Just 4.5 hours drive East of Melbourne is the region of Gippsland. Extending from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs to the New South Wales border, Gippsland encompasses the iconic Wilsons Promontory, Gippsland Lakes and Ninety Mile Beach. The region has spectacular scenery across beaches, farmland, mountains and lakes. As you travel through Gippsland, you will discover quaint villages like Metung, Walhalla, Meeniyan, Loch, Bruthen and Yarragon.
With so much on offer, Gippsland is perfect for any traveller. History buffs will enjoy the old quaint towns like Walhalla, rich in gold mining history. Adventurous travellers can enjoy the great outdoors in both summer and winter when it becomes an alpine wonderland. Families will find kid-friendly experiences throughout the region and couples will enjoy escaping to the countryside for a bit of romance and seclusion.
How to get to Gippsland
The quickest way to get to Gippsland from Melbourne by car is to travel south-east along the Monash Freeway and then take the M1 (Princes Freeway) through many of central Gippsland’s cities and townships, including Warragul, Traralgon and Sale and on to Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Orbost and Cann River. Turn-offs for Mt Baw Baw and the alpine area are near Drouin, Warragul and Moe. Alternatively, take the South Gippsland Highway which runs closer to the coast through Korumburra, Leongatha and Foster before joining the Princes Highway at Sale.
The region is accessible by public transport from Melbourne via the V/Line train service, which operates every day as far as Bairnsdale, with connecting buses to Lakes Entrance.
Where to stay in Gippsland
Finding a place to stay along the way is easy and the choices are endless, from cosy B&Bs and cottages, to luxury retreats, rustic farm stays and some beautiful caravan parks. There is plenty of camping (free and paid) sites throughout the region and places to pull up in your caravan or RV.
Top things to discover in Gippsland
A visit to the Gippsland region can be done for a day trip, or take little longer to really explore the area. Here are the top 10 things to do for all types of travellers.
Step back to the gold mining era in Walhalla
Walhalla is a reconstructed Colonial Era Gold Mining town set in the hills of Gippsland. It was once heralded as one of the richest towns in Victoria. Today, Walhalla is known for its Gold Fields Railway, Long Mine Tour and quaint town history. It also has a unique cemetery perched high on the hill, and a walk around reading the headstones will give insight into just how hard colonial times could be on families. The shops appear today to look like a colonial town of the past and the old post office has some unique history. A must stop is at the old fashion lolly which sells the old fashioned boiled lollies like humbugs and rock candy. Walhalla is a great place for a day trip, but if you stay a little longer – check into the Walhalla Star Hotel and do the night ghost walk.
Meet Alpine Dingos at Mt Baw Baw
When visiting Mt Baw Baw, you can engage in a unique Alpine Dingo experience while helping their conservation. The Walk Away Extinction experience allows you to walk and learn about the plight of this misunderstood native animal. Join resident dingos Rowdy and Warragul on a 1hr-1.5hr walk along with one of their keepers. You’ll learn about the plight of dingoes in Australia and their role in our ecosystem as native animals and top-order predators. Best of all, the proceeds are used to support dingo education programs on the mountain through the summer and winter seasons. There is even an experience on offer to have cuddles with the gorgeous dingos. Even if you don’t partake in a dingo experience, you can still visit Rowdy, Warragul and the other dingos at the Dingo Resource Centre year-round.
Discover alpine country in summer or winter
Mt Baw Baw offers both summer and winter activities. In winter you can hit the slopes and enjoy all the snow activities in an alpine village environment. During summer (the green season) Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort has mountain biking trails for all levels of competency, from DH1’s thrilling double black diamond descent to family-friendly Latrobe and Beech Trails. With regular MTB Gravity Shuttles now operating and eMTB and bike hire available, riders can also save those quad muscles for the fun parts. There is also hiking galore, so pack those comfy boots.
See Victoria’s largest trestle bridge at Lakes Entrance
A relic of Victoria’s historic past, the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge is located in the Colquhoun State Forest between Lakes Entrance and Nowa Nowa. The huge trestle bridge that the now long-defunct train from Bairnsdale to Orbost used to pass over still stands mighty in the bush that surrounds it. It stretches some 247m long and 20m high, making it the largest standing trestle bridge of its kind in Victoria. Today the East Gippsland rail trail between Bruthern and Nowa Nowa passes by the bridge.
Step into history at one of Gippsland many museums
As you drive through Gippsland you will notice museums seem to pop up in every town. A stroll through these museums will uncover all types of topics. In Port Albert you will find a maritime museum, Sale has a history museum, in Morwell, you will find a power museum, Noojee has a heritage centre and Wonthaggi has the state coal mine. The Gippsland Vehicle Collection Motor Museum can be found in Maffra. On display are more than 160 special cars, motorbikes, machinery, historic vehicles and auto memorabilia for the car lover. The cars and machines that feature change every four months. This helps ensure the displays are on offer for new or for returning visitors.
