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East Gippsland
Mallacoota Inlet The East Gippsland region includes some of Victoria's most picturesque landscapes. From the remote beaches, tall forests and granite peaks of Croajingolong National Park to the calm waters and sleepy villages of the Gippsland Lakes, from the historic goldmining towns of the alpine plains to the limestone caves around Buchan, there is something for everyone in this delightful part of Victoria. It is little wonder that it is one of the state's most popular holiday spots.

Climate
The region generally has warm summers and cool to cold winters. In the Victorian Alps, summer temperatures remain cooler than the lower-lying areas, while in winter, the high alps get snow.

How do I get there?
Getting to East Gippsland from Melbourne is very easy. The Princes Highway will take you to Bairnsdale, the gateway to the region. From here, the Great Alpine Road will take you up into the high country, while the Princes Highway continues east to the New South Wales border.

Where can I stay?
Let Travelmate take care of all your accommodation need in the East Gippsland region.

What are the main towns?
The main towns in the region include: Bairnsdale, Orbost, Omeo, Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota.

What's there to do in the region?
Bairnsdale is the gateway to East Gippsland. It is the major service centre for the East Gippsland holiday region, and is a holiday destination in its own right. It has many fine old buildings and there is a self-guided heritage walk, while Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place preserves the culture of the local Aborigines. The Bataluk cultural trail highlights Aboriginal cultural sites throughout the East Gippsland area, and a brochure is available. Birdwatchers should head to McLeod's Morass where many bird species can be spotted from a boardwalk across the wetlands. Bairnsdale marks the start of the 50km East Gippsland Rail Trail, a cycling track which follows the old railway line to the town of Nowa Nowa.

West of Bairnsdale lies Lindenow, halfway to Mitchell River National Park, a favourite with white-water enthusiasts as the waters of Mitchell River flow through a series of gorges and rapids.

Just east of Bairnsdale lies the little village of Eagle Point, where the Mitchell River empties into Lake King, creating one of the world's longest silt jetties. Further along the shores of Lake King is Paynesville, a boatie's haven with access to the calm waters of the Gippsland Lakes. Lakes King, Victoria and Wellington lie behind the sand barrier of Ninety Mile Beach and together they form the largest inland system of lakes in Australia.

On the other side of Lake King and just off the Princes Highway is Metung. Sitting on a promontory, the village looks out over the waters of Lakes King and Victoria. Boating and fishing are the most popular pastimes in this aquatic area, and you can take a cruise of the lakes or hire a boat from Metung.

At the point where the Gippsland Lakes drain into the sea lies Lakes Entrance. This is a fishing paradise, with the choice of dropping a line in the surf, off the rocks or jetty, in the lake or offshore. The town itself is separated from the ocean by a thin sand dune, with a bridge for access to the surf. Lakes Entrance is a holiday town, and there are plenty of activities for the holidaymaker - exploring the lake system by boat, taking a joy flight for a spectacular view of the lakes from the air or bushwalking in the surrounding forests.

Following the Princes Highway east, you will come across the town of Orbost, once an important shipping town for the steamers which plied the lower reaches of the Snowy River. Th town is surrounded by wonderful scenery, and there are bushwalks in nearby Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks. There is a scenic drive to Marlo on the coast, where the Snowy River reaches the ocean.

Croajingolong National Park protects much of the wild and remote coast between Orbost and Mallacoota. The lighthouse at Point Hicks stands where Captain Cook first set eyes on Australia in 1770. It has an unusual cast iron spiral staircase and there are daily tours. The park is noted for its wildflower displays in the spring and its extensive bird population. The Wilderness Coast Walk runs the length of the park, but before tackling all or part of the 100km walk, it is important to inform the park rangers of your intentions.

Close to the New South Wales border, at the end of Croajingolong National Park, is the seaside town of Mallacoota. While the fishing is good here too, the waters surrounding the town are particularly noted for their abalone and oysters.

The drive from Orbost through the hills to Buchan passes through lovely mountain areas. Buchan is famous for its limestone caves and it is possible to tour Royal Cave, with its calcite-ringed pool and Fairy Cave, filled with stalactites and stalagmites. There is also a spring-fed swimming pool in the reserve, as well as several bushwalks.

Heading from Bairnsdale along the Great Alpine Road, you will soon come across the river flats town of Bruthen, beside the Tambo River. Take a walk through the Fairy Dell, towering rainforest dominated by lilly-pilly and tree ferns.

As you head into the mountains, you will come across the historic Tambo Valley villages of Ensay and Swifts Creek. In this scenic valley you can soak up the mountain air, learn the fine art of fly-fishing or explore gold country.

Further on lies Omeo, which still retains some of its historic buildings despite being ravaged by earthquakes and bushfires over the years. In the winter it is a jumping off point for visitors to the snow, and in the summer for bushwalkers heading to the Bogong High Plains. In the area, you can take high country tours by foot, horse or even llama. See remnants of Omeo's goldmining past at Oriental Claims or try panning for gold along Livingstone Creek. Lake Omeo, to the northeast of the town, is a salt lake in an extinct volcano, where there is a tremendous variety of birdlife.

Finally, continue along the Great Alpine Road on the scenic drive past Dinner Plains to Mount Hotham. Well known to skiers and snowboarders alike in the winter, the town is a great base for exploring the high country in summer.


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