If you’re visiting Victoria and are into all sorts of water activities, then a visit to the Gippsland Lakes is a must. The Gippsland Lakes are located in East Gippsland, around a three to four-hour drive from Melbourne.
The Gippsland Lakes are a network of inland waterways covering 354 square kilometres. They are considered the largest inland lakes in Australia. The three largest of those lakes are Lake Wellington, Lake Victoria and Lake King. The lakes are fed by the Avon, Thomson, Latrobe, Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo rivers.
With water everywhere you look, the Gippsland Lakes are of course the ultimate playground for outdoors lovers, offering a myriad of water activities such as fishing, boating, sailing, swimming, canoeing and kayaking.
But if none of those activities is your thing, fear not; there is still plenty to do on dry land too. There are lots of walks, wildlife to watch, horses to ride, golf courses to conquer and many wining and dining options.
All the towns in the region have lots to offer, so which one should you choose? It all depends on what you are looking for in a holiday. Here’s an overview of the main towns in the region.
Lakes Entrance is the Gippsland Lakes’ most popular holiday destination. It is especially loved for its stunning and swimmable beaches, its many waterfront cafes and its marina with its many fishing boats. In Lakes Entrance it’s possible to buy today’s catch directly from the fishermen right on the jetties. You can’t get fish fresher than that!
What to do in Lakes Entrance?
- Walk across the Cunningham Arm footbridge to the 90-mile beach. The Ninety Mile beach is the most popular in Gippsland and one of the most popular in Australia. Find a spot to sit down and enjoy the sound of the waves crashing. If you visit in summer then a swim is in order!
- Walk 4.8 kilometres to the entrance and back. The entrance is the man-made channel that links the Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea with the inland network of Gippsland Lakes. The hike starts just at the end of the footbridge next to the Kiosk. There, you will find a sign pointing you off to the right. You have the choice to follow the same path on the return trip or to walk back along Ninety Mile beach. Bear in mind that the second option involves walking on sand for two-plus kilometres, which can be hard. We opted for this option because we enjoy beach walks but it’s up to you.
- Have coffee and lunch at Albert&Co. Albert&Co makes the best coffee in Lakes Entrance and the food is pretty yummy too. They use a lot of lovely local produce in their dishes.
- Take an afternoon cruise with Lonsdale Eco Cruise through the Gippsland Lakes for a chance to spot some wildlife and to get some pretty awesome views of the lakes.
- Visit the Lakes Entrance Lookout and Jemmy’s Point Lookout for some stunning views of the lakes.
- Take the kids for a mini-golf session. There are a few mini-golf ranges in Lakes Entrance and mini-golf keeps the whole family happy!
- Go for ice cream at the Riviera ice cream parlour. It’s the best ice cream in town, made on a local dairy farm.
- Taste local wine at Wyanga Park winery. Wyanga Park is Gippsland’s oldest, family-run winery. You can access it by car or by boat! There is a jetty for you to park your boat if you own or have hired one, or you can catch the Wyanga Park Winery Cruise run by Peels Ferry Service from the Esplanade opposite the Post Office.
- Head to Lake Bunga Beach (five minutes north of Lakes Entrance). Lake Bunga Beach is a long stretch of golden sand. It’s a fairly secluded beach and not visited by too many people. You’ll also find sand dunes and Lake Bunga with its old tramway line.
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The small village of Metung is my favourite place in the Gippsland Lakes. Metung stretches along a narrow sandy peninsula on the shores of Lake King. It’s quiet, relaxed and picture-perfect, with spectacular views of the lake.
What to do in Metung?
- Take a stroll along the picturesque boardwalk. Starting at Shaving Point, it is a short walk along the shores of Lake King to the heart of the Metung village. The boardwalk follows the shoreline and offers scenic water views of Bancroft Bay and several marinas along the coast. It ends at the mouth of Chinaman’s Creek. Look out for dolphins!
- Head to the Metung Hotel for a fish platter and a few drinks enjoying the views. The fish platter is delicious! Come hungry!
- Watch the sunset over Lake King. The best place to watch it is on the back beach jetty.
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Nungurner is tiny and there isn’t much to do but it’s very picturesque and quiet. It’s an excellent base to visit the whole northern area of the lakes.
What to do in Nungurner?
- Jump from the jetty into the lake in summer and/or take a kayak out for a lovely time on the lake.
- Have a picnic in the picnic area while waiting for the sunset.
- Stay at the Jetty Road Retreat and enjoy the views and local birdlife as you sip on local wines from your deck.
Lake Tyers Beach
Another short drive from Lakes Entrance is the small Aboriginal settlement of Lake Tyers Beach. Lake Tyers Beach is another quieter holiday destination on the Gippsland Lakes. It’s great for relaxing and outdoor activities.
What to do in Lake Tyers Beach?
- Surf or learn to surf in the region’s most renowned surfing spot, Red Bluff.
- Have a pub meal on the deck of the Water Wheel Beach Tavern while enjoying the views. Be sure to order the fish and chips!
- Catch fish directly from the beach, bream and flathead are abundant.
- Go bushwalking in Lake Tyers State Park, to spot some of the local wildlife. Lyrebirds, black-faced flycatchers, brown warblers, wonga pigeons, rufous fantail, echidnas, goannas, wombats, wallabies and kangaroos all live in the area.
The small seaside resort of Paynesville is situated between Lake King and Lake Victoria. It is surrounded on three sides by water and is the region’s boating capital. So if you love water and boats, this is your kind of place.
If a room with a water view is your thing, Paynesville has many waterfront accommodations.
What to do in Paynesville?
- Take a stroll on the Sunset Cove Walking Track. This 3 km return walk is easy and offers some incredible coastal views of the lake. You might even spot dolphins or pelicans and you’ll definitely see some swans!
- Take the ferry across to Raymond Island to see the koalas. Raymond Island is the best place in Victoria to spot our cute koalas, with over 300 of them currently living on the island. But it’s not just the koalas; kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and over 60 bird species also call the island home. Read more about Raymond Island here.
- Indulge on locally sourced fresh produce at SARDINE Eatery + Bar. This newly opened restaurant is now the top local eatery and received a one hat rating at the recent Good Food Guide Awards.
- Take a kayak out and paddle off into the sunset.
- Drive to the Eagle Point Lookout for stunning views over the lake, river and surrounding countryside. Keep a lookout for the white-chested sea eagles.
- Go waterskiing at Newlands Arm.
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Located roughly halfway along the Ninety Mile Beach, this sleepy coastal town is set on the thin wedge of land separating Lake Victoria and the Bass Strait.
Loch Sport is located about halfway along Ninety Mile Beach and has direct access to it. It’s surrounded by national and coastal parkland. The main attraction of Loch Sport is its beautiful natural setting. The lake, surf beach and national park are ideal for many relaxing outdoor activities. In Loch Sport, you’ll find miles of golden beaches along Lake Victoria.
Loch Sport is also the closest of all the towns above if coming from Melbourne, with a three-hour drive. It also offers many camping facilities if you are on a budget.
What to do in Loch Sport?
- Try your hand at paddleboarding at Golden Beach.
- Hire a kayak and paddle around Lake Victoria.
- Become a beach bum in Paradise Beach and Golden Beach. Nothing wrong with that right?
- Search for the remnants of the Trinculo Shipwreck. This iron barque was built in 1758 in Bristol, England but sadly met its fate in 1879 when it was run ashore by gale-force winds during its final voyage from Albany, Western Australia to Newcastle, New South Wales.
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