Here I am, sitting in sunny Bairnsdale on a perfect day. 24 degrees and sunny, nary a cloud in the sky. You tell anyone you're from Bairnsdale and you just get a blank look. Am I speaking a different language here? You know, Bairnsdale? East Gippsland? Still nothing? Oh okay. Well for those that don't know, which is apparently the majority of people outside of Gippsland, we're in Eastern Victoria, Australia. Population: under 12,000. Very much the small, country town, and here I am to tell you all about this place that I call home.
Points of Interest
- 90-Mile Beach
- Lakes Entrance
- East Gippsland Rail Trail
- Mitchell River National Park
- Mitchell River Silt Jetties
- Raymond Island
90-Mile Beach & Lakes EntranceI guess the most popular place nearby would be the 90-Mile Beach, situated in the Gippsland Lakes. Technically 94 miles, it is one of the longest beaches in the world, uninterrupted that is. It starts in Port Albert, located in the Wellington Shire, continues along to Lakes Entrance and out through the man-made channel. The sand dunes are soft and golden, the pristine water a welcome relief of crashing waves. Lakes Entrance is the tourist port of East Gippsland. Popular for fishermen, surfers and general beach-goers, this is the place to be during summer, and should be the first point of call for anyone looking to acquaint themselves with the area.
East Gippsland Rail TrailFor those looking for adventure on land, you should definitely consider hitting the East Gippsland Rail Trail. 96 kilometres long, it starts in Bairnsdale and ends in Orbost. You can walk, cycle or even ride a horse on it. It is open to everyone, and has many opportunities to stop and take in the beautiful surroundings.
Mitchell River National ParkAnother popular place for those wanting to spend some time outside, this national park is home to many a walking track, the most used one being the Den of Nargun loop. A 5km return trek, this loop takes you deep into the rainforest and along Woolshed Creek. The tracks explore the local Aboriginal history – the Gunai/Kurnai – and eventually leads into the Den itself, which the legends said to have housed the dreaded Nargun. The Nargun, according to Aboriginal legend, would lure unwary travellers into its den. The Nargun was believed to be half-human and half-stone, and would target children. This served a cautionary purpose so as to keep children with their parents, and away from the water and sacred cave. Aside from the lure that the legend provides, it’s a stunning walk through more greenery than you could ask for.
Mitchell River Silt JettiesLess than an hour’s drive from one of the longest beaches in the world, in a tucked away part of our area that is rarely visited, lie the Mitchell River Silt Jetties. A formation of silt banks that run for 7km, they are the second longest in the world and home to a range of native wildlife. The part-bitumen, part-gravel road runs all the way and provides many a fishing spot for the local or enthusiastic.
PaynesvilleKnown as the boating capital in Victoria, Paynesville proudly lives up to the name as it is surrounded on three sides by lakes. It is a town designed for the tourist; from the plethora of cafes to the variety of retail stores, there is truly something for everyone. The lakes are always full of kayaks and boats, but of course there is always room for more. If it’s a relaxing game of golf that you’re after, it won’t let you down. Just a few kilometres outside of Paynesville lies an 18-hole golf course – open to all and frequented by the locals. With so much at your doorstep, you may never feel the need to leave.
Raymond IslandJust a short ferry ride from the mainland, Raymond Island is one of the best places in Australia to find our most beloved native animal – the koala. Cute and furry, these mammals live in the gumtrees and eat eucalyptus leaves. Koalas are typically sedentary, and are most often seen asleep, curled up in the crook of a branch. The locals of Raymond Island have a “Koala Trail” – a signposted 1.2 kilometre walk which will help with spotting the animals. Beware of the dreaded drop bear though!
Places to EatAlthough I don’t eat out regularly, there are still a few places that I would recommend, as these are the ones I frequent.
- OZ Mex
- Lindenow Café
- The Wooden Squirrel