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Valley to sea

Gippsland

  • Yinnar, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

From the heart of Latrobe to a maritime past
140.4 km/87.2 miles, about 2 hours

Uncover the hidden gems in and beyond Latrobe City (Moe, Morwell and Traralgon).

The busy Princes Freeway leads into the major regional centres of Morwell and Traralgon. Take a side trip to the latter for fine food and fine wine before moving south into the pretty Morwell River Valley and the quaint town of Yinnar. Across country is Churchill, an education hub for the region and an unexpected fishing hotspot.

Travel further south and discover one of the region's most loved national parks, Tarra Bulga. Lush gullies, giant mountain ash trees and tree ferns are perfect for a picnic and an invigorating walk.

As you wind your way towards the coast you'll encounter Yarram, a charming town with a dairy heritage. Port Albert was Victoria's first established port and is your final stop on this scenic drive. Delve into the local maritime history, have a meal at the historic pub, or join the throngs for some relaxing fishing.

Leg 1: Morwell to Yinnar
16 km/10 miles, about 15 minutes

Only a short drive south of Morwell along the Strzelecki Highway, named for the beautiful rolling hills that comprise the landscape, Yinnar is tucked into the Morwell River Valley with views of the Strzelecki Ranges to the west and the Jeeralang Hills to the east.

Strzelecki Stringbusters
This lively village offers plenty of opportunity to unwind and explore. Take some time out with the latest exhibitions at the ARC Gallery, browse the charming general store, or paddle out onto the warm waters of the Hazelwood Pondage.

Time your visit to make it to Yinnar on the last Wednesday of the month to revel alongside the Strzelecki Stringbusters, a unique Australian blues based band that never fails to get the Yinnar Hotel jumping.

Natural attractions
Head southwest along Jumbuk Road to the Morwell National Park, worth a scheduled stop for a picnic or a short walk through the many walking tracks. Fosters Gully is a favourite for taking in the sights.

Leg 2: Yinnar to Churchill
10.1 km/6 miles, about 8 minutes

Another short drive, this time heading north towards Churchill for the views across the power generation area, including the Hazelwood Pondage and generators themselves.

Churchill is known as a university town, with Federation University Australia's (formerly Monash University) Gippsland campus located here.

Wander around Lake Hyland, a family-friendly fishing spot that's stocked annually and features platforms for easy access. Keep your eye out in town for the Big Cigar, an oversized replica of Winston Churchill's cigar in honour of the town's namesake.

Leg 3: Churchill to Port Albert
86 km/53 miles, about 1 hour

The longest leg of the Valley to Sea Touring Route takes you north out of Churchill, turning towards Traralgon then heading right onto Sanders Road and right again onto the Traralgon Creek Road in a southerly direction. The Traralgon Creek Road (turns into Traralgon-Balook Road) will take you through some stunning countryside, including the jaw-droppingly beautiful Tarrra Bulga National Park.

Time out in Tarra Bulga
Known for its lush gullies, giant mountain ash trees and tree ferns, Tarra Bulga National Park is one of only four major areas of cool temperate rainforest in Victoria. Take your time to set out on one of the numerous walks, or take a picnic and relax as birds chatter.

Taking coffee in Yarram
Back on the road and heading south along the Tarra Valley Road you'll come to Yarram, a welcoming town with historical connections to the ports further south along the coast as well as the dairy industry. Stop for a coffee and a bite to eat and wander the grand high street.

Arriving in Port Albert
Just 12 kilometres from Yarram lies the picturesque village of Port Albert, Victoria's first established port. This fascinating waterside town provides a great insight into the gold rush, with ships from all over the world docking in Port Albert to deliver hordes of gold-hungry prospectors.

These days Port Albert is known for its excellent fishing, both commercial and recreational. Stop by the Port Albert Maritime Museum, follow the Old Port Walking Trail or enjoy a scenic boat trip to get the most out of this historic town.

Now you've reached your destination the options are almost endless. Drop anchor for a few days, or venture back to Melbourne via the South Gippsland Highway with plenty more to see.