March 10, 2020 / By Tim Falk
While the weather's still warm, and with Easter just around the corner, it's the perfect time to head back to the areas affected by the summer bushfires. And as Shane Kidd, President of the Lakes Entrance Business and Tourism Association, explains this is one town where your visit will really make a diffference.
“Summer is the peak season for us, with the shoulder seasons of late spring and early autumn also being important. So when 20,000 tourists were told on New Year’s Eve that they must evacuate the region, the impact on local businesses was devastating.
“The loss of income was staggering,” Kidd says. “Eighty per cent of a business' yearly takings can be wiped out without a summer season. I talked to a restaurant owner who had lost $80,000 in income in the first two weeks of January.
"He claimed it would take him two years to come close to recovering from missing one year’s profit. Another clothing store had purchased $250,000 worth of stock and it is now sitting in the storeroom.”
So to make your decision easier, here are the three top things to do in Lakes Entrance .
Water, water everywhere
If you want to know what the main attraction in Lakes Entrance is, there’s a pretty obvious hint in the town’s name. Located where the Gippsland Lakes and the Southern Ocean meet, Lakes Entrance is the perfect destination for anyone who loves water sports.
If the ocean is calling your name, 90 Mile Beach will be one of your first stops. This beautiful stretch of sand is uncrowded and unspoilt, so it’s ideal for anyone who wants to catch a wave or just get wet. Surf Shack runs learn-to-surf lessons for beginners, while Eastern Beach is a popular spot with families.
For those craving calmer conditions, there are plenty of ways to get out on the cool waters of the lakes. Hit up Venture Out Australia if you’d like to explore via kayak or stand-up paddleboard, while Lakes Entrance Paddle Boats and Catamaran Hire also have everything you need to get moving.
You can wet a line if you’re in the mood — Lakes Entrance has long been a popular destination with anglers — or just cruise around at your own speed.
Speaking of cruising, Peels Cruises and Lonsdale Eco Cruises can take you on a guided tour of the lakes’ best scenery. You’ll see charming lakeside villages, pretty inlets and everything from dolphins to sea eagles along the way, so sit back and take it all in.
With all that saltwater around, it’s no great surprise that the local seafood also comes with an impressive reputation. Sometimes referred to as Victoria’s seafood capital, Lakes Entrance is home to a fleet of several fishing trawlers that bring in a host of deep-sea delights.
What that means for you is plenty of mouth-watering options at meal time. You could opt for the fine dining approach, and sample some of the fresh local produce at a Lakes Entrance restaurant. Get your seafood fix close to the source at the floating Ferryman’s Seafood Café or head to Henry’s Café at Wyanga Park Winery for the seafood chowder or baked Lakes Entrance gummy shark. You can also spoil yourself with some French flavours at Froggy’s Bistro or head to Albert & Co. for some cafe fare.
Of course, the other option is to go the casual beach holiday route and get some takeaway. You’re spoiled for choice in this part of the world — it sometimes seems like there’s a fish and chippery on every corner — so why not sample a few of them to find your favourite.
While there’s plenty to enjoy right in the heart of Lakes Entrance, this charming seaside town is also the ideal base for exploring some of the other headline attractions in East Gippsland.
For example, head 25 minutes southeast and you’ll find yourself in the pretty lakeside town of Metung. There’s a marina here and some lovely sandy beaches, while the fresh local seafood is a constant presence on local restaurant menus. While you’re in town, make sure you sit down for a waterfront lunch at the Metung Hotel.
Head east to Lake Tyers and you’ll find great fishing, swimming and spots for relaxation. Lake Tyers Beach offers plenty of accommodation options, and the eucalypt forest on the lake’s northern shore has long been popular with bushwalkers.
Artsy Nowa Nowa is less than 20 minutes away, the East Gippsland Rail Trail offers a memorable route for cyclists, and the beauty of the High Country is within easy reach.
Whether you’re craving a lazy getaway or an exciting adventure, Lakes Entrance offers something for everyone. It’s also easily accessible from Melbourne — all the more reason why you should make it the destination for your next weekend away.
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