11 reasons to visit the Gippsland Lakes

There are so many reasons to visit the Gippsland Lakes and while many of them are obvious there are some that may surprise you. This magnificent area is home to unique Australian animals, pristine beaches, calm swimming areas and quaint villages with delightful country hospitality.

Many people make Lakes Entrance their base for a trip to the Gippsland Lakes region. Lakes Entrance is the biggest town on the East Gippsland Coast and has the majority of facilities holidaymakers to the area require. Although the largest town it is not the only place you can hold today on the Gippsland Lakes.

This post will give you all the very best things to do on the Gippsland Lakes to help plan your trip to Gippsland.

Visit the Gippsland Lakes on your next Victorian getaway
Boats resting in the waters of the Gippsland Lakes near Paynesville

Where are the Gippsland Lakes?

Located approximately 3 hours from Melbourne via the M1 you will find some of the best lakes in Victoria at the Gippsland Lakes system. There are a few main towns to stay in like Paynesville, Loch Sport, Metung and Lakes Entrance. Most of these towns are fully equipped to host holidaymakers to the Gippsland area.

The Gippsland Lakes is an area that covers more than 350 square kilometres and is mainly made up of lakes marshes and lagoons. The three main lakes that run into the lakes system are Lake Wellington, Lake King and Lake Victoria which are all fed by rivers starting in the Victorian High Country. The Entrance is a man-made entrance to the Gippsland Lakes.

The lakes system is in most places separated by Bass Strait by sand dunes and you will find them teaming with wildlife.

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Best activities when you visit the Gippsland Lakes

There are so many reasons to visit the Gippsland Lakes and planning a trip to Gippsland is easy. While The Gippsland Lakes are full to the brim during the summer months you will find that Gippsland is the perfect destination in any season.

Unique wildlife

There is nothing better than seeing some amazing Australian animals up close and personal. When you visit the Gippsland Lakes there are so many to see in their natural habitat. You can see the Koala colony on Raymond Island as well as wallabies and kangaroos there. While on the Lakes you may be able to see the endangered Burranan dolphin as well as the always hungry pelicans.

The Barrunan Dolphins of the Gippsland Lakes swimming in the water
The Burrunan Dolphins swimming at Bullock Island Lakes Entrance

The best Lakes in Victoria for Boating – The Gippsland Lakes

Boating on the Gippsland Lakes is extremely popular, both in the lakes system and offshore. You will find many people enjoying the water during the summer months with holidaymakers loving the warm weather. You can bring your own equipment, or there are places you can hire boats on the Gippsland Lakes. For a more relaxing experience, you can go on one of the Thunderbird cruises at Lakes Entrance. These Gippsland Lakes cruises take you from Lakes Entrance through the lakes’ system to Metung and back, spotting wildlife while you relax.

There are permits and licenses that you must hold to enjoy the Gippsland Lakes boating, and you must make sure you have these before you plan your trip to the Gippsland Lakes to avoid disappointment. A day on the water makes the perfect Gippsland day trip.

a boat moored at a jetty in Metung on the Gippsland Lakes
A boat at the Metung Jetty

Fishing

There are so many places to fish in the Gippsland lakes area. You can cast a line from some of the many jetties that are dotted around them, you can surf fish from the 90-mile beach or you can go out in the boat to see if you get lucky!

Please remember that there are catch limits and sizing as well as licensing restrictions that you must have to be able to fish on the Gippsland Lakes.

Is Gippsland Lakes on our list of all the best summer destinations in Victoria?

Water sports

Skiing, kneeboarding, paddle boarding and surfing are some of the most popular water sports that you can do on the Gippsland Lakes in summer. The Red Bluff beach on Lake Tyers road is the best place to find a good wave near Lakes Entrance.

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Gippsland food and wine

Delight your taste buds and make sure you have a delicious meal at one of the many top restaurants around the Gippsland Lakes. Many local places try to source much of their produce from local growers which makes the experience so much better.

In the area, you will also find that the local wineries and craft beer producers have their wares on sale at the local restaurants as well. Many of them will also have a cellar door that you can visit and purchase some of their wines or beers to enjoy back at your accommodation.

The best thing about food and wine when you visit the Gippsland lakes is that you can buy fresh from the trawlers and cook it yourself, pick up some from a local chippy, enjoy a great meal at a local place that doesn’t cost the earth or you can really treat your self and go for fine dining. The choices are endless when you visit the Gippsland Lakes.

a serving of bbq beef ribs with sauce and chips at Red Bluff Brewery in Lakes Entrance
BBQ ribs at the Red Bluff Brewery in Lakes Entrance

Country hospitality

There is just nothing like it and so many people after leaving the Gippsland area will say that it is one of the friendliest places in Victoria. Once you find a place that you love you will easily return to visit the Gippsland Lakes and become just like a local. There really is nothing like country hospitality and the Gippsland Lakes area is well known for it.

