The Gippsland region stretches from south-east of Melbourne all the way to the state border with New South Wales in Victoria's far east. It covers hundreds of kilometres of coastline and a rich collection of state and national parks.
The Latrobe Valley, covering the area from Moe to Traralgon in the region's north, is home to the state's massive coal mining and power generation industry. North of the Latrobe Valley are the spectacular mountains of the Great Dividing Range including the popular Alpine and ski resort of Mount Baw Baw.
West Gippsland is characterised by lush, rolling hills and major dairy and farming industries. The Gourmet Deli Trail is a popular tourist route, encompassing a large collection of farms, vineyards and outlets selling local produce and smallgoods.
One of the region's most popular destinations is the Wilsons Promontory National Park, which consists of striking granite peaks and an array of local flora and fauna, forming the southern most tip of mainland Australia.
East Gippsland is traversed from east to west by the Princes Highway, from which radiate a number of good sealed roads serving the rich coastal farming lands and coastal communities to the south, and Victoria's High Country to the north. The chain of lakes behind Ninety Mine Beach are popular holiday resorts for Victorians, though little known to and visited by others.
The roads leading north cross the Great Dividing Range and its spurs and link with the highway networks of New South Wales and its far south coast. The main highway through Omeo to the snowfields of Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham, like the Bonang Highway through Delegate and Bombala to the Monaro Highway, is sealed all the way and provides safe, first-class access to the High Country. Other mountain roads are not sealed, but traverse the most spectacular mountain and forest areas in Victoria.
The southernmost point of the Australian mainland, The Prom is arguably the most loved national park in Victoria. The park contains the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria; it is a wild and desolate headland with open heaths, sand dunes, tall forest ranges, tree fern valleys, salt marshes, sandy beaches, islands, reefs and granite headlands. Walking trails provide access to the gorgeous coastal scenery with a choice ranging from short walks to all-day hikes. For the skilled rock and beach angler, the fishing is good.
Just 140 kilometres south east of Melbourne, Phillip Island, is the best place in Victoria to come face to face with the wildlife of Australia. Here you can drive down a road where hundreds of koalas sit dozing in their treetop homes above you; take a look at Australia's largest colony of fur seals, and at night, enjoy watching hundreds of Little Penguins returning to their burrows at the famous Penguin Parade.
Tarra-Bulga National Park
Tarra-Bulga National Park is known for its deeply-incised river valleys, giant Mountain Ash trees, beautiful fern gullies and ancient myrtle beeches. The park covers 2015 ha of some of the best examples of original cool temperate rainforests of the Strzelecki Ranges. Walks pass through the rainforest, affording spectacular views of lush fern gullies.
The Visitor Centre Picnic Area provides picnic tables, electric barbecues, a picnic shelter and toilets with disabled access. Roads throughout the area are narrow and winding but offer marvellous scenery with wide views from several points. Location: access from Grand Ride Road and the town of Balook.
Agnes Falls is the highest single span waterfalls in Victoria with a drop of 59 metres. Hidden within the hills of the Strzelecki Ranges, the meandering Agnes River cascades over rocks into a deep picturesque gorge. An easy 200-metre walking track leads from the car park to a viewing area overlooking the falls and a small picnic ground set among tall blue gums on the grassy banks of the river makes a delightful setting for a picnic.
Location: South Gippsland Highway at Toora by following Silcocks Hill Road, Hazel Park Road and Agnes Falls Road.
Morwell National Park
Situated in the northern foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges, this park is small in size but of great value in preserving a remnant of the area s original plant and animal life. The best was to enjoy Morwell National Park is to walk through it.
Fosters Gully Nature Walk provides an excellent introduction to the park. The Billys Creek area is one of great natural beauty with high scenic values and relics of past land uses. Kerry Road Picnic Area is an ideal place to have a peaceful picnic in a quiet bushland setting.
Mitchell River National Park
Mitchell River National Park surrounds the spectacular Mitchell River where it passes between high cliffs. There are several gorges, including the Den of Nargun, which is mentioned in Aboriginal Legends. Remnants of temperate rainforest line the gorges. There are recorded sightings of more than 150 bird species and 25 mammal species in the park.
