One of Victoria’s largest regions, Gippsland stretches all the way from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, to the border of New South Wales along the East Coast. This huge area is often overlooked by some of Victoria’s more famous regions, but there is so much to explore and discover here.
From beautiful beaches, to some of the state’s best snowfields, there is a huge amount of diversity and different landscapes to experience right in this little corner of Australia. Gippsland is full of vineyards and wineries, all kinds of farms, dairies, national parks and quiet little beach towns.
Gippsland is actually broken down into four regions, known as East, West, South and Central Gippsland. It covers an area of 41,566 square kilometres and is home to 14 national parks and more than 20% of Australia’s milk production. It’s a huge area by any measure!
Get off the beaten path in Victoria and explore a little more of the states East Coast, with some of the best things to do in Gippsland that you won’t want to miss.
Getting to Gippsland
Depending on where you’re planning to visit in Gippsland will really impact the travel time and the best way to get there, with the closest locations starting about three hours away from Melbourne by car.
Wilsons Promontory National Park, one of the most popular highlights of Gippsland is about a three hour drive from Melbourne, or it’s about a four hour drive to get to the coastal tourist town of Lakes Entrance.
Gippsland is fairly easy to navigate, with long flat roads and plenty of signage for exits, upcoming towns and attractions and highlights in the region.
Top places to visit in Gippsland
1. Wilsons Promontory National Park
Arguably one of the most popular and favourite places to visit in Gippsland, Wilsons Promontory National Park is Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area, covering 50,000 hectares.
The whole park is overflowing with walking trails, white sand beaches, eucalyptus forests and an abundance of native wildlife. Much of the park is only accessible by hiking, with some of the best and most beautiful beaches reserved for those who are willing to put the most effort in to visit them.
While you’re here, make sure to check out Squeaky Beach, Lilly Pilly Gully, Tidal River, and you can even catch an outdoor movie on Wednesday and Saturdays during the summer months.
2. Lakes Entrance
Home to Australia’s largest inland networks of waterways, Lakes Entrance is one of the most popular holiday spots along Victoria’s East Coast. It holds a great position on Ninety Mile Beach, right where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean and is full of accommodation options, dining choices and aqua experiences for anyone coming to visit.
Lakes Entrance is a wonderful place to try some of the local seafood, and is actually known as the seafood capital of Victoria due to the large number of fishing trawlers that operate in the area. You can even catch your own fish for the freshest seafood experience.
When we were in Lakes Entrance we spent the night at the Lakes Entrance Recreation & Camping Reserve, which is a campground that has been set up around the local footy oval. It’s in a great location, super close to town, and is open for all kinds of campers and caravanners. Dogs are welcome, office is open from 9am to 5:30pm, call on 0408 789 271 to make a reservation.
3. Ninety Mile Beach
The name of this place can’t explain what it is any clearer. From Port Albert all the way to Lakes Entrance, Ninety Mile Beach stretches for ninety miles and is home to beautiful golden shores, coastal sand dunes and great surf waves crashing in from the ocean.
It’s a great place to relax and unwind from the stresses of regular life, where you can walk, swim and fish, or watch whales, pelicans and dolphin from your little spot along the sand.
Ninety Mile Beach is predominately a surf beach, so make sure you only swim between the flags at Seaspray, Woodside Beach and Lakes Entrance, where life guards are on patrol during the summer months.
4. Gippsland Lakes
The Gippsland Lakes are a network of lakes, marshes and lagoons that cover more than 600 square kilometres. The three main lakes that make up Gippsland Lakes are Lake Victoria, King Lake and Lake Wellington, which are fed by rivers that begin in the High Country.
For the best experience, rent a boat in Metung or Paynesville and hop you way along some of the waterside cafes. You could also take a ferry to Raymond Island (free for pedestrians) to see it’s local koala colony, or across to Rotamah Island which is home to heaps of kangaroos and wallabies.
5. Phillip Island
Home to the world famous fairy penguins, Phillip Island is known for some of it’s outstanding natural experiences and landscapes. There’ s the penguin parade, the Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the beautiful Nobbies lookout and information centre.
