Holiday with Kids
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.
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.
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