Gold was discovered in the area in 1857. Alluvial fields along the Mitchell River and its tributaries were worked into the early twentieth century, while there was also some reef mining from the 1860s.
Location: 300 km east of Melbourne by the most direct road route, and 40 km north of Bairnsdale.
Errinundra National Park
Centred on the Errinundra Plateau, Errinundra National Park is a southwards extension of the Monaro Tablelands of New South Wales. The Errinundra National Park preserves the largest remaining cool temperate rainforest in Victoria and supports some of South Eastern Australia's most spectacular old growth forests. The majority of the park is accessible only in the drier months. In winter, rain and snow generally make the unsealed roads impassable.
Location: 352 km east of Melbourne; 90 km north-east of Orbost via Princes Hwy then Combienbar Rd through Club Tce to Errinundra
Alpine National Park
At 646,000 hectares, Alpine National Park is the State's largest and protects our highest mountains and varied alpine environments. Extensive snowfields are the primary winter attraction; the warmer months bring stunning wildflower displays and opportunities for bushwalks and four wheel driving. Access is via the Great Alpine Road.
Baw Baw National Park
Covering a substantial part of the Baw Baw Plateau and sections of the Thomson and Aberfeldy River valleys, Baw Baw National Park offers colourful wildflowers in early summer and open grassy plains with Snow Gum woodlands. Mount St Gwinear, Mount Erica and the Baw Baw Alpine Village are ideal bases for bushwalking. The Thomson River downstream of the Thomson Dam offers some of the best white water rafting in Victoria. Several tour companies provide rafting tours all year round.
Near the township of Buchan lies a honeycomb of caves full of spectacular limestone formations. Buchan Caves were formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock. The formations are created by rain water seeping through cracks and dissolving some of the limestone. In time, stalactites are formed on the roof of the cave, and stalagmites build up from droplets which fall to the floor.
Location: off Bruthen Buchan Road, Buchan.
Snowy River National Park
Snowy River National Park is in a remote wilderness area and features some magnificent river scenery, spectacular deep gorges and forests. McKillop Bridge via Buchan is one of the few places in the park with access to the Snowy River by conventional vehicle.
The Deddick River meets the Snowy just upstream of the bridge and wide sandy beaches with shallow rock pools between the rapids make this a great swimming spot. Little River Gorge, Victoria's deepest gorge, is to the west of McKillop Bridge and downstream from the junction of the Little River and Snowy River.
Location: 60 km north of Orbost.
Croajingolong National Park
A coastal national park, it is a pristine environment of eucalypt forests, rainforests, coastal heathlands, estuaries and sandy beaches. Created in 1979, the park is home to over 1000 species of native plants as well as more than 300 bird species. Enjoy short or long walks, camping, swimming, diving, sailing and sea kayaking and the great 4WDing opportunities.
Location: 427 km east of Melbourne near the Vic/NSW border.
Alfred National Park
Alfred National Park contains some of the most southerly occurrences of warm temperate rainforest in Australia. Many plant species found in the park are uncommon in the rest of Victoria. The park is of high conservation value, with its rare flora and fauna and diverse landscape.
Location: 20 km east of Cann River.
Mount Worth State Park
Mount Worth State Park offers rainforest walking trails and scenic views of Gippsland as well as across the Latrobe Valley to the Great Dividing Range. The wet, mountain rainforest of Mountain Ash (with at least one specimen 90 metres tall, 7 metres wide and approaching 300 years old), Blackwood and Mountain Grey Gum supports a wide variety of plants and animals, such as the tree ferns, wombat, possum, platypus, Crimson Rosella, lyrebird and many others.
Location: 15 km south of Warragul in the western Strzelecki Ranges.
