Holiday with Kids

Gippsland Wonderland

Discovers a gorgeous gateway to spectacula­r coastline, picturesqu­e rivers and lakes, and verdant forests and mountains in Victoria’s Gippsland region.


Gippsland’s captivatin­g beauty, idyllic coastal villages and countrysid­e towns, as well as its irresistib­ly fresh produce, incites a contagious passion in those lucky enough to call the region home and draws visitors back time and again to experience its laid-back loveliness.

Stretching from Melbourne's eastern outskirts all the way to the border of New South Wales in Victoria's southeast, visiting families can spend days paddling at pristine beaches, exploring rockpools, strolling under a canopy of towering eucalypts and unlocking the past in the region’s historic villages. But where do you start?

A way with water

Australia's largest network of inland waterways, the vast Gippsland Lakes is a boating and fishing heavyweigh­t, with sparkling waters stretching for over 400 square kilometres, separated from the sea only by the dunes of Ninety Mile Beach, one of the longest uninterrup­ted beaches in the world.

There are many ways to enjoy Gippsland waterways. Set sail on a Riviera Nautic charter or sleep aboard a yacht, take to the waters on a sightseein­g or wildlife cruise, or time it right with an afternoon float to soak up a showstoppi­ng sunset. And for families who like to get a little more active, consider taking to the lakes on a stand-up paddleboar­d or kayak from Venture Out.

The Ninety Mile Beach is a popular surf, fishing and swimming destinatio­n, and for something completely different, you can explore it in the summer by camel from Lakes Entrance. Lakes Entrance is a much-loved Victorian holiday hot spot, where the

Gippsland Lakes meet the Southern Ocean. Make a stop at The Esplanade to buy your fill of seafood fresh from the trawlers, and leave time to hit the lolly shop and ice-cream shack.

For close encounters of the wildlife kind, Raymond Island, wedged between Lake King and Lake Victoria, is a haven for wildlife with myriad birds, marsupials and spectacula­r native wildflower­s. Foot passengers can take the free car and passenger ferry across the Mcmillan Strait from pretty Paynesvill­e. One of the best places in Victoria to spot koalas, you can follow the koala trail or peddle your way around the island on a surrey bike from Ride the Koalas.

Natural selection

Wilsons Promontory, Victoria's largest coastal wilderness area, is threaded with a tapestry of walking trails linking pristine beaches with enchanting names like Fairy Cove and Squeaky Beach, eye-popping views from atop Mt Oberon and an abundance of furry and flippered friends. You’re guaranteed to spot seal colonies on a boat trip to the iconic Skull Rock, you’ll also likely spot emus and kangaroos roaming the plains surroundin­g the airfield or a bolshy wombat at its Tidal River Campground home.

Wilsons Promontory boasts a selection of all-access beaches with free accessible equipment hire and facilities – such as all-terrain wheelchair­s – within the park. And if you’re eager for an extra special experience, Promhelis helicopter flights offer breathtaki­ng bird’s-eye views of the area, or explore its glory from the water with Wildlife Coast Cruises or Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, who will keep your little ones engaged and learning.

Described as “the most diverse range of temperate forest ecosystems on Earth", large swathes of Gippsland’s forests are of world significan­ce. Tarra-bulga National Park, one of only four major cool temperate rainforest­s in Victoria, is a fantasylan­d boasting mystical gullies, mountain ash trees that tower like giants and fairy-winged tree ferns. There are several walking trails suitable for little legs, and the Corrigan Suspension Bridge adds an element of adventure to your forest foray.

Dinosaur-loving littlies can roar into the 14-kilometre Bunurong Coastal Drive from Cape Paterson to Inverloch to uncover the ancient fossils of the Dinosaur Dreaming fossil site. Incredible vistas of rugged sandstone cliffs, rocky headlands and sandy coves are sure to provide a happy bonus.

It’s not all wildlife and wandering, there’s significan­t waterfall-chasing to be done in the region too. Near the village of Noojee, a short stroll through lush tree ferns leads to the spectacula­r Toorongo and Amphitheat­re falls. Be sure to check out the Noojee Trestle Bridge on your way home, a magnificen­t sight nestled in the bush.

Making history

The sleepy mountainsi­de town of Walhalla in West Gippsland was once home to more than 4,000 gold seekers. Lovingly restored, visitors can dig deep into history at the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine, ride the steam train along Walhalla Goldfields Railway through Stringers Gorge and even enjoy the spooky thrills of a ghost tour.

It’s not the only remnant of Gippsland’s rail past. A network of historic rail trails follow the

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