March 5, 2019 / By Oceana Setaysha
Taking up the enormous eastern corner of Victoria, it's surprising just how little press Gippsland gets amongst weekend warriors. Perhaps it's the size of the wilderness area that throws people off. It seems like an impossible space to cover in any amount of time, let alone a single weekend or short trip. So, to show you just how much of Gippsland is really at your fingertips, here's a list of my favourite places in the region that are within a three-hour drive from Melbourne. From wildlife to wide open spaces, dramatic drives and delicious dining, there’s something in Gippsland for everyone.
1. Experience Wilson’s Promontory
Often affectionately referred to as ‘The Prom’, Wilson’s Promontory National Park is Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area and favourite among the state’s many national parks. Located about 230km from Melbourne, or around three hours driving, the national park is 50,000 hectares of stunning beaches, walking tracks, wildlife and wonder. Both camping and cabin accommodation are available to visitors, who are spoilt for choice with nature-based activities. Among the many impressive and iconic spots are Squeaky Beach, with white sand and turquoise water to drop any jaw. Dedicated walkers wanting a challenge can lace their boots for the Mt Oberon Summit trail or the extensive Great Prom Walk.
2. Wander The Beaches At Seaspray
For a true beach escape in the Gippsland area, visitors should be setting their sights on Seaspray. A classic beachside town with a fair amount of accommodation options ranging from caravan parks to cottages, Seaspray is also home to Ninety Mile Beach and the marine national park of the same name. It might seem like an exaggeration, but Ninety Mile Beach is just that, and is one of the world’s longest uninterrupted beaches in the world. Massive and pristine, there’s no shortage of space for beach activities here, making it perfect for a coastal escape.
3. Drive The Great Alpine Road
Victoria’s Great Alpine Road doesn’t get nearly as much attention as its coastal cousin (the Great Ocean Road), but when it comes to scenic drives there are few that can compare. Starting in Wangaratta around 250km from Melbourne, the drive winds its way through more than 300km of Victoria’s most diverse landscapes, through mountain ranges and down into valleys, traversing verdant forests, expansive vineyards and stunning stretches of water. Along the way there are endless opportunities to sample local produce, wander in country towns, take nature walks, go camping and so much more. No matter the season, this one is worth the trip!
4. See It All In Sale
Regarded as something of the heart of Gippsland, Sale is a delightful town and ideal location from which to explore the immense Gippsland Lakes and even further afield. The Port of Sale is the gateway to the lakes region, which can take visitors who choose to travel it all the way to the sea. If the lakes aren’t calling your name, there’s no shortage of other activities, including the 150-year-old Sale Botanic Gardens and the many nature walks of Sale Common and Wetlands area. For those happy to go slightly further afield Sale is also home to the oldest surviving National Trust classified swing bridge.
5. Soak Up The Coast At Port Albert
A quaint town with lots of charm and maritime history, Port Albert was the among Victoria’s first European settlements in 1841. History buffs are sure to enjoy the Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum, which is located in the former Bank of Victoria building and open seasonally. Otherwise there are boat tours of the scenic coast, the Old Port Walking Trail, and a number of other interesting historical buildings, including a church and the community’s original cemetery. Ensure you make some time for a meal at the Port Albert Wharf, where the fish and chips are as fresh and traditional as they come.
6. Explore the Tarra Valley
The Tarra Valley, located 220km or around 2.5hours south east of Melbourne, is the sort of place that offers a little something of everything. Visitors can wander along the many nature trails, have a time out and enjoy a picnic, or take a trip along the area’s scenic drives. Tarra Valley is home to a number of simply stunning fern gullies, where you can find a fantastic selection of Australian wildlife from king parrots and koalas to wallabies and wombats. The Tarra-Bulga National Park is a must visit here, and walkers will love the nearby Duff Sawmill Heritage Trail, while the Grand Ridge Road scenic drive is among Gippsland’s best.
Gippsland might seem out of reach, but it’s really just on the horizon! Plan your Gippsland trip today and enjoy these exciting locations and so much more!
Top image credit Roberto Seba
Second image Brown Brothers, Milawa
Third image credit Peter Glenane
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