Turtons Creek Reserve
The site of the 1871 Turtons Creek goldrush, today the area is now a haunt for lyrebirds in tree-fern gullies. The area is dominated by Mountain Ash and Blackwoods, with Rough Tree-fern and Smooth Tree-fern common along the creek. You can enjoy a picnic at the reserve's waterfalls and watch the falls trickle down in summer or wildly cascade following heavy rainfall. Recreational fishing can be enjoyed in Turtons Creek with the streams offering trout, blackfish and eel. The reserve has a camping area.
Location: 18 km north of Foster.
Corner Inlet Marine National Park
Corner Inlet Marine National Park is an 1,550 hectare park is located to the north and east of Wilsons Promontory National Park adjacent to the southern shores of Corner Inlet. The sheltered inlet is a pleasant setting with its low landscapes of marshes framed by the spectacular backdrop of the granite peaks of Wilsons Promontory.
Walking, canoeing or kayaking are greats way to explore the park. A number of tour operators in the area offering boat tours. Boat-based camping is available at Tin Mine Cove within Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary
The reserve covers 220 hectares and extends for a distance of 500 metres from the reef edge. The granite reef holds forests of bull kelp and shipwreck remains, as well as a diverse range of invertebrates and more than 20 species of reef fish.
The sanctuary is a resting place for Australian Fur Seals. Where there is enough light, the upper reef is covered in a dense canopy of brown, green and red seaweeds.
Lower down the reef, walls are covered with filter-feeding animals such as large finger sponges, brilliant red sea-fans, sea tulips, long sinuous sea-whips and carpets of orange anemones. Out of every crevice, pink and blue brittle stars stick their spiny arms out into the water to feed. Green, orange and white feather stars are abundant between rocks.
The Ada Tree
A walk through the Yarra State Forest near Noojee leads to the Ada Tree, a giant mountain ash that's one of Victoria's largest trees. Around 270 years old it's about 76 metres tall with a circumference of 15 metres. The trail is 3.2 km return in length, but there are walks up to 10 km in this picturesque rainforest.
Ewing Morass near Paynesville, along with Macleod Morass on the outskirts of Bairnsdale and the Tambo Bay Wetlands near Metung, form part of the world renowned Gippsland Lakes. These deep, freshwater marshes provide a home to hundreds of species of birds, fish, insects, mammals, reptiles and frogs - including a number that are endangered.
The Lakes National Park
A peaceful bushland retreat in the Gippsland Lakes, fringed by the waters of Lake Victoria and Lake Reeve. The park occupies 2,390 hectares of low-lying woodland and coastal heath, consisting of Sperm Whale Head peninsula, Rotamah and Little Rotamah Islands. Camping is permitted at Emu Bight only, close to the shore of Lake Victoria. A network of walking tracks exists and the gently undulating tracks are suitable for family outings.
Moondarra State Park
Known for its wildflower displays, particularly along Seninis Track where sixteen species of native orchid have been recorded. Scenic drives, bushwalks, picnicking, swimming, camping, fishing and nature study are popular activities. Some roads are suitable for bike riding. Spring is the main wildflower season and along with summer, are the most popular times to visit the park. Although, there is plenty to do all year round.
A 7km section of the former Walhalla Railway is publically accessible in the Park. The trail crosses the Moondarra Resevoir Road soon after the turnoff from the main road. The trail is not formally maintained - there are no signposts and some sections are partly overgrown.
Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park
The broad rock platforms and underwater reefs of Bunurong Marine Park near Cape Paterson support a remarkable range of habitats, containing a diverse array of plants and animals. There are a number of good spots to snorkel in the park such as Flat Rocks with its profusion of large rock pools and The Caves which has a large pool opening out to the sea that is accessible at low tide.
Walhalla Goldfields Railway
A narrow gauge tourist railway located in the Thomson River and Stringers Creek valleys, near the former gold-mining town and tourist destination of Walhalla. The Walhalla line was the last of four experimental narrow gauge lines of the Victorian Railways.
The Walhalla Goldfields Railway operates regular tourist services between Thomson and Walhalla stations, using diesel locomotives. Notably, the railway carries far more passengers as a tourist railway, than during its time as an operating revenue line.