Walk along a very long jetty at Port Welshpool
The Long Jetty is located at Port Welshpool in South Gippsland and has a checkered history dating back to the 1930s when it was constructed as the main port for good in Gippsland. The Long Jetty was used by boats in the Second World war that patrolled the waters for sea mines and boats taking supplies to oil rigs in Bass Strait in its later life. The jetty was partially burnt down in the early 2000s and closed to the public until late 2018 when it re-opened. Today the refurbished Long Jetty is 850 meters long, with dedicated fishing spots near the end and an onsite open-air museum that talks about its history.
See wildlife on a Wilson’s Promontory Cruise
Step on board the Wilson’s Promontory Wilderness Cruise with Penicott Journeys for a 2.5-hour cruise on the waters around Wilson’s Promontory. The cruise leaves Norman Beach onboard an amphibious boat. The experience takes you to South Point, the southernmost tip of mainland Australia where you will see The Glennies, Anderson Islets, Anser Island and the iconic Skull Rock. The cruise allows close access to Australian fur seals, unique birdlife and dolphins.
Discover street art in Yarram
Take a day trip to Yarram to see amazing street art spread across the town. There are 10 street art murals in total put together by renowned street artist Heesco. You will find it in alleyways, on the side of the local golf course and larger than life on some businesses in town. Why not stay in Yarram
Road trips through Gippsland
Whether you are a local to Victoria, visiting from interstate or an international traveller, road-tripping through Gippsland will be a holiday you won’t forget. The views on offer are unbelievable, leading you to quaint towns, stunning beaches and nature reserves.
Buckle up, as these are some of the best suggested self-drive itineraries to take you around the region of Gippsland.
BATALUK CULTURAL TRAIL
Take the 80,000 year old journey following in the tracks of the Gunaikurnai people along the Bataluk Cultural Trail. This journey takes traditional routes weaving through sites of Aboriginal significance and spanning an incredibly rich history from the Dreamtime, white settlement, to today. Visit the White Womans Waterhole at Won Wron State Forest, the Lagoon at Sale Common Wetlands, Knob Reserve at Stratford, Ramahyuck Cemetery at Perry Bridge, Den Of Nargun at Mitchell River National Park and Howitt Park at Bairnsdale.
CENTRAL GIPPSLAND DRINK TRAIL
Enjoy a glass or pint passing through ever-changing scenery, from fern glades to grassy plains, ending in the foothills of Victoria’s high country. Starting near the lush cool temperate rainforest of Tarra Valley, passing through the Gippsland plains and ending in the foothills of Victoria’s high country, this wine trail passes through spectacular country scenery. Just remember to assign a designated driver.
FOREST & SEA DRIVE
Take the 175km (2 hours 35 mins) drive through Sale – Port Albert – Tarra Bulga – Traralgon along the forest and sea drive. This journey travels through postcard-worthy landscapes of Central Gippsland, from the suspension bridge in Tarra Bulga National Park to the seemingly endless coastline of Ninety Mile Beach. Squeeze in the vibrant regional hubs of Sale and Traralgon and drink in the tranquillity of Port Albert and Yarram.
GREAT ALPINE DRIVE
A little longer at 313km (5 hours), this drive will take you through Gippsland Lakes to Wangaratta. Pack your hiking boots, skis, fishing rod and mountain bikes, as this road trip will have adventures galore. Road tripping along Victoria’s Great Alpine Road, takes you through grand mountain ranges, splendidly rich forests and shimmering waterways. Head north from Metung sitting poised on the glistening Gippsland Lakes through Victoria’s high country to Wangaratta.
WEST GIPPSLAND SCENIC HINTERLAND DRIVE
This journey winds you through the handsome landscapes of West Gippsland over 409km (6 hours). Along the way, you will discover historic villages, throw yourself into outdoor adventure and be dropped conveniently close to a thriving foodie and winery scene.
For more on road trips through Gippsland, visit visitgippsland.com.au/do-and-see/drives
The best time to visit Gippsland
The Gippsland region has mild to warm summers with average maximum temperatures currently around 21 to 25°C. Winters are mild near the coast with average maximum temperatures of 12 to 15°C. Further inland, it is cooler in the foothills and cold in the mountains where there are frequent frosts and some snow. Time your visit to coincide with migrating whales (May to November) when Gippsland’s coastline provides plenty of prime vantage points for spotting these. A visit to alpine regions like Mount Baw Baw in winter will offer the chance to explore a snowy winter wonderland.