East Gippsland, Victoria, travel guide and things to do: Nine things you must do


You'll find Lightfoot & Sons' pinot noir, rose, chardonnay and pinot grigio on plenty of local menus – but they also have a beautiful set-up from which to sample it. The award-winning, family-run producer is perched on the rim of a rocky rise overlooking the Mitchell Floodplain and the view is breathtaking. See lightfootwines.com


Jetty Road retreat in Nungurner
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Jetty Road retreat in Nungurner. Photo: Aldona Kmiec

Sublimely serene and cute as a button, Jetty Road Retreat comprises a series of rustic bungalows set in the trees overlooking Reeve Channel in the little bush enclave of Nungurner. Some have expansive decks fronted by lawn, the box seat over the sunset. Fill the bird feeders and watch the winged residents gather for their dinner to the sound of the waves crashing on 90 Mile Beach. See jettyroadretreat.com.au


Mention Nowa Nowa to pretty much everybody in the area – they'll say the best burgers are there, at Mingling Waters Caravan Park's cafe. It's a gorgeous spot to stop for a bite or to stay even longer. Pop the caravan, put up the tent, or take advantage of the cottages and bunk house on this idyllic site that affords access to BMX and walking trails, great fishing and, ah, that serenity. See minglingwaters.com


Mountain biking in Gippsland
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Mountain biking in Gippsland. Photo: Destination Gippsland

Walking, cycling and running trails are in abundance across East Gippsland. But for wildlife bang for effort, take the almost comically short ferry ride from Paynesville to Raymond Island (free for pedestrians) to walk the koala trail. It's an easy couple of kilometres through residential dirt roads lined with eucalypts that are home to a healthy koala population. See eastgippsland.vic.gov.au


Aerials of Lakes Entrance
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Coastal trip: Lakes Entrance. Photo: Destination Gippsland

Holiday favourite Lakes Entrance offers plenty of great activities, including surf lessons, paddleboats and stand-up paddle boarding. Venture Out can organise all activities, even whole weekends' worth, including outdoor pursuits, dining and accommodation. Join a Segway tour with Lakes Entrance Segway. The route takes you across a stretch of the 90 Mile Beach, through bushland and back along the Lakes Entrance foreshore. See ventureout.com.au, lakesentrancesegway.com.au


Plated Food at The Long Paddock - Lindenow
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Local produce on a plate: The Long Paddock. Photo: Rob Blackburn


In an old bakery, looking out across burgeoning fields and a mountainous backdrop, is The Long Paddock, one of a loose collective of East Gippsland eateries that champion local produce in stunning fashion. Husband-and-wife team Tanya Bertino and Anton Eisenmenger have worked for Michelin-starred chefs in London and top restaurants in Melbourne. Bertino grew up in Lindenow and she returned en famille, the couple opening their own restaurant, The Long Paddock in 2016. See longpaddock.com.au


Sardine in Paynesville offers a tasting menu that is great value and which showcases the best seasonal produce. Chef, Mark Briggs has put Paynesville on the destination-dining map, with his loving and deft touch when it comes to seafood. His desserts are hard to say no to, especially when they feature local fruits. If you can, grab a table on the deck. You'll have the box seat for the view across the water to Raymond Island. See sardineeaterybar.com


Right on the water at Bankcroft Bay in the Gippsland Lakes, the Metung Hotel is a historic gem that's been meticulously renovated and cared for with a large front deck and excellent bistro. Moor the boat right out front, pop in for a beer, and stock up on East Gippsland wines and produce at the Metung Village Store next door. See metunghotel.com.aumetungvillagestore.com.au


A picker's delight awaits in the regional centre of Bairnsdale at the Old Butter Factory. Bairnsdale Bazaar Antiques and Collectibles Market comprises multiple stalls of second hand and vintage items at great prices. Just across the road is the legendary David Lucke's Fresh Food Market featuring local produce and a full traditional butcher, where the top regional chefs get their meats. No website for the bazaar: Unit 5/2 Macleod St, Bairnsdale. See davidluckesfreshfood.com.au


Tracts of East Gippsland were ravaged by the 2019-20 bushfires, the scars of the catastrophe still highly visible. The clean up continues as communities rally to overcome their devastating losses. But across the 32,000-square-kilometre region, bushland, beach, mountains, lakes and atmospheric villages await as do wonderful experiences and warm hospitality. East Gippsland is welcoming visitors with open arms.

Julietta Jameson travelled as a guest of Visit Victoria. See Traveller.com.au/Victoria, visitvictoria.comvisiteastgippsland.com.au

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