Looking for another perfect place to holiday? Then add the amazing Phillip Island to your Victorian holiday destination list!

Family fun

If you are travelling to Gippsland as a family, there are so many wonderful things to do in Gippsland with kids. While Lakes Entrance holds the lion’s share of activities for families, there are skate parks, pump tracks and bike tracks as well in some smaller towns.

In Lakes Entrance, you will find Segways, mini-golf, trampolines, indoor water centre, go-karts and playgrounds that are magnificent for families visiting the Gippsland Lakes. Just recently opened for the summer of 2021/2022 is the new Aqua Park in Lakes Entrance, soon.

Kids playground with swings and climbing equipment on the Loch Sport foreshore on the Gippsland Lakes
A playground on the foreshore at Loch Sport

In Loch Sport, you will find a park with play equipment, a skateboard park and half-court basketball along the foreshore. Tuckers Mini Golf and Café offers some fun things to do in Gippsland.

In Paynesville, you will find a park behind the main street featuring a skate park and play equipment. There is a small playground with BBQ equipment at Sunset Cove with shallow water swimming for kids.

In Metung you will find Patersons Park which has offers both water and non-water play for children. You will find Picnic tables, electric bbqs, drinking fountain, sand pit, climbing structures, lawn, basketball ring, decking with bench seating.

Where the mountains meet the sea

Are you a person that loves a bit of both worlds? Do you love to wander the bush and feel one with nature then sit on the beach for an epic sunset? Then the Gippsland Lakes is for you.

Just out of Lakes Entrance is the Coulquorn State forest which has some amazing bushwalking tracks and the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge, You can spend the day in the bush and then find yourself back down by the water in minutes.

Pristine beaches

Australia is known for its amazing beaches the world over and the 90-mile beach is right on your doorstep if you live in Victoria! This pristine beach is magnificent and at times you may be the only one on it.

white sand beach at Lakes Entrance on the Gippsland Lakes
The pristine white sand of Gippsland Beaches

The 90-mile beach is a great swimming beach and is easily accessed from Lakes Entrance over the footbridge. This section is also patrolled in the summer months by the Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Club for your safety. If you are not a strong or confident swimmer we suggest you swim here.

Relax, recharge, rekindle

There is nothing better than some time to relax, recharge or rekindle that relationship and a visit to the Gippsland Lakes is absolutely perfect for the.

You can choose to stay in top Gippsland Lakes accommodation all the way to a farm stay in the mountains. Whatever you need to relax, recharge or rekindle the Gippplsand Lakes has it all.

Stay local

The Gippsland Lakes are located in the East Gippsland Shire and they were heavily impacted by bush fires in 2019. This decimated the area in terms of tourism with so many holidaymakers being evacuated from the area for safety. Holidaying in the Gippsland Lakes are helping Victorian locals stay in the place they love and supports local jobs within the area.

Read more: 21 more places to visit in Victoria

Walks, talks and scenery

There are so many walks you can do in the Gippsland Lakes area. You can do the Entrance Walk which is located at the Footbridge in Lakes Entrance. This easy walk takes you either along the Cunningham Arm or the 90-mile beach to the Entrance of the Gippsland Lakes. Note that there are no shops along this walk and you must take some supplies with you as fresh water is not available along the route.

Boat ramp, bbq area and walking trail at Newlands arm on the Gippsland Lakes
The Newlands Arm walking trail can be seen on the side of the lake

You can also do some bushwalking tracks out near the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge. This is a great area for people looking at native wildlife especially bird watching. Newlands Arm near has a great path that leads along the water all the way to Paynesville, while the Painesville to Eagle Point track suits all levels of fitness.

Some people like to walk from Lakes Entrance main beach all the way to the Lakes Tyers Waterwheel Tavern along the pristine 90-mile beach. Please call ahead to the tavern and see if they are open and if they have a shuttle bus timeslot so you can walk, enjoy a drink and be dropped back off to your accommodation.

You will also find many bike paths and footpaths around Lakes Entrance that are mainly in loops. Some will take you along the Esplanade and even all the way out to Kalimna.

When is the best time to visit the Gippsland Lakes?

Many people visit the Gippsland Lakes in the summer months. You will find the towns and accommodation in the area booked out months in advance normally from November all the way through to the end of February.

School holidays are a busy time to visit the Gippsland Lakes for families so if you are able a mid-week trip to Gippsland may be good.

You really can’t go wrong in any season to visit the Gippsland Lakes and surrounds. You will find some places may have shorter opening hours and you may possibly have to rethink a swim on a winter’s day for your Gippsland Lakes escapes.

Need more help planning your next holiday in Victoria? The team here are Explore Victoria Australia want you to have the very best information, guides and resources to plan your next holiday in Victoria.


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