Junior Ranger program that explores the park’s distinctive flora. You’ll gain knowledge about various plants and their use in traditional Aboriginal culture.

At the Tarra-Bulga Visitor Centre, which is open weekends and school holidays, you’ll find an array of activities. Staffed by members of Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park who devote a great deal of effort into keeping this area beautiful, there is ample parking for guests.

Tarra-Bulga National Park was established in 1986 and covers 2,014 hectares of Mountain Ash forests and cool temperate rainforest. It is managed jointly by Parks Victoria and Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners who serve as its custodians.

2. Explore Bunurong Coastal Drive

The Bunurong Coastal Drive, running between Cape Paterson and Inverloch, takes you through some of Victoria’s most stunning cliff-hugging scenery. Cruise along rocky cliffs, stop at secluded beaches, or discover hidden coves with breathtaking shorelines.

These secluded waters are home to an abundance of marine life, from endless seagrass meadows and sandy bays that support cool-water species like crabs, snails, rock lobsters and zebra fish. Visit during the summer months to witness humpback and southern right whales make their annual migration past.

Gippsland offers more than just a serene road trip. Discover national parks packed with wildlife, long beaches of soft sand and unassuming seaside towns. Take in breathtaking cliff-hugging views at Wilsons Promontory, watch tiny penguins waddling up the beach on Phillip Island or indulge in an indulgent seafood dinner in Melbourne for the perfect end to your adventure.

Vegetation – The inland areas of Bunurong Marine Park are abundant with tussock grass, low growing shrubs and correa, while sheltered stretches are covered in coastal banksia, tea-tree and boobialla.

Natural moss grows on the rocks and tree stumps that dot this land, adding beautiful texture to this unique environment. Tidal creeks and estuaries have been protected from agricultural clearing, creating a lush sylvan setting for plants to flourish in.

Along the Bunurong Coastal Drive, visitors can explore many natural attractions such as Twin Reefs, Shack Bay, The Caves and Eagles Nest. Particularly The Caves has become a popular spot for fossil hunters with dinosaur bones dating back 120 million years being discovered here.

3. Visit Buchan Caves

Buchan Caves in East Gippsland, Victoria are one of Australia’s most captivating limestone caves. Dating back 300-400 million years, these stunning formations have drawn visitors from around the globe for its captivating ethereal honeycomb of formations.

Buchan is home to the Royal Cave, Fairy Cave and a series of natural rock towers cut through by underground rivers. Parks Victoria offers guided tours through these ancient labyrinthine systems for an unforgettable exploration.

Buchan Caves Reserve offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy, such as a playground, swimming pool and picnic area with tables and shelters. Plus you can explore fern-lined Spring Creek Walk or take on Granite Pools Trail for an even more challenging trek.

Once at the Caves Reserve, be sure to check in and purchase your tour tickets online. There will also be stewards on hand who can answer any queries before entering the caves.

Once you have your tickets, it is recommended that you travel light as there are restrictions on what can be carried into the caves. Strollers, pushchairs, bags and backpacks are all prohibited as they could damage the caves.

You can book a guide to take you on an extensive walking tour of the entire reserve, providing stunning views. There are various walks available such as the 0.5km Moon Hill Walk which passes through Moon Cave and Devil’s Punchbowl.

4. Visit Raymond Island

Raymond Island is an ideal spot for wildlife spotting. It boasts a large population of koalas and over 60 bird species, many of which are migratory.

On Raymond Island, you can spot koalas by taking a walk or cycling around their trail. This 1.2km walk begins near the ferry arrival point and leads through residential areas until reaching the park. Here, you’ll likely spot plenty of them hiding among gum trees.

Vacation rentals in Raymond Island that allow pets are plentiful. Whether you’re searching for a pet-friendly vacation rental with parking or an accommodating studio apartment, you’re sure to find the ideal accommodation nearby.

Experience the natural world at Swan Cove Sanctuary, an idyllic retreat set on 10 acres of waterfront and bush. Take advantage of lake access, stunning gardens, a yogic lifestyle and variety of yoga classes for an enriching experience.

When you’re not out spotting animals, come and relax at one of the many pet friendly vacation rentals on Raymond Island. “Jj’s Raymond Island Escape” in Lakes and Wilderness is an ideal option as it features 3 bedrooms as well as a fire pit.

Another top pick is “Vintage Cosiness On Absolute Waterfront Surrounded By Native Wildlife”. This Eastern Australia property offers a beach view and kitchen.

5. Visit Gabo Island

Gabo Island is one of Victoria’s most remote places, accessible only by air or boat. But this 154-hectare island provides a haven for plants and wildlife with an intriguing historical background. Additionally, you can spot sea mammals like whales, dolphins and fur seals here.

Mallacoota makes for a wonderful day trip or overnight destination. You can hire your boat or take a water taxi (with Mallacoota Fishing Charters & Tours) and enjoy some serenity out on the sea.

Visit Australia’s second tallest lighthouse, built in 1862 from pink granite quarried on the island. At 47 metres tall, it provides breathtaking views of the Howe Range and Croajingolong National Park.

When staying on Gabo Island, don’t miss out on booking a guided tour of the lighthouse. Not only will you learn more about Gabo Island’s history, but you’ll get to enjoy stunning views from up high too.

Visit the island to witness the world’s largest Little Penguin colony and other sea birds such as Short-tailed Shearwaters. Spend your days exploring the shoreline and rock pools, watching penguins return from the ocean at dawn and dusk.

This windswept granite island offers extensive outcrops, wide basalt intrusions and boulder beaches to explore. It’s the perfect spot for cycling or walking with the family as you take in all that nature has to offer.

6. Visit Den of Nargun

For bushwalkers, the Den of Nargun is a must-visit. It serves as the starting point for some great forest strolls and more challenging hikes in Mitchell River National Park north of Bairnsdale.

From the picnic area, take a 3.4km Den of Nargun Loop walk that winds its way through pockets of warm temperate rainforest toward the cave and then descends via Woolshed Creek and Dedcock Den to Bluff Lookout. If you’re feeling adventurous, make the trek up to the top of the Den for breathtaking gorge views from this vantage point.

This haunting natural feature is home to thousands of stalactites formed over thousands of years and revered by the Gunaikurnai people as sacred. It is important to respect this and not enter the cave.

Experience the Den best from a safe distance, so that you can savor its ethereal atmosphere. Be mindful when walking around as there are plenty of stepping stones and rocks to navigate; these may be slippery at times.

Take a guided tour of the museum to gain an understanding of Gunaikurnai heritage and culture, including hunting weapons, baskets and more. Plus there are various accommodation options available so that you can make the most of your time in the park.

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