Bataluk Cultural Trail
Bataluk Cultural Trail extends from Sale in the east, through Stratford, Mitchell River National Park, Bairnsdale, Metung, Lake Tyers, Buchan and Orbost to Cape Conran in the west. It follows the trails and trading routes of pre-colonial days and focuses on elements of Koorie history and culture, including Dreamtime stories, traditional lifestyles, archaeological sites, cultural centres, and aspects of European invasion, colonial settlement and present-day existence.
Old Gippstown is a complete historical township filled with authentic buildings and decor makes an ideal venue for weddings and functions. Old Gippstown, Gippsland's Heritage Park at Moe, is also renowned for its Coach house which contains one of Victoria's best collections of horse drawn vehicles. Entry fees apply.
Location: Old Gippstown is located on Lloyd St, just off the highway, next door to McDonalds and can be easily accessed by car, train and tour coach service. Ph (03) 5127 3082.
Coal Creek Community Park and Museum
Initially created to preserve the unique history of coal and the development of the South Gippsland railway and the rural settlement which was accelerated by the dairy and timber industries. It contains a large collection of artefacts housed in the many heritage buildings in a village like setting. There is also a bush tramway and bushland walking tracks. Free entry. Location: South Gippsland Hwy, Korumburra. Ph (03) 6566 1811.
Gippsland Vehicle Collection
An outstanding rotating display of interesting vehicles, including veteran, classic, historic vehicles, carriages, trucks and auto memorabilia.
The motor museumis housed in The Maffra Shed, located on the Sale Road, Maffra. The massive shed is an old vegetable de-hydrating factory built during World War 2. BBQs and meeting areas are provided for the use of community groups and car-clubs visiting the museum as part of their weekend leisure events.
State Coal Mine
The only historic coal mine experience in the Southern Hemisphere, offering interactive fun and interest for the whole family both above and below ground. The State Coal Mine offers a journey back in time to discover what life working in a coal mine was like in the 1900s. Visitors can venture underground through the dark network of tunnels to get hands-on at the coal face and learn how Victoria s hard working men extracted the black gold.
Location: West Area Rd, Wonthaggi. Ph 13 1963.
Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum
Housed in the former Bank of Victoria building (1862) at Port Albert, its collection contains a wealth of information on the maritime and local history of Port Albert and Gippsland. Port Albert was once the Port of Entry for the Gippsland Goldfields and the old bank vault houses a display on Gippsland Gold Discovery.
There are also several giant anchors, the original Port Albert wharf crane and the restored Citadel Island lighthouse. The original light was located on the top of a spectacular granite island off Wilsons promontory and was the first automatic acetylene light installed by the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service.
Towns and Localities
A major commercial and industrial centre for the East Gippsland District, Bairnsdale makes an ideal base for the exploration of the East Gippsland region.
In the late 19th century, at the peak of the gold boom, Cassilis was a thriving mining centre. Now Cassilis lies as a ghost town, with no commercial buildings in operation. Set in the 3,600-hectare Cassilis Historical Area, the mines are now a local tourist attraction with many relics of the gold mining era.
This tiny island of 57 hectares is now open to the public as an historic working farm that boasts significant natural and cultural values with world-class wetlands, ancient Moonah trees, heritage gardens and historic buildings.
This small town is supported by district farming, including dairy farming, irrigated from the Rainbow Creek, which runs past Cowwarr, and the Thomson River.
Nestled in the foothills of the legendary Dargo High Plains, Dargo is one of Victoria's most remote communities. The town of Dargo is an entry point for the Alpine National Park, Avon Wilderness Park and Mitchell River National Park.
An untamed masterpiece of pink granite, with a wild windswept coast and cliff top dunes. It is only 14 kilometres from Mallacoota in Victoria's far east, but feels like it's a world away from the mainland.
Comprising of a network of lakes, marshes and lagoons, The Gippsland Lakes are the largest inland network of waterways in Australia. The Lakes are separated from the ocean by coastal dunes known as Ninety Mile Beach. Bird and marine life thrive here, with lake dolphins and pelicans frequenting many locations. The lakes include many small islands, which are reached easily by ferry or water taxi from Paynesville. There are also two national parks that abut the lakes, the Lakes National Park and the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, both of which offer great camping and walking tracks.
