Experience the wilderness of Australia's southern coastline with this journey through Gippsland. Walk on untouched beaches, go sailing on Australia's largest inland lake network, and meet wombats, penguins, kangaroos, koalas and emus as you go. This touring route is 880 km/546 miles and about 11.5 hours drive time. Allow 5 to 6 days.
Melbourne to Gippsland (Walhalla and Lakes Entrance)
380 km/236 miles, about 5 hours
Depart Melbourne for Lakes Entrance, a four hour drive. Detour to the historic village of Walhalla and relax overnight (a 2 hour, 20 minute drive from Melbourne). Stay a day or two and explore National Parks, bushwalking trails, ride the historic Goldfields Railway, and take the historic goldmines tour or a ghost tour. Moving on to Lakes Entrance (2 hours, 40 minutes), stop in at Paynesville, park the car and ride the free pedestrian ferry to Raymond Island to see koalas, kangaroos and wallabies. Continue on to Lakes Entrance and stop off at Ninety Mile Beach to stretch your legs. Hire a boat to take a cruise on the region’s famous lakes, famous for their natural beauty and amazing seafood. Try your luck and cast a fishing line. Enjoy the sunset over a plate of oysters at the Metung Hotel.
Gippsland (Lakes Entrance to Wilsons Promontory)
250 km/155 miles, 3 hours
Head south west from Lakes Entrance or Metung to Wilsons Promontory via Tarra Bulga National Park, or Port Albert - Victoria’s first established port. Stop in at Foster to pick up picnic and BBQ supplies, then push on to Yanakie to check in to your holiday cabin or luxury accommodation, or continue on to the Wilderness Retreats at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park. At Tidal River, stop at the old airfield to see kangaroos and emus. Wander around the campground to see resident wombats, and down to the beach to see the beautiful rock formations which trace Tidal River's path to the ocean. Walk from Tidal River to Squeaky Beach and back (1 hour each direction), via Pillar Point, for stunning coastal views, and keep an eye out for whales June to August. A variety of walks in the area cater to any fitness level. Take care when driving in the national park around sunset and always watch for wildlife. Help yourself to the free public BBQs in the national park.
Wilsons Promontory to Phillip Island
110 km/68 miles, 1.5 hours
Drive northwest to Phillip Island via Fish Creek and Meeniyan, or hug the coast road via Inverloch, and the Bunurong Coastal Drive where you can check out the dinosaur diggings. Stop for lunch at the Kilcunda General Store overlooking the ocean. Head to The Nobbies Centre to visit the Antarctic Journey exhibition. Stroll The Nobbies boardwalk for spectacular views of Phillip Island's rugged south coast and see resting little penguins, silver gulls and chicks spring to early summer. Spot migrating whales June to September. Nearby Seal Rocks is home to Australia's largest fur seal colony. Baby seals can be seen October to December. Head out on the water with Wild Ocean EcoBoat to get closer. Stroll along the elevated boardwalks at Phillip Island's Koala Conservation Centre for more close encounters of the furry kind. Take a walk at Pyramid Rocks or Cape Woolamai for ocean views, and spot thousands of shearwaters returning to the nest at dusk between October and April. Spend time at the protected and calm main beach at Cowes, or take a surf lesson at Smiths Beach. At sunset, take the Ultimate Penguin Tour at the Penguin Parade, or visit the Penguins Plus viewing area. Book a bed at resorts, apartments and lodges or self-cater with a holiday let.
Phillip Island to Melbourne
140 km/87 miles, 1 hour, 45 minutes
Return to Melbourne.