The city of Sale stands at the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes and Ninety Mile Beach, 213km east of Melbourne. The city’s emblem is the black swan and this is not surprising as this majestic bird rules the roost on the local waterways. Sale is a small, prosperous city of 13,900 people whose livelihood stems from regional agriculture, port activity, commerce, the riches in and under the Bass Strait and an eco-tourism industry based on the sea and the area's rivers, wetlands and wildlife.
Sale has a rich collection of heritage buildings and there is a guide to some of the more significant ones in the area. Sale’s historic swing bridge - built to allow steamers and barges to negotiate the canal linking Sale to the Latrobe River and Lake Wellington - was designed by John Grainger, father of celebrated composer Percy Grainger. Visit Sale Powder Magazine, whose floor was fixed with timber dowels to reduce the risk of explosions. Sale Historical Museum occupies a charming colonial building and houses a collection of paintings, photographs, fabrics and artefacts relating to the early days of the Gippsland area. Gippsland Armed Forces Museum in Sale has over 3,000 items relating to the history of the armed forces in the area.
Gippsland Art Gallery focusses primarily on temporary exhibitions in its three display spaces. It is housed in purpose-built premises at the Port of Sale Civic Centre.
Sale Common Wetlands is an internationally important wetland area, comprising mainly freshwater marshes with areas of grassland and woodland. The area supports a huge population of resident and migratory birds. There is a boardwalk through some of the different habitats and a public bird hide.
Bataluk Cultural Trail starts in Sale and continues throughout the region, highlighting various sites of cultural and historic importance to the Koorie people of East Gippsland.
To the east of Sale, the Lakes National Park protects 400sqkm of lakes, estuaries and coastal lagoons and 2390ha of low-lying land. The park's plant life is widely varied and includes marshland species such as sedges, rushes and swamp paperbark, while the woodlands of banksia, manna gum, peppermint and but-but also carries an understory of tea-tree, fringe myrtle and sweet wattle. Much of the park bursts into colour with the wildflower bloom in spring. There are many walks and for great views of the lake system, head to the Lookout Tower.
Famous Ninety Mile Beach can best be accessed from the South Gippsland Highway via Seaspray, Golden Beach or Loch Sport. It is the epitomy of a pristine ocean beach, with bird life ranging from the tiny blue wren to the soaring sea eagle.
Things to do:
Central Gippsland Tourist Information Centre - Princes Highway, Sale
History - heritage buildings, swing bridge, Sale Powder Magazine, Sale Historical Museum, Gippsland Armed Forces Museum
Gippsland Art Gallery - temporary exhibitions
Sale Common Wetlands - resident and migratory birds
Bataluk Cultural Trail - Aboriginal history and culture
In the area:
Lakes National Park - wildflowers, walks, views
Ninety Mile Beach - pristine, remote