This popular retirement and summer holiday destination is a hive of activity during the warmer weather; otherwise it is a quiet village.
A fishing port in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, the town of Lakes Entrance is a well developed and popular holiday resort.
Located only 70 minutes from the outskirts of Melbourne with a population of over 75,000 residents, it is the centre of Victoria's main coal mining industry. Latrobe City boasts all of the recreational and cultural facilities of a large diverse regional centre with the added benefit of being nestled amongst some of the best tourist attractions in the state. Latrobe City: is made up of four major urban centres - Churchill, Moe/Newborough, Morwell and Traralgan, with smaller townships of Boolarra, Glengarry, Toongabbie, Tyers, Traralgon South, Yallourn, and Yinnar.
The ton of Maffra is known as the beef cattle capital of Gippsland. Nearby Briagolong and Strathavon has a number of notable historic buildings.
With shimmering lakes, rivers, pristine forests and turquoise sea lapping quiet beaches, Mallacoota is an isolated corner of Victoria that is a great place to go and switch off when one's batteries need recharging.
This small village on Marlo Inlet is a well kept secret. With wetlands, rainforest, sand dunes and backwaters, the Snowy River estuary boasts some of the best perch and bream fishing to be found anywhere.
A resort town situated on the shores of Bancrofts Bay on Lake King behind Ninety Mile Beach.
A picturesque town in the West Gippsland region, Neerim South is set in the hills at the base of Mt. Baw Baw. It is a busy tourist town servicing both the snow fields in winter and the gourmet traveller all year round.
Located near the mouth of the Snowy River, Orbost is the commercial centre for the local agricultural industry (dairy and beef cattle, maize, beans, vegetables), though tourism is making an increasing contribution to the local economy.
Just 140 km south east of Melbourne, Phillip Island, is the best place in Victoria to come face to face with the wildlife of Australia. Here you can drive down a road where hundreds of koalas sit dozing in their treetop homes above you; hand feed wallabies, take a look at Australia's largest colony of fur seals, and at night, enjoy watching hundreds of Little Penguins returning to their burrows at the famous Penguin Parade.
A delightful coastal village with a number of old buildings from the previous century lovingly restored, many of which have a National Trust classification.
A small community with a lovely country village atmosphere, Port Welshpool was once a major fishing port. It now services the Bass Strait offshore oil rigs.
The administrative centre of the Gippsland region, Sale services a very productive pastoral district. The town supports a variety of industries, particularly those relating to foods, plastics and timber.
Nestled at the base of the foothills of the Great Divide, its views range from the Strzelecki Ranges to its south, the Great Dividing Range to the west and north and pristine farmland to the east.
A holiday town, notable for superb surf beaches and the ti-tree covered sand dunes in the region.
A picturesque former goldmining town that appears to have been frozen in time.
A hidden gem on the sandy shores of Waratah Bay, the tiny settlement of Walkerville South was once one of the busiest places in South Gippsland due to its thriving lime industry. Remnants of the burnt-out lime kilns cling to the cliffs above Waratah Bay.
An industrial town, it commercial activities are centred around coal mining, pastroral and agricultural industries. It began as a tent town, providing temporary accommodation the thousands of miners.
By road south east from Melbourne, via Princes Highway.
Best Time To Go
As Victoria has a temperate climate, there is no one season or month that the visitor needs to avoid, except perhaps summer (December - February), if you find hot weather unbearable. Even then, only the north and the north-west tend to suffer from extended periods of intense heat, so those areas would be the only ones to contemplate avoiding in summer if you don't like the heat.
In and around Melbourne, which gets more cloud and disturbed weather despite a lower rainfall, sunshine hours per day in winter (June - August) are three to four as against seven to eight in summer. Cold spells are brief and never severe on the coast, and temperatures can drop much lower inland in winter.