As well as this, Phillip Island is also home to a delicious chocolate factory, and is part of the Southern Gippsland Wine Trail, with a number of gorgeous vineyards producing some world class wine.
The coastlines around Phillip Island make it home to some amazing surf conditions, great beaches, and it is an absolute hot spot to visitors looking for a close getaway from Melbourne.
6. Gippsland Food & Wine Trail
While you’re in the area, make sure to check out the Gippsland Food & Wine Trail, which offers some of the best culinary experiences from Port Albert to Mallacoota.
Winding you across the East, West and Southern regions of Gippsland, the trail includes all kinds of cafes and restaurants, cellar doors and breweries, offering award-winning wines, delicious farm fresh cheeses, craft beers and gins, and menus overflowing with all kinds of local produce.
Make sure you bring a few extra dollars along with you so you can take some of this local goodness home with you! Some of the highlights include:
Narkoojee Winery – 220 Francis Road, Glengarry North
Prom Country Cheese – 275 Andersons Inlet Road, Moyarra
Lightfoot & Sons – 717 Calulu Road, Bairnsdale
Tinamba Hotel – 4-6 Tinamba Seaton Road, Tinamba
Loch Brewery & Distillery – 44 Victoria Road, Loch
Toms Cap Vinyard Retreat – Corner of Toms Cap Road and Lays Road, Willung South
7. Croajingolong National Park
One of the lesser known national parks in Victoria, Croajinolong National Park is about a seven hour drive away from Melbourne but is an absolute playground for people who like the outdoors. It is one of Victoria’s largest parks and is home to secluded white sand beaches, thriving rainforests, more than 300 bird species and some pretty spectacular fishing.
If you’re visiting for the first time, some of the best experiences at Croajinolong National Park include sleeping under the stars at a beach campsite, the epic views from the Wilderness Coastal Walk, and whale watch from the old Gabo Island Lighthouse or POint Hick Lighthouse in the park.
One of the most northern towns in Victoria, Mallacoota sits right up the very top of the pointy part of Gippsland, close to the New South Wales border. This pretty little town is found on Mallacoota Inlet and is right next to Croajinolong National park.
It’s a sleepy little town, with a airy beach vibe and is a great place to spend some hours out doors. Get up close to a family of local kangaroos at Gipsy Point, take a dip in the popular Betka Beach, or hire a boat, canoe or kayak from Gipsy Point Lodge and hit the Genoa River.
Book now – where to stay in Mallacoota
9. Inverloch Beach
With water coming right off the Bass Straight, the water at Inverloch might be pretty and calm most days, but it is also surprisingly cold, so you’ll want to visit on a warm day if you’re planning to swim.
It’s a great beach if you’re looking for a bit of surf, and it’s also patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months to keep it nice and safe. Also in the area make sure you check out Venus Bay and Andersons Inlet.
Once upon a time Walhalla was known as being one of the richest towns in Victoria. Known for its Gold Fields Railway and the Long Mine Tour, the town of Walhalla is historic and a really beautiful area to explore.
Walhalla is also close to some of Australia’s alpine region, including Mt Baw Baw, so this is a great place to visit during the winter months if you’re hoping to see a bit of snow. Mt Baw Baw is also the closest ski resort to Melbourne, located only two hours away by car.
Best time to visit Gippsland
During the summer months, from December to March is generally the best time to visit Gippsland, when the sun is out and the days are long and hot. Gippsland weather is generally a few degrees cooler then the nearby inland areas, due to it’s proximity to the coast and the ocean winds.
Keep in mind that the summer months are also the busiest times to visit, with families flocking to Gippsland during the school holidays. If you’re visiting during the holiday period make sure you book your stay well in advance, to avoid missing out when you arrive. Gippsland accommodation can be extremely full during this time, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Due to the sheer size of Gippsland and all the different regions that sit within this one area, make sure you do some more specific research regarding the actual town you’re visiting and what their weather patterns are like. The weather is obviously going to be significantly different depending on whether you’re visiting the coastal towns or the alpine resorts.
If you’re looking for a new region of Victoria to explore, Gippsland certainly has a lot to offer. To make the most out of your visit, do a little bit of research before you go so you don’t miss out on any of the good